November 20, 2010

learning is fun(ny) sometimes

Your nose has three bones residing within your nasal cavity called conchae, or turbinates.  The reason I know that, besides gross anatomy, is that some years back I had surgery on my nose and my turbinates were shaved down to help breathing.  What I did NOT know was that the tissue covering the turbinates is highly vascularized.  If fact, it's awfully similar to another tissue in the male body.  I am referring to, of course, erectile tissue.  When your nose gets stuffy, your nasal epithelium becomes highly engorged with blood.  And what is a common therapy?  Pseudoephedrine (or phenylephrine since that stupid law that makes sudafed a regulated substance).  It's a sympathetic agonist that constricts your engorged blood vessels.  That allows more air to flow through your nose and you can breath better.  Likewise, when someone takes a cialis and gets an erection that won't go away (priapism), guess what the first therapy to try is?  You guessed it.  Pseudoephedrine (or phenylephrine).  Next time you get a stuffy nose and need a decongestant, I bet you'll think about it in a different way.

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