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Disturbing Nasal Odor
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Disturbing Nasal Odor

I am periodically smelling a foul odor that appears to be coming from my nasal passages.  It smells like rotting flesh!  Of course, I am concerned and I hoped that someone could offer some guidance in rectifying this matter. I also would like to add that I have been a frequent user of Afrin nasal spray for many many years.  Any assistance that you may offer would be greatly appreciated.
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The most common reason for a foul odor coming from the nose is an infection in one or more of the sinus cavities.  I would speak to your physician about this.  A CT of the sinuses will be the most effective way to make this diagnosis.  Unfortunately, a physical examination cannot do this.
22 Comments
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I wouldn't wait for a response here, I would set up a doc. appt right away.  I saw a program on tv that linked years of afrin use with nasal cancer, so it would be better to be safe than sorry.  Who knows if you can believe everything you see on t.v. but I would get it checked out just the same.
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Before you get scared thinking this is cancer, I quote The Women's Network. Tonsilloliths ("tonsil stones") are typically white or whitish-yellow, irregularly shaped, foul-smelling and usually smaller than a pea.  the tissue lining the tonsils is called oral mucosa.  Like your skin, oral mucosa sheds continuously.  The dead cells become incorporated in your saliva and then you swallow them.  The surface of your tonsils is pockmarked with deep pits, appropriately called "crypts" (since dead stuff accumulates in these pits).  Oral mucosa lines the crypts.  As this mucosa sheds, normally the dead cells leave the crypts and are swallowed.  In some unlucky people the dead cells accumulate and glom togeather to form firm little balls.  All of this dead stuff makes great food for bacteria.  This accounts for the smell.
I'm one of the unlucky ones.  The balls fly to the front of my mouth during major cough attacks.  Often they are dispelled while I am still lying in bed in the morning or when I am looking up in the air.  They have a terrible odor.
Hope this helps you out.
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I have the same problem!  Every day, or at least every other day, out of the blue I will have a horrible smell in my nose.  Sometimes it comes on after I sniff or blow my nose, and other times it is out of the blue.  It's so bad that I taste it, and my husband comments on it when we kiss!  It's embarrassing.  Usually I get it in the evenings, and by the time I wake up in the morning, it's gone.  I haven't seen a doctor about it because I don't quite know what to tell him the problem is.  However, on another page of this forum, people have suggested it could be nasal polyps(blocking mucous flow), post nasal drip, atrophic rhinitis(not really sure what it is except that it's rare), or those things that come from your tonsils.  Others posted that they have used several nasal washes and sprays, some had surgery, and nothing seems to help.  All I know is, this smell drives me crazy, and nothing tastes normal when I have it.  Can somebody give me some insight PLEASE!  Thank you.
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Oh yeah, I forgot to describe the odor/taste (which may be important in diagnosis).  The best descriptor is probably a garlic smell, at least that's what my husband thinks.
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I agree with sunshine...I just returned from the ENT specialist this week with the same problem.  DX:  cryptic tonsillitis, which means I have the funky smelling stink balls flying out of my tonsils, too.  Since I have had numerous sinus infections, throat infections, bronchitis, etc., he suggested I have my tonsils removed (March).

Google this: tonsilliths - you will find a LOT of info on it. It's a pretty common problem, which I had not heard of but have suffered with it for over 30 years! I am always concerned about my breath because of it.

