After living with severe headaches and a constantly runny nose for years, a woman in Nebraska has finally discovered that the cause wasn’t allergies but a hole in her skull.
In 2013, Kendra Jackson was involved in a car accident where she slammed her face off the dashboard. She developed a series of symptoms several years later including: a nose that would not stop running, severe headaches and difficulty sleeping.
“[It was] like a waterfall, continuously, and then it would run to the back of my throat,” Jackson told KETV-7 ABC.
A frustrated Jackson eventually went to an ear, nose and throat specialist who determined that, alarmingly, the liquid that was irritating her throat was cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leaking from her brain. The clear fluid cushions the brain and the spine, and helps clear waste material from the cerebral cavity.
The specialist informed Jackson that she was losing approximately 8 ounces (237 milliliters) of the fluid a day. For context, the brain produces roughly 17 ounces [503 mL] of CSF a day.
The fluid, if it leaks down a person’s nose or throat, reportedly has a metallic taste. The condition is known as CSF rhinorrhea and can persist for years before any major problems, such as bacterial meningitis, emerge.
“Doctor after doctor told Kendra the fluid coming out of her nose was because of allergies. But after years of coping with this problem and the headaches associated with it, she turned to the ENT team at Nebraska Medicine,” Omaha-based Nebraska Medicine wrote on Facebook of the case.
The medical team at Nebraska Medicine found a small hole between Jackson’s skull and her nostrils that was the source of the leak. They entered through Jackson’s nose and plugged the leak with some of Jackson’s own fatty tissue. She is expected to make a complete recovery.
RT.com has contacted Nebraska Medicine for additional information.
While such leaks can repair themselves, surgery is often required to fix cases after severe trauma. About five in 100,000 people live with CSF leaks, according to the UK’s CSF leak association.
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