magic NOSE goblins

Doctors Remove Leech From Woman's Nose

Doctors have removed a leech from the nose of a 55-year-old Hong Kong woman after she swam and washed her face in a stream, a medical journal reported.

The woman went to her doctor complaining of nose bleeds and an occasional sensation that something was blocking her left nostril, the Hong Kong Medical Journal said in its April issue. Her family doctor noticed a "brownish mass" in her nostril but couldn't remove it because of heavy bleeding, the journal said.

The patient was taken to the emergency room, where doctors identified the problem as a bloodsucking leech. They had trouble pulling it out because the 2 inch invertebrate retracted into the nostril and disappeared, the journal said.

Part of the slimy leech was in a passage of her nasal cavity and a larger segment was in her sinus cavity, the article said.

Doctors used a nasal spray to anesthetize the dark brown leech that had a sucker on the front part of its body. "After two minutes, the leech moved slowly out of the antrum (sinus) and was retrieved with forceps," the journal said.

The woman said that one month before her symptoms developed, she swam and washed her face in a stream while hiking. Doctors checked other members of her hiking group and found another leech in the nose of a man who washed his face in the stream, the journal said.

The article said the leech could have caused suffocation if it moved into the patients' larynx, or voice box.

Key words: Epistaxis; Foreign bodies; Leeches; Parasitic diseases; Rivers

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12 Responses:

  1. jwm says:


    April issue. Hmm...

    On the other hand, I'm pretty sure I read an account of someone suffering the same woe as a result of swimming in a stream in Nepal.


  2. recursive says:

    Compared to the lifeless aspects of the physical world, biology has a wonderful breadth of horrors.

  3. jabberwokky says:

    There was a nifty NaturePorn show titled something like "Nature's Vampires" that had a fellow who had this happen. The little bugger popped its head out now and then. They interviewed both him and the doctor who yanked the sucker out with forceps. There was a trick to getting the thing to descend the nasal cavity, but I can't recall it - it wasn't knocked out.

    It also had Botflies (Mmmm... boils festering with maggots), bedbugs and other nasty beasties.

  4. dratoff says:


  5. xed_geek says:

    Thats just .... eugh!
    How do you have this thing in hour nose for a month before noticing it. I am never swimming in public streams/lakes again!

  6. The lake near wher I grew up had lampreys. It didn't really bother me until I caught one in a jar and it latched onto the side of it:


    great, ANOTHER senseless paranoia. NOSE LEECHES!!

  8. irma_vep says:

    Icky ewey....