Go see a ear, nose & throat specialist!! I wouldn't trust home remedies, digging in your throat or taking herbal medications. I hope this helps.  Good day & good health, fredschic
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I know that godawful smell, I'd get it when my sinus infection advanced to the sinus that has the olfactory receptors.  Google: Mayo Clinic Snot to find out why.  The best way to get rid of the infected snot which causes it is not surgery, but a saline powerflush of the sinuses, which I developed after drugs failed to rid me of that dreadful smell.  The saline flushes recommended on this website may work, but they may or may not reach all of the sinuses as effectively as my method does, but give it a shot.  Antibiotics might work also, but sometimes it takes months. Good luck, i can smell stuff i haven't smelled for years.
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In your post you mentioned, "...but a saline powerflush of the sinuses, which I developed after drugs failed to rid me of that dreadful smell".  I'm wondering just what it is, exactly, that you've developed?  I can think of some ideas that might force more salinated water into the nasal cavities, but as we well know that area is hyper-sensitive.  How did you develop the "power flush" that has enough strength to do the job but enough control on the pressure regulator, to avoid blowing out a nasal gasket(my term, of course), so to speak.  Any advice would be appreciated.
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It involves bending over in a hot shower.  I suspect that many people could possibly get dizzy and fall if they did that, so I am reluctant to go into detail here. As for the gasket-blowing, you should always blow verrrry gently out of one nostril only, keeping the other one pinched closed.  Never turn your head from a vertical plane, or it might get into your ear canal, and one nostril is always nearly closed anyway, your body switches back and forth between the left and right for cleaning purposes, even when you are healthy, so don't blow too much out of that one. Oh, and don't rub your eyes without washing your hands first, or you could get an eye infection from the infected schmoo.
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A garlicky Odor can also be a symptom of heavy metal Toxicity, you made need to do a detox.
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I keep thinking I have cancer in the nose.  It started about 2 years ago.  I had a sore in the left side of my nose.  One of those things that just keeps "boogering up"  for lack of a better term.  Each time the scab would come off, it would bleed a little.  It finally went away, but there was this terrible odor in the left side of my nose.  This was last year in the fall.  It finally went away, but lately there has been another little scab in the left (same) side and it is just small - but the smell is back.  I don't have alot of drainage. When I do, there is no coloration to it.  I wonder if it is possible for me to have some sinus infection without pain and congestion.  I have to be very careful what I take because I have high blood pressure. My head hurts a little bit.  My nose doesn't hurt either.  I am afraid that other people can smell it if they are near me.  I am healthy and 43 years old.  I don't know what kind of doctor to go to and if I make an appointment and they can't get me in right away, it may be gone by the time he sees me and then he will probably think I am nuts.
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!!!  i have the same problem you all have described,  an extreamly foul odor that comes from my nose. i have tryed rinsing my nose with water and salt, i have tryed antibiotics and even had my tonsils removed. i am 17 and i have had this problem for 3 years now.  I was just looking at some nasal Drops on the internet that say they kill bacteria in your nasal cavity. Other than this, can anyone relate to my problem and please give me any suggestions on how to get rid of this stink so i can go on and live my life?
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I figure I should go on with some more information that may add up.  Does anyone have problems with fever blisters/cold sores?  How about the ones that get on your nose?  I think my bad odor may be coming from one of those really high up in my nose or sinuses.  Do you think that is possible?  The reason I say this is that, during high school, 25+ years ago, I would get fever blisters only on my mouth.  Then about 18 years ago or more, I stopped getting them on my mouth and they would get on my nose in the area around my nostril. Too much sun or stress or a stomach ache causes my nose to itch and itch and turn really red. I joke that I look like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Then the blister comes = which really consists of a cluster of very small watery blisters.  They ooze and it eventually scabs over. But THAT OOZE SMELLS BAD!  It smells like the stuff in my nose now, but there is no blister on the outside of my nose near the nostril like usual. Years ago the dermatologist gave me Acyclovir that works pretty good and recently gave me Valtrex.  When I feel a nose blister coming on, I just start that medication.  My nose has itched for a few days and this morning I was laying on the couch on my back and there was no drainage down my throat and all of a sudden, there was a drip coming out of my nose and sure enough - it had that odor again to it.  I have started my Valtrex again in hopes that my theory is right.  We shall see.  But I was wondering if any of you had problems with fever blisters that may be causing some of these odors.  It is a smell like - one person said dead flesh - like that.  I can rub my hand across my nose and that one nostril will be slightly wet and I can smell it on my finger and all up in my nose when I sniff.  Sounds gross, but we are all trying to help each other so I'm giving details.  What does anyone think about this??
