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Keywords:

  • nasal;
  • congestion;
  • menstrual cycle

The changes in the nasal mucosa during the menstrual cycle have been little researched and the role of oestrogens debated. The aim of this study was to measure a spectrum of physiological parameters in relation to the peak and trough of these hormonal levels. Ten women underwent measurements at the onset of menses and at the time of ovulation. On each occasion, anterior rhinoscopy, peak inspiratory nasal flow, acoustic rhinometry, anterior rhinomanometry, mucociliary clearance time and rhinitis questionnaire score were recorded. All measurements except anterior rhinoscopy showed a difference between the two readings consistent with nasal congestion at the peri-ovulatory stage of the cycle, of which anterior rhinomanometry and mucociliary time were significant (P ≤ 0.05). Nasal congestion therefore occurs in conjunction with the rise in serum oestrogens that occur at ovulation in the normal menstrual cycle. Pharmacological antagonism of oestrogens may therefore relieve nasal congestion and is currently under further research.