What Causes Bad Smell In Nose?

Do you have a bad smell coming from the nose? Is it really bothering you? Bad smell from the nose is very common among people. However, it is something that many people are embarrassed to talk about. What are some of the most common causes of a bad smell coming from the nose? Is this treatable? In this article we will try to explain some of the most common causes of the bad smell coming from the nose and their treatment.

Bad smell from the nose can occur to both men and women. Don’t be afraid to seek medical help and talk to your healthcare provider about it. Seeking proper medical help and diagnosing its real cause will help you get rid of that bad smell. You have probably tried various nasal sprays at home on your own, but nothing really helped.
Some of the most common causes of bad smell coming from the nose include:

  • Nasal Polyps – are non-cancerous growth inside of the nose, which are usually soft and painless. Nasal polyps result from a chronic inflammation of the nasal mucosa due to recurrent infections, allergies or even certain types of immune disorders. The size of the nasal polyps varies. Small nasal polyps are usually asymptomatic, while larger nasal polyps may interfere with breathing. Nasal polyps also may cause losing the sense of the smell and recurrent infections. They can affect anyone and the treatment with various medications can help shrink or even eliminate the nasal polyps. In some cases surgery is the only treatment option where these nasal polyps are removed. The bad smell from the nose in cases of nasal polyps results from recurrent infections.
  • Post Nasal Drip – is a runny discharge coming from the nose. The discharge comes from the excessive mucus which goes down your throat. Bacteria multiply and grow in this ambient causing bad smell from the mouth and nose. Post nasal drip can be triggered by a common cold, flu, allergies, sinusitis, certain types of food, pregnancy, smoke, deviated septum and other irritants in the environment. The treatment is focused on the cause of the post nasal drip. Antibiotics are often recommended when the reason is a bacterial infection. In cases when the reason is a viral infection requires decongestants. In cases of an allergy corticosteroids are necessary, accompanied with nasal sprays.
  • Rhinoscleroma – is a chronic granulomatous bacterial disease of the nasal cavity. This infection is caused by bacteria named Klebsiellarhinoscleromatis. It is a tropical disease affecting more the people living in Central America and Africa. The disease progresses in three stages. The first stage is the catarrhal stage which begins with a nonspecific rhinitis. The disease progresses into a purulent rhinitis which lasts for weeks and sometimes even months. The second stage is the granulomatous stage where rubbery nodules and even polyps develop inside of the nasal cavity in the nasal mucosa. Rhinoscleroma will lead to nasal bleeding, nasal deformity and destruction of the nasal cartilage. The last stage is the fibrotic stage, characterized by sclerosis and fibrosis.
  • Tonsilloliths – are stones created inside of your tonsils. The real reason why these stones are created inside of the tonsils is not known. However, these stones are usually white in color, sometimes even yellow and are generally made out of calcium. With time the food is accumulated creating a perfect environment for various bacteria to grow and multiply. This is where the bad smell on the nose and mouth comes from. Tonsil stones usually do not require treatment.
  • Sinusitis – is the inflammation of the sinuses. Sinuses are cavities around the nasal passage. When the sinuses get inflamed the drainage is blocked and the mucus collects. The sinuses get swollen, causing also the area around your nose, eyes and face to get swollen, where the bacteria accumulate and an infection is developed. The bacteria multiply in this environment producing also waste products which usually contain noxious sulphur. This is the cause of the bad smell coming from the nose. Headache and a throbbing facial pain are also very common in the cases of sinusitis. Sinusitis affects both men and women usually at a young age. Acute sinusitis can last up to a couple of weeks, while chronic sinusitis can last up to a couple of months, even years. Treatment of sinusitis includes the use of antibiotics and various steroid sprays and drops to treat the infection. Application of moist heat to the face may help ease the discomfort and the throbbing pain.
  • Adenoiditis – is an inflammation of the adenoids. This inflammation can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection. Sometimes, however it can be caused by an allergic reaction. Adenoiditis blocks the nasal cavity, leading to an accumulation of the bacteria, a purulent discharge from the nose and subsequently a bad smell coming from the nose. Treatment requires the use of antibiotics. However, in some cases a surgical removal of the inflamed adenoids is required.
  • Snoring – while we snore the mouth remains open. This results in the loss of moisture from the mouth, impairing also the production of the saliva. The impaired production of the saliva interferes with the ability of the mouth to clean itself, creating a perfect environment for bacteria to grow and multiply. This overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth will lead to bad smell coming from the nose. Treatment of snoring depends from its cause. Usually snoring results from a congestion and blockage of the nasal passage. Sleeping positions also interfere with snoring. Sleeping on the side is recommended, while sleeping on the back should be avoided. Alcoholic drinks, caffeine, heavy meals and depressants should be also avoided before bedtime.
  • Tooth Decay – it may sound strange that a tooth’s decay can cause bad smell that comes from the nose. But, yes it is true. Accept bad breath, a tooth decay can also cause bad breath that comes from the nose, especially a rotting teeth. Visit a dentist as soon as possible and get those teeth fixed. Your problem will be solved. Don’t forget to maintain a good oral hygiene afterwards.
  • Ozena – is also known as atrophic rhinitis. It is a chronic infection of the nasal mucosa leading to the atrophy of the nasal mucosa, nasal bones and the nerves that supply the nose. It can be primary or secondary. Primary ozena is caused by a bacteria named Basillus Mucosus or Klebsiella ozaenae, while secondary ozena results from nazal trauma, radiation or surgery of the nasal cavity. Patients who suffer from ozena also lose their sense of smell. Ozena is a rare condition. The smell that comes from the nose in cases of suffering from ozena is very unpleasant. It can be so intense that can even isolate the person suffering from this condition.

