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Flashback Friday: The case of the girl who sneezed 2,000 times a day.

Seriously, Science?By Seriously ScienceAugust 19, 2016 3:00 PM


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Photo: flickr/taylormariephotography

We've heard of intractable hiccups (which can be cured, FYI, by digital rectal massage), but here's a new one: intractable sneezing. This article reports the case of a young girl who sneezed up to 2,000 times a day for 3 months. She did not get better despite being seen by numerous doctors and being treated with everything from antihistamines to corticosteroids, leading the doctors to believe it was probably psychological. Or maybe she was just allergic to sneezing?

Factitious sneezing. "We report a case of hysterical, intractable paroxysmal sneezing in an adolescent girl. The patient had been observed by two pediatricians, an allergist, an emergency room physician, and a chiropractor. She had been treated with antihistamines, epinephrine, corticosteroid nasal spray, and a 1-week course of an oral corticosteroid without improvement. She was referred for evaluation of an allergic etiology before continuing her workup with a computed tomographic head scan. The patient had been sneezing almost daily for 3 mo up to 2000 times a day. The patient did not sneeze at night. She had nasal congestion but no rhinorrhea or eye symptoms. She did not sneeze during the interview. The results of a physical examination were normal except for mild obesity. No organic cause was found. Most cases of intractable paroxysmal sneezing reported in the literature occur in adolescents and appear to have a psychogenic etiology. The problem was discussed with the child and parents, and psychologic therapy was recommended. Considerable decrease in sneezing subsequently occurred, but the parents credited this is further chiropractic therapy." Related content: NCBI ROFL: Sneezing induced by sexual ideation or orgasm: an under-reported phenomenon.NCBI ROFL: Termination of intractable hiccups with digital rectal massage.NCBI ROFL: Factitious diarrhea: a case of watery deception.

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