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Nose is formed by bony and cartilaginous structures that provide the shape, protection and limited mobility. It is also covered by tissues in continuation with the skin that harbor nose hair. Any mass originating from these structures could be felt as a nasal mass. Normal variation in the development of these structures could also be mistakenly taken as a mass.

The area inside the nostril is known as nasal vestibule. Occasionally, this area becomes infected and causes nasal vestibulitis or nasal folliculitis. Excessive nose blowing and nose-picking may also lead to this condition which is accompanied by inflammation and feeling of a mass.

A number of infectious and inflammatory conditions may lead to development of chronic nasal sores which is accompanied by bleeding, ulceration and pain. This condition could also be felt and seen as a bump.

It is very common to experience a trauma on the nose or to cause an iatrogenic trauma by surgery. These conditions can also cause structural changes that could be felt as a bump.

At times, internal nasal structures such as parts of the inferior turbinate is seen and mistakenly taken as a mass. An important entity is the nasal polyp, which may be felt as a bump. Polyps may originate from the nasal cavity or the sinuses. When they are enlarged, they may be seen or felt as a bump. Polyps are usually associated with chronic infection, asthma and aspirin sensitivity.

Mucoceles that are cysts filled with mucus can develop in paranasal sinuses. When they become sufficiently large they may exert pressure on the adjacent structures but it is not common to see them solely as a bump in the nostril because they demonstrate other features before they are felt as a mass.

Tumors can also develop in this area. These tumors could be benign or malignant. They might be originating from any structure making up the nose.

Deviation of the nasal septum is very common and might be present from birth. The septum is easily injured and a minor trauma may result in changes in the cartilaginous or bony structures of the nose. Sometimes there is a genetic background as some deformities run in families. These deformities are sometimes accompanied by other mid-face anomalies particularly in patients with cleft lip or palate. Specific types of deviation which sometimes creates a mass-like structure in the nose are thought to be originating from intra-uterine pressure.

A fair amount of nasal masses may need some form of evaluation or surgical intervention by a specialist. So remember, when you are in doubt, consult your physician.

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