Ear, Nose & Throat

Smelly mucus in nose-Causes & 11 Remedies

Smelly mucus in nose or Bad smelling mucus in nose can be due to many causes related to the nose and paranasal sinuses which are situated beside the nose and in its surroundings. Some people have excess phlegm or mucus in the nose, which has a foul or unpleasant odor. If this smelly phlegm in nose passes into the mouth and throat, you can also have a bad, unwanted taste in your mouth.

Smelly mucus in nose causes:

smelly mucus in nose
Image source: onlymyhealth.com

In this article, we shall explore all the possible causes of stinky mucus in nose. We shall also discuss the reasons which cause these diseases and how to diagnose them and also get rid of them.

1. Sinusitis causing smelly mucus in nose:

Sinusitis is one of the most common reasons causing smelly mucus in nose. Many people suffer from this condition throughout the world. Sinusitis is the inflammation or swelling of the paranasal sinuses which are situated around the nose.

What are Paranasal sinuses:

Sinuses are air-filled cavities or spaces. The air filled spaces situated around the nose are called paranasal sinuses.There are 4 pairs of paranasal sinuses surrounding the nose. They are the maxillary sinuses, frontal sinuses, ethmoidal sinuses and the sphenoidal sinuses.

The sphenoidal sinuses are situated behind the eyeballs. The ethmoidal sinuses are situated between the eyes. The frontal sinuses are situated above the eyes. The maxillary sinuses are located below the eyes.

Symptoms of Sinusitis:

As the sinuses get inflamed due to any reason like viral or bacterial infection, they cause many symptoms in addition to smelly mucus in nose. They can also get swollen due to allergies. Let us see all the symptoms of sinusitis.

  • Smelly mucus in nose or foul-smelling mucus in nose
  • A headache mainly in the frontal region or the forehead region
  • Pain or tenderness when pressed over the sinuses
  • Feeling of congestion or stuffiness in the nose
  • Feeling feverish
  • Soreness in the throat
  • Cough
  • Discharge containing pus from the nose if there is bacterial infection
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Diagnosis of Sinusitis:

Your physician might initially diagnose sinusitis based on the symptoms you mention. But later he might order tests like X-ray of paranasal sinuses or CT head to diagnose sinusitis. He might also order tests like Eosinophil count to detect if you have any allergies that are causing sinusitis.

2. Rhinitis causing smelly mucus in nose:

Rhinitis is another important cause of smelly mucus in nose. It is the inflammation or swelling of the nose. It can be caused by bacterial or viral infections and also due to allergies. If it’s caused by allergies, its called allergic rhinitis.

Symptoms of Rhinitis:
  • Runny nose
  • Smelly mucus in nose
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal stuffiness or congestion
  • Cough
  • Fever of low grade
  • Dripping off the mucus into the throat
  • Watering of eyes if Rhinitis is caused by allergy
Diagnosis of Rhinitis:

Rhinitis is diagnosed mainly based on the history you give. If your doctor suspects that an infection is causing rhinitis and smelly mucus in nose, he might order culture of the nasal discharge to prescribe appropriate antibiotics. If your rhinitis is being caused by allergies, then you might require testing for eosinophil count, as its usually raised in a person having allergies.

3. Postnasal drip:

Another cause of smelly mucus in nose or stinky mucus in nose is post nasal drip. Have you ever heard of this condition? When there is an excess production of mucus in the nose, it might pass into the throat, and you might feel like having constant mucus in throat. This is called post nasal drip.

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Symptoms of post nasal drip:
  • Smelly mucus in nose
  • Mucus accumulation feeling in throat
  • Feeling to clear throat constantly to get rid of mucus
  • A nocturnal cough or a nighttime cough
  • Soreness in throat
  • Halitosis or bad breath
Diagnosis of post nasal drip:

Postnasal drip is mainly a clinical diagnosis. Your physician will take a detailed history and do physical examination to diagnose post nasal drip and to rule out other disorders.

Other causes of smelly mucus in nose:
  • Tonsillitis or inflammation of tonsils
  • Nasal polyps or polyps in nose
  • Not maintaining proper oral health
  • Dental caries or tooth decay

Smelly mucus in nose Remedies:

There are many home remedies that you can follow to get rid of foul smelling mucus in nose or smelly mucus in nose. Let us explore some of them below.

1. Drink plenty of water:

We need adequate hydration to fight any infection, and to clear stinking mucus in nose. So, try to drink 10 to 12 glasses of water every day. You can even take help of certain fitness apps available in the android phones or note down your water intake in a diary to keep track of your hydration status.

2. Drink warm liquids:

When you have conditions like sinusitis, rhinitis, and postnasal drip, drinking warm liquids provides very good relief from these conditions. Drink warm liquids like tea, coffee, warm soups like tomato soup, etc. Your throat will feel really good after drinking them.

3. Ginger Pepper Basil leaf tea:

Take half a teaspoon of peppercorns and crush them coarsely. Then add half inch piece of ginger to it and crush it. Also, add 10 to 15 Basil or Tulsi leaves to it and crush it. Then add this mixture to a glass of water and boil it on a slow flame for 5 minutes until the water reduces to 3/4th of a cup. Then strain the liquid and add some honey to it and drink. You can drink it 2 times a day for fast relief.

4. Avoid allergens:

Conditions like allergic rhinitis, Sinusitis, and Post nasal drip are caused or aggravated by allergens. So avoid all the possible allergens like dust, pollen from flowers, animal dander, pet fur, mites, etc. Avoid eating foods to which you are allergic to.

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5. Do breathing exercises:

Breathing exercises like Pranayama are very helpful in enhancing your immunity levels and getting rid of respiratory infections. Breathing exercises also help in alleviating the symptoms of allergic rhinitis. You can do Pranayama like Anulom Vilom Pranayama, Kapalbhati Pranayama, etc.

6. Eucalyptus oil:

You can add Eucalyptus oil to the hot water and inhale hot vapors. It is a very effective remedy to get rid of all the conditions causing smelly mucus in nose.

7. Warm salt water gargles:

Take a glass of warm water and add a half teaspoon of salt to it. Mix it well. Then use this warm salt water to gargle. Do this 2 or 3 times a day for good relief from smelly mucus in throat.

8. Eat a healthy diet:

Eating healthy diet enhances immunity and plays a vital role in getting rid of respiratory infections as well. Eat fruits rich in Vitamin C like oranges, limes, etc which helps to get rid of smelly mucus in nose. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables. Eat plenty of salads with greens leafy vegetables.

9. Nasal decongestant drops:

There are various nasal decongestant drops available in the market which contains drugs like Oxymetazoline or Xylometazoline. You can put 2 drops of this nasal drops into each nostril 2 or 3 times a day. You will feel good relief from nasal congestion or stuffiness.

10. Nasal spray:

If you are suffering from allergic rhinitis, your physician might prescribe various nasal spray containing Steroids like Budesonide or Antihistaminics like Azelastine. You will need to spray them in the nostrils to the lateral walls or to the side and be careful to avoid exposure to the spray to the eyes.

11. Antibiotics:

If your physician suspects that you are having an infection of bacteria leading to smelly mucus in nose, he might prescribe you antibiotics o get rid of the infection.

I hope you have seen all the possible causes of smelly mucus in nose. If you feel that you have a bacterial infection due to high fever, etc, be sure to consult a physician. If your symptoms of smelly mucus in nose and others are not getting resolved with home remedies, consult your doctor as soon as possible.

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