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I usually cannot complete a sneeze. There is the Ah but the Choo does not follow. This has been happening for over a year. I am a 57 year old man in excellent health. I sneezed normally my entire life. Then, I got self conscious about sneezing and started failing to complete sneezes. I have gone up to 10 weeks without sneezing.  I will infrequently  sneeze and think I am cured. However, the inability to complete a sneeze soon returns.  I have researched endlessly and asked questions and have seen all types of Doctors. No one has heard of this rare problem. They all say not sneezing will cause no medical problems. There is scarce research about this because it is not medically significant or hardly ever seen in people. My psychologist and a neurologist say this is absolutely a psychological condition. I have no other symptoms or consequences of this condition ,just frustration. I sneeze once in a while and feel "cured" only to have the inability resume. I actually now go into a state of anxiety when I feel the urge to sneeze for fear of how depressed I will be when the sneeze aborts. Any information will be greatly appreciated. Thank you. David
10 Responses
Avatar universal
I have experienced this on and off myself.  I'm otherwise completely healthy and it never occurred to me it wasn't normal.  Often I get dust up my nose or whatever then I have a half a dozen Aaahhs before finally managing a Choo.  If you're otherwise healthy I'd say you are sort of training yourself into not sneezing because you felt self-conscious in public, and now feel anxious when you feel a sneeze coming on.  There are wide ranges of sneezing habits - everyone's a bit different.  Bright light makes some people sneeze.  About 4 out of 10, myself included,  sneeze when plucking their eyebrows.  Apparently this is all believed to be genetic.  Anyway, the only function of a sneeze is to remove an irritant from your nasal passages, so if the AAhhh achieves that, the Choo may not be necessary.  Maybe try to make yourself sneeze and train yourself to let it all out.  Try inhaling a bit of pepper.  Please don't pluck your eyebrows : )
Avatar universal
Hi David,

A sneeze (or sternutation) is a semi-autonomous, convulsive expulsion of air from the lungs, most commonly caused by foreign particles irritating the nasal mucosa. Sneezing can further be triggered through sudden exposure to bright light, a particularly full stomach, or as a result of unexpected, climatic variations in one's environment such as rapid changes in temperature and humidity levels.

Please note that it is a semi-autonomous activity. That means that you can partly control  it and its partly automatic. Further, the irritant may sometimes get dislodged while inspiration is taking place in the early part of the sneeze. This is the time when you will not sneeze completely.

I hope I answered some of your query. Let me know if you need more information.

Best regards.
Avatar universal
I too have stopped sneezing. Only mine is total. Every spring I would sneeze, grass cutting, flowers etc.
Now no sneeze and no running nose?
Also have had severe ongoing pain and noise intolerance in left ear and hiss that developed later in right ear after 6 months. Doctors were loathe to give antibiotics inspite of discharge and severe pain.
I am wondering if my 2 issues maybe connected. I am tired of going to ENT's, as I have seen 6 now and no answers. They seem so specialized now....sinusitis, cochlear implants, laser for snoring, dizziness, larnyx.
What happened to the generalist ENT specialist?
I have been in ear pain and noise intolerance for 1 year and no sneezing nor nasal dripping?
I hope that someone may have some ideas, thank you. Skunks don't even cause a sneeze from me anymore?
Avatar universal
I've been unalbe to complete a sneeze now for over a month. I get to the ahhh but does not develop into the choo. After reading these posts I was wondering if anyone had any updates on how to treat this situation. I saw my interninst and gave me nasonex but I don't believe that is working.
Avatar universal
I had a visit with the ENT this week...everything seems to be fine but I still can't complete the sneeze. He suggested I try three different nasal allergy medications in a three week period to see which one works best for me. Any comments or suggestions are welcome.
351246 tn?1379682132
Thanks for writing to the forum!
The sneeze reflex is only