What Is a 'W.C. Fields' Nose?

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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What was wrong with W.C. Fields' nose?

Doctor's response

The American entertainer of vaudeville and the movies, W.C. Fields (1880-1946), had rosacea with rhinophyma (ryno-fee-ma).

If it is not effectively treated, rosacea can cause rhinophyma (literally, growth of the nose). With rhinophyma, the nose is bulbous, enlarged and red and there may also be thick bumps on the lower half of the nose and nearby on the cheeks. Rhinophyma occurs mainly in men.

W.C. Fields' lifestyle -- he had a well-earned reputation for imbibing -- did not cause his rosacea but it probably didn't help much. Avoiding food and drink (such as alcoholic beverages) that cause flushing of the face is recommended in rosacea to help minimize the enlargement of blood vessels in the skin that is part of the condition.

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Reviewed on 1/11/2018