Medical Forum
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Posted : November 26, 2006
Hi, I am 33 and I have completed 38 dives in the last year, I have only ever been able to equalise by swallowing rather than holding my nose and blowing on decents, this has never posed a major issue though I sometimes have to decend slower than my buddy as it takes me longer to equalise, for the last dozen or so dives I can feel fluid gathering in my nose on ascent and tend to arrive at the surface with the nose cavity of the mask full of bloody mucus. Once I blow my nose there is no more blood and I have never suffered from nose bleeds or any sinus conditions. This happens pretty much the same if I dive to 5 metres or 35 metres and I am fairly sure it's coming from my sinuses. I never dive with a cold or congestion or take any medication and I have left periods of months between dives but this condition stays with me and tends to freak people out when i surface but I experience no pain when this happens or after diving and am able to make repetitive dives without difficulty. I Have seen a lot of posts on this on the web and that it clears with some people and others may need an operation, what do you recommend?

Posted : November 27, 2006
Hi. The sinuses communicate with the outside world by tiny passages which can easily be blocked. Blockages are often the result of infection (eg sinusitis, rhinitis), redundant mucosal folds in the nose, polyps etc. So it sounds like something is blocking the passages and as you descend the sinuses fill up with mucus/blood. While at depth this will just sit there but as you ascend the expanding air in the sinuses causes the blood/mucus to spill out into your nose, and thus your mask fills up.
What you need to do is be checked out by your GP or ENT for any anatomical problems, as from the persistence of the problem I suspect there will be something like a polyp or deviated septum causing things.
0207 806 4028 if you need an appointment in London to discuss things further.
Dr O
Answer provided by Dr Oliver Firth
Dr Ollie Firth
The views expressed by Dr Firth & Dr Jules are their own and the publishers accept no liability for the advice and views expressed by Dr Firth , Dr Jules, or other users, which are provided as a general service to divers. Users are warned that secondary posts are the views of other users and may not be medically correct.
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