Regardless of the cause, if you are having bad smell that comes from the nose seek medical help. Treatment is necessary in most of the cases to treat the infection that has caused this unpleasant smell. In some cases, like in the cases suffering from ozena this unpleasant odor coming from the nose is so intense that it can even deprive the person from having a social life.

46 COMMENTS

  1. I have this rotten egg/fecal/rotten garbage smell coming from nose (sometimes mouth also). Also nasal blockage that seems to vary from both sides throughout the day. Lots of thick mucus in back of nose going down into throat. Also my left ear seems to have fluid in it at times. Along with voice changes/sore throat.Thinking it’s due to anedoid problem. Can these be removed without having to get all other tonsils removed or do you think it’s best to get it all removed at once?

    Thanks for your advice!!!!

    • It would be best if you made an appointment with an orthodontist. You may be able to speak with your doctor or a dentist. Continue to monitor the symptoms that you are having at this time. Take note of any experiences that you have, so you may better address any questions that your medical professional will ask. Drink plenty of water at this time. Best of luck, Sharee!

  2. I m totally tired of this both nose and mouth odour, its happened since past 2years and try all possible best to see dentist and doctor but all is vain. But one doctor told me to see ENT because nothing happen to my mouth…. Please recommended the best place I can go and some medicine can you use for now

    • You should speak with an ENT. This is the time that you should make an appointment. The sooner that you make your appointment the better. Be certain to drink extra fluids at this time. Reduce stress in your life. Take note of the experiences that you are having at this time so you may better address any questions that your doctor may have. Best of luck, Robert!

  3. Gosh mine as been for a year now. I don’t tlk bt i see pple running frm me. D smell frm my nose and mouth is too much. I snore dats d worse part i always av yellow tongue wen i wake up
    . Nd m jst tired. Don’t know wat to do

    • You need to speak with a medical professional. It would be beneficial for you to drink extra fluids. Abstain from meats at this time. Develop a plant based diet, as this will likely help reduce the odor. It is important that you speak with a doctor, so make an appointment at this time. Best of luck, Jerry!

  4. I had a teeth operation. After 2 weeks i noticed that i have a bad smell coming from my Nose. What’s wrong with me because the smell is continuing even now. Am stressed

    • You should speak with your dentist or a doctor. They will be able to diagnose and address your condition. At this time, it would be best if you drank extra fluids. This may help to reduce the odor. Monitor the symptoms so you can best address any questions that your doctor may have. Best of luck, Nellah!

  5. I feel helpless and I can’t figure out where the smell is coming from(Gut, mouth, or nose) I can’t smell my self and I see people getting away from me. It is impressing and real depressing. I tried every thing from peroxide, lastrine, apple cider vinegar and coconut oil for mouth wash. I visit my dentist 2 or 3 times a year for deep cleaning. Nothing seems to be working.