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HAS ANYONE HAD THIS STINK IN THIER NOSE AND HAD IT FIXED SOMEHOW?? IF SO , PLEASE POST A COMMENT AND LET ME KNOW HOW. I HAVE TRIED EVERYTHING.  ( if anyone would have solved thier problem they probly wouldnt be on this site) :(
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I have been using Saline Nasal Spray every day and went back on the Valtrex two days ago. I had the smell really bad two days ago, then some yesterday, but not as much.  I haven't had the smell yet as of today, so maybe it (the Valtrex)is helping.  Read my last post.  I know it is long, but maybe it will make sense to someone.  So far so good today.
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yo bailey, can you explain what valtrax is / does? is it like a spray or drops ? appreciated. i need all the help i can get. ive had this stench for 3 years now. ive tried everything, even got my tonsils taken out but the stink is still there.
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ya, i dont have blisters
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Valtrex is a herpes type medication.  I don't have the genital kind, just the herpes simplex (fever blisters) and they get on and inside my nose.  I have not smelled the smell for two days now and have been on my Valtrex for 4 days now I think.  There is also Acyclovir which is for the same thing - you just have to take it more.  Google it and see what you think, but it has helped me.  That is why I am wondering if I have some type of blisters way up high in my nose and that is helping them.
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Avatar_n_tn
are u sure you have blisters in ur nose, or you just think u do?
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I went to the doctor and he thinks he saw a polyp, but if there was a blister, the valtrex cleared it up b/c there is no smell anymore.
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I have this putrid foul odor that im sure in coming from either my nose or throat.  IM not sure.  It honestly smells like i have went # 2 in my pants, farted, and/or died. Sometimes i can get whiffs of it sometimes i cannot.  I can get rotten filth tastes in my mouth.  The times i cannot smell it i know its happening cause people are going crazy when they come in contact with me.  Some are rude and some hate me cause they think i can do something about it.  I havent been able to leave my house cause its so bad and it happens all time.  The smell is so bad people from 10 feet away can smell it.  I went to a doctor a week ago that was just a GP and the person was amazed. Conveiniently when i went in the smell wasnt present so the doctor had to take my word for it rather than smell it themselves.  They never heard of anything with that strong of a smell.  But she provided me with antibiotics (amoxicillin, metronidazole) and a nasal spray thinking that this might solve the problem.  It has been going on for a month now!  She said that if it doesnt go away go see an ENT.  But I am in england now so i will have to return to the states early to see the ent.  Does anyone know what is wrong with me?  PLEASE HELP
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I have this putrid foul odor that im sure in coming from either my nose or throat.  IM not sure.  It honestly smells like i have went # 2 in my pants, farted, and/or died. Sometimes i can get whiffs of it sometimes i cannot.  I can get rotten filth tastes in my mouth.  The times i cannot smell it i know its happening cause people are going crazy when they come in contact with me.  It happens at random times of the day everyday.  The smell is so bad people from 10 feet away can smell it.  I went to a doctor a week ago that was just a GP and the person was amazed. Conveiniently when i went in the smell wasnt present so the doctor had to take my word for it rather than smell it themselves.  They never heard of anything with that strong of a smell.  But she provided me with antibiotics (amoxicillin, metronidazole) and a nasal spray thinking that this might solve the problem.  It has been going on for a month now!  She said that if it doesnt go away go see an ENT.  But I am in england now so i will have to return to the states early to see the ent.  Does anyone know what is wrong with me?  PLEASE HELP
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Thank God I'm not alone on this! For a while I began to think that I was the only idiot with this problem. I too suffer from this terrible disorder and it's completely ruined my life! I've had to abstain from socializing with people, my love life is in shambles because of it, my family thinks i'm anti-social for not wanting to be too close to them, I apparently make classroom settings unpleasant as I notice my classmates cupping their noses shut and it's completely drained the life out of me. Waking up each day is a nightmare as I know that stupid smell is going to be there. I have tried using nasal sprays, restraining myself of certain foods/liquids, drowning myself in cologne in an attempt to overpower the stench but to no avail. I cannot express how desperate I am for an answer, a solution to this curse! Please, if anybody out there has sought a solution with positive results, I beg you to share with the rest of us....help us LIVE again.
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I also have suffered this crappy smell in my nose when I rub it hard. I do smoke but everyone who knows me says i have an amazingly good sense of smell.
Although its foul, noone else seems to notice it.

