brain surgery
This is a representational image showing doctors carry out a brain surgery at the National Neurology Institute in Budapest, Hungary, Dec. 15, 2012. Reuters/Bernadett Szabo

A Nebraska woman suffered from constant runny nose which the doctors thought was caused due to bad allergies, only to later find that it was brain fluid leak. Kendra Jackson had a cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) leak — a condition that is rare and often under-diagnosed.

"Everywhere I went I always had a box of Puffs, always stuffed in my pocket," Jackson of Omaha, Nebraska, told ABC-affiliated television station KETV. "[It was] like a waterfall, continuously, and then it would run to the back of my throat."

For years, Jackson consulted doctors for her sneezing, coughing and constant nose tickle that had begun after she was in a car accident in 2013. At the time of the accident, Jackson hit her head on the dashboard that led to chronic headaches, but, it was unclear why she was showing cold symptoms.

It was only recently that she went to an ear, nose, and throat specialist at Nebraska Medicine in Omaha where it was confirmed that what she thought to be a runny nose from allergies was actually a CSF leak.

"Doctor after doctor told Kendra the fluid coming out of her nose was because of allergies. But after years of coping with this problem and the headaches associated with it, she turned to the ENT team at Nebraska Medicine. Carla Schneider, PA, discovered Kendra had a CSF leak — cerebrospinal fluid from her brain was leaking out of her nose! So rhinologist Dr. Christie Barnes and neurosurgeon Dr. Dan Surdell surgically fixed the potentially dangerous problem a few weeks ago," Nebraska Medicine wrote on Facebook.

What is cerebrospinal fluid​ leak?

This results when the fluid around the brain leaks through a hole through the skull bone. The fluid can either drain from the ear or the nose, depending on where the skull bone is damaged, typically as a result of a traumatic injury.

Symptoms can include a runny nose, liquid in the ear, headaches, vision loss, neck pain or stiffness, a sense of imbalance, nausea and vomiting.

Risks of CSF leak:

Doctors told Jackson that she was losing about 8 ounces of brain fluid a day, which is nearly half of the 17 ounces of CSF that the brain produces per day. The risks of CSF leak include possibility of life threatening infections such as meningitis.

"We [went] through the nostrils, through the nose," rhinologist Barnes told KETV, adding that a team of doctors used Jackson's own tissue as a plug to prevent fluid from spilling out. "We use angled cameras, angled instruments to get us up to where we need to go."

After the operation, Jackson's head felt clear and she was finally abe to put the tissues that had been with her for five years, away.

"I don't have to carry around the tissue anymore, and I'm getting some sleep," Jackson told the news station, as she continues to recover.