Updated 09 February 2017

SEE: Doctors remove cockroach from woman’s nose

Surprisingly, both the Indian woman and cockroach survived the ordeal.


When 42-year old Selvi woke up around midnight from a “tingling, crawling sensation” in her right nostril she thought it was nothing more than a cold.

But soon after that she felt something move, and after four hospital visits doctors found the cause a few hours later: A cockroach had taken occupation of her nose and made itself comfortable in the confined space.

'A burning sensation' 

Selvi, a domestic worker from India, told the Times of India she spent the rest of the night – last week Tuesday – in discomfort, while waiting to go the doctor first thing in the morning.

“I could not explain the feeling but I was sure it was some insect,” she said. “Whenever it moved, it gave me a burning sensation in my eyes.”

After being referred from one hospital to another, a doctor at Stanley Medical College Hospital finally used an endoscope to locate the new “resident”.  

“It was a fully grown cockroach,” Dr M.N. Shankar, head of the ear, nose and throat department, told the Times of India. “It was alive. And it didn’t seem to want to come out.”

By that time the cockroach had been in her nose for about 12 hours. It was sitting in the skull base, between the eyes and close to the brain, Shankar said.

They first tried to use a suction device to remove the insect, but it clung on to the tissue. After 45 minutes of struggle, however, the cockroach finally appeared.

And the most fascinating – or gruesome – part of the story is that the cockroach was still alive.

“If left inside, it would have died before long and the patient would have developed infection, which would have spread to the brain,” Shankar said. 

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