ive noticed on those rare vain moments i have inspected my face real closeup that if i rub my nose hard it also brings up white heads.

So i came to the conclusion that when i rub
my nose, whitehead spots are bursting inside my nostrils and thats where the smell comes from.

Notr to self, wash nose more :)
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Avatar_f_tn
For one don't stick items like q-tips, fingers, purell or any foreign objects.  Your nose is a warm moist environment which is perfect for bacteria and fungus to grow.  DO NOT use any nasal cleansing products sold over the counter.  You could upset the delicate balance inside your nose and potentially make your problem worse or spread an infection to your sinus cavities.  

Most likely, the nasal odor will go away on its own.  If this problem lasts for a week or more you really need to schedule an appointment with an ears nose and throat doctor as clearly the problem is more than your body can handle on its own.  But it should be noted that ALL nasal passages have an odor.  Most of these odors hide in corners of your nasal passages.  Stretching your upper lip downward or flaring your nostrils can increase the odor which your brain normally filters out.  You.should pay close attention to the color of the mucous.  Dark yellow or green indicates a sinus infection or cold.  Your mucous should be clearish, perhaps whitish or only slightly yellow in tint.  Particulats in your environment can change the tint as well so you should take this into account.  
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I also  experience this false odor mostly from my right nostril smelling like rotten fish.I have had it for the past six yrs.have use nasal drops and fleming capsules but still! can someone please suggest the best remedy. I am loosing selfconfidence and esteem and ruining my relationship.        
  
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We really should start a support group. This condition has affected my social life, self esteem, even my personal life. Thank God for this forum.. After reading these comments/ post I feel relieved that i'm not suffering alone. I pray for healing for all of us!!!
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My case started 3 or 4 days ago. It was late morning when out of nowhere the nastiest taste&smell took over my life. This hit me as a total surprise & 1st time. At first I couldn't describe what I was experiencing except it was like nothing I've ever known. I smell AND taste this endlessly &  unbearably. I have this uncon trollable unrelenting drainage down the back of my throat that trades off with one or the other of my slightly sniffling...which causes anywhere from a mere hint to an overpowering stench&taste; &/or an fear-for-my-life OOPS of breathing in & getting a bunch of the chunky drainage down the back of my throat that happens so fast & unexpected that there isn't time to cough/choke it out & spit it out or onto a facial tissue to examine it myself or have it examined by an appropriate person. I cant help but wonder if this is an infection & that it's going to kill me because I'm scared it's lethal. And its getting worse. I have had bad teeth problems for 28 yrs & just had the last 4 teeth pulled.
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I too am a victim to  this horific smell. it started out as a lingering bad taste & odor one morning. I thought i just had bad breath. so i brushed my teeth. went  away.  but then it became every morning. then every  morning & night. soon  enough it was all the time. i tried every  nasal spray on the shelf. doc gave me nasonex. didn't help eather. also tryed about 3 different anitbiotics. nothing. now im at the end of my rope. its soo bad that i dont socialize  with anyone but my bubby. even fam. makes comments about my smell. they even gave me  a toothbrush! standing in line at the store or anywhere where people stand close to me us nerve wrecking because i have to listen to ridicule  & down right mean comments/ laughs. the smell of rotting flesh or egg  has penetrated my entire house. even my clothes smell like that. i sanitize pretty much everything in my house every day.take showers twice a day, take heart burn med, do a nasal saline wash twice a day, & brush my teeth 3 times a day. im completely lost. d. my husband says its not that bad that im just paranoid. but i can tell he gets turned off when i get close to him. sometimes i wonder why i even get out of bed every morning.
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I have the same problem but only i can smell it on my left nostril no one else smells it. I have tried two types of nasal spray, i dont have any syntoms such as bogey coming out my nose seems to be clear and no pain its just the weird smell that i get when i sniff a lil bit or when i inhale smoke or cooking or outdoors, the doctor said its a rhintis allergy but still refferd me to ent specilst where they checked my nose with an endoscope it was clear n fine i also got a ct scan done the results came back fine, this is driving me mental what it could be, it started off from a cold few years ago but got better after i used over the counter spray (vicks nasal spray) and came back to this problem! The smell is like a strong fleshy kind of smell and from that side of the nose i seem to smell any light smell stronger
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I've read all ur comments and made me realize how much of a problem this is. My husband is suffering from the same thing and I must I can't stand the smell and its a turn off most of the times. In the mornings it's worse our bedroom would smell like poop. I love him so much and I want him to get help. Today we went for ct scan and they found that he have something on his left sinus. He gets headaches and says his tooth sometimes feels loose. Please ENT's help.
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