    • If you have not spoken with an orthodontist or doctor about your condition, then make an appointment at this time. It is possible that this odor is caused by numerous conditions. It would be best if you kept a journal about your symptoms. This will allow you to better address any questions that your doctor may have. Best of luck, Rhodes!

  6. I have had many sinus infections. Different medical doctors and 3 different ENTs. They have given me so many antibiotics and it will get better as soon as I start taking them then as soon as I go off the infection comes back. One doctor put me on long term antibiotics and the same as soon as I finished meds it came right back. Now I have the terrible odor coming from the right side of my nose. It smells like rotten meat. I have used nose sprays, netie pot, drink more water. I am tired of this it is embarrassing and I don’t want to talk to anyone die to the odor.

    • You may want to speak with a medical professional about long term use. You may need to speak with international doctors. Continue to seek a solution to your symptoms. Best of luck, Barb!

      • Thank you for searching for answers through our community. You may want to speak with a medical professional about any concerns that you may have. Best of luck, Sarah!

  7. I am currently facing this problem now, and I think it sinus infection, and my left nose smells really bad anytime I blow my nose
    I don’t have money to go and see the doctor, is there no drugs you can give out for me to take???

    • There are over-the-counter medications that can help with a sinus infection, so just go to your local pharmacy or grocery store. Rest and plenty of fluids will also help. Many people recover from a sinus infection without going to a doctor, but it is important that you take care of yourself as you heal. If you experience any other symptoms such as difficulties breathing, then you may have to go to your doctor after all.

  8. I always feel different kinds of bad smell though closely related it has taken time as it happens irregularly but I don’t have any other sign as described in the articles
    As per now I want to get rid of the problem

    • If there is a cause of the problem, talk to your doctor and he or she can run tests or ask more questions to figure out the cause. It could just be random or you may have a more sensitive nose than most. Without any other symptoms though, it would be difficult to tell what the actual cause is though.

  9. My son just informed me that he has a weird smell in his left nistril. This started 2days ago. He has no other symptoms and hasn’t had a cold. I would think it was sinusitis. Can he use anything otc to alleviate this symptom?

    • If his only symptom is an odd smell, then taking medication might not be necessary. If he does have a sinus infection, then there are over-the-counter medications that can help. You should also consider taking him to the doctor to make sure that it is not caused by a different type of infection.

  10. I am experiencing a nostril odor that reminds me of the smell you have after a cast has been removed! This started after my stage 4 adenocarcinoma lung cancer surgery in February, so I figured it was related. No one else smelled it. However, now I smell it when I’m lying down on my right side. Occasionally, if I lean over to pick up something on the floor I get some weird feelings in my sinus. I never smoked and have survived breast cancer twice. I am on a chemo pill plus one antibiotic daily for possible side effects from Tarceva. I’ve mentioned to my oncologist and primary physician but they don’t seem concerned. Should I be?

    • If your doctors are not concerned, then you should not be concerned. Unusual things happen during chemotherapy. Continue to attempt to reduce stress in your life at this time. We wish you the best of luck, Victoria!

  11. I really don’t know how to say this but I’m always smelling something dead like dead cat or dead fish and trying to figure out if I’m having a nose problem. What do you think?!

    • You may have a medical concern that should be diagnosed. It is possible that you are having dietary issues as well. Continue to monitor your experiences and make an appointment with a medical professional. This will help you address your concerns. Best of luck, Camry!

      • Thank you for searching for answers through our community. You may want to speak with a medical professional about any concerns that you may have. Best of luck, Sarah!

  12. I always having a bad or rotten smell only God knows where it came from when i opened my mouth .bad breath and it always happened whenever I drank cold water and post nasal drip

    • It would be beneficial for you to speak with a medical professional. This may be a sign of dietary problems, but it also may be caused by a more serious medical condition. They may tell you to speak with a oral hygienist. It is important to you care for this complication. Best of luck, Vitalis!

  13. My symptoms fit sinusitis. I had a cold, then got hit with another worse cold just a week later, with what felt like a big block inside one nostril that I couldn’t clear. My face also hurt on that side, and it felt better after applying heat and massage. I’ve had a lot of postnasal drip. Things have improved but now I have an awful smell when I blow my nose, sort of a rotting petroleum smell.

    Can this clear up on its own, can I treat it myself with over-the-counter remedies or a neti pot, or should I get medical attention right away? Is this the kind of thing I can use a drugstore clinic for, or do I need a specialist? Currently uninsured. Now i have go to the hospital for help they told their is no remedy for it i need help
    So

    • You should be able to take care of your body and have it clear up. However, if your symptoms become worse, then it would be best that you seek medical attention. Continue to apply heat, drink extra fluids and reduce stress in your life at this time. If you choose to use a neti-pot, then be certain to clean it after every use. Have a great day, Jeremiah!

  14. I have a odor coming from my nose and people always talking about how bad the odor is. The side of my face is hurt more of the time I can’t sleep.I no I’m not dirty or anything. And I’m tried of it. What could I do

    • If you have a bad smell and other people are complaining about it, then you may want to speak with a medical professional. It is possible that your oral hygiene needs better care. It is also possible that your diet may need to be adjusted. A medical professional will be able to give you the advice that you are seeking. Best of luck, Chris!

  15. I have been having this odour for about three years now even as am talking to u now, with headache at my fore head,watery nose with bad smell and anytime I bend down it comes out even without a sign,and sometimes wen I sneeze it touches my brain and pains me on my nose and I also encounter blockage in my nose during these.what do I do it’s embarasing pls. thanks and God bless.

    • You should go to your doctor and get checked out. If this has lasted for three years, then you should certainly talk to someone about your symptoms. There may be some diagnostic tests and other options that your doctor can use in person to diagnose the problem.

    • What type of odor? If the odor is continuous, you should talk to your doctor about it to see if there is a reason why you keep smelling that scent.

    • I had a cold in November which turned into a sinus infection. I went to Colombia over the winter where my sinuses cleared up, but when I came back I had a cold again which turned into a sinus infection again. Before my sinuses could completely clear up allergy season was upon us. During spring break I completely lost my sense of taste and smell but I gained it back. Til a week and a half ago, everything I smell, smells bad unless it is sweet. Everything I taste, tastes bad unless it is sweet. My doctors say it is severe allergies and that I have drainage (like phlegm) in my throat, but I do not have snot in my Nose. Please help me! I haven’t been eating much since everything is unbearable. I’m scared that this will last a long time but my doctors just don’t seem to care about what it is. What do I have? Do I need to see a specialist? (I’m 16 yrs old)

      • You may want to speak with a different doctor. You may also want to try to get some medication to help with your allergies. A home remedy may be to eat some local honey, as the honey may help your body deal with local allergens. Try to apply heat, drink extra water and reduce stress in your life. Monitor allergen reports in the news paper. Best of luck, Sara!

  16. My symptoms fit sinusitis. I had a cold, then got hit with another worse cold just a week later, with what felt like a big block inside one nostril that I couldn’t clear. My face also hurt on that side, and it felt better after applying heat and massage. I’ve had a lot of postnasal drip. Things have improved but now I have an awful smell when I blow my nose, sort of a rotting petroleum smell.

    Can this clear up on its own, can I treat it myself with over-the-counter remedies or a neti pot, or should I get medical attention right away? Is this the kind of thing I can use a drugstore clinic for, or do I need a specialist? Currently uninsured.

    • You may want to make an appointment with a medical professional. A walk-in clinic may have a low cost option. They will be able to diagnose and treat your concerns. Continue to monitor the experiences that you are having. If they increase, then make an appointment. If they decrease, then you may be able to save some money and care for yourself. Have a great day, Linda!

  17. Long term strong Chemical smell with every breath, for 9 months. No phlegm, no cough, no mucus, nothing. Perfect oral hygiene. I am depressed

      • It is highly doubtful that you have a brain tumor. However, as your breath has a chemical smell to it, you should speak with a medical professional. If your medical professional has no answer, then you may want to speak with a specialist. It is likely that they have experience in the matter. You don’t have a brain tumor. Best of luck, Lynda!

    • It is highly doubtful that you have a brain tumor. However, as your breath has a chemical smell to it, you should speak with a medical professional. If your medical professional has no answer, then you may want to speak with a specialist. It is likely that they have experience in the matter. You don’t have a brain tumor. Best of luck, Lynda!

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