Inferior turbinates are structures inside both sides of the nose that filter & humidify inhaled air. These organs are vascular tissue with a bony central core. Over time, these organs can enlarge and obstruct nasal breathing. Sometimes, smelling odors or eating can cause the inferior turbinates to swell or produce clear discharge. Issues such as allergies, colds, and infections can cause inferior turbinates to swell and to produce thick mucus (yellow or green) or thin clear mucus. This can lead to post-nasal drip, cough, sore throats, and voice changes (hoarseness)
Middle turbinates sit above the inferior turbinates in front of the sinuses. These turbinates can also swell. In older people, these organs can sometimes dry and bleed. In some people, a naturally-occurring condition known as concha bullosa (“shell of air”) can form causing blockage of airflow in the sinuses. This can be seen on sinus CT scans.