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Why Do I Have A Foul Odor in My Nose?

Foul Odour in My Nose?

Can you detect bad smells that no one else seems to? Are you sniffing foul odors that don’t seem to have a source? If this is you and the smells linger, you might be feeling a bit crazy and desperate for relief.

Rest assured, there are possible explanations for those bad smells in your nose. The information below could help guide you to the professional treatment you might need.

Phantom Smells

Known as olfactory hallucinations or phantosmia, it occurs when you can smell an odor that has no external source. The experience varies from person to person. Some people get harsh, unpleasant odors while others detect mild, sweeter ones. Sometimes only one nostril is afflicted, while other times it’s both nostrils. The sensation may be brief—one that comes and goes periodically—or it may stay with you for days.

Like the symptoms, the causes of phantosmia can vary. Something like an upper respiratory infection or inflamed sinuses could trigger the phantom smells. Or more serious conditions such as head injuries, temporal lobe seizures or brain tumors could be at the root of phantosmia.

It is important to seek expert medical help if you experience phantosmia so that the underlying cause can be found and treated. Consider starting with your family doctor to diagnose and treat any inflammations or infections. Your doctor can also refer you to the correct specialists if your phantosmia is caused by something else.

Not Just in Your Head

There can be physical reasons why you’re smelling something funky in your nose. These reasons include:

  • Nasal Polyps: These growths can hang from the sinuses or nasal passages. They tend to be painless and soft, and can be the result of chronic inflammation. Small polyps generally trigger few symptoms, but larger ones can result in breathing issues and blockages. If a blockage occurs, the mucous might stop draining properly and this backed-up mucous can start to stink.
  • Sinus Infections: Known as sinusitis, this condition can certainly cause your sense of smell to go awry. When the sinus cavities in your cheeks, forehead and nose fill with fluid from a cold, allergies or other condition, the fluid can collect germs and an infection can take hold. Sometimes, though, a sinus infection can be self-contained and it can be very hard to spot symptoms. If left unchecked, your olfactory nerves can become damaged causing smells in your nose.
  • Post-nasal drip: When the linings in your nasal passages make too much mucous, it can start to drip down the back of the nose and throat. If you have the urge to clear your throat or cough all the time, post-nasal drip could be the reason. When this mucous accumulates without being cleared, it can start to smell.
  • Tooth decay: Believe it or not, poor oral health can actually generate smells inside your mouth and nasal passages. Tooth decay or halitosis might be making those stinky scents you can’t get rid of. Be sure to see your dentist regularly to maintain good oral health.

It’s important to seek expert medical advice when you’re experiencing bad smells that have no obvious source. While it may seem like the odors are all in your head, there could be serious physical issues creating your discomfort. Even if the cause is less serious, with proper medical treatment, those foul smells can be cleared up.

Choose the Expert in ENT Treatment and Smell Clearly Again

Dr. Nguyen is a national expert in ear, nose and throat (ENT) treatment. For more than 15 years, he has been helping people seek relief from their nasal and sinus conditions. Let Houston Sinus and Allergy use the newest technology and our vast experience to customize a solution for your health needs.

You can reach us by calling (832) 237-7777, or fill out the form at the top of the page to book an assessment to start feeling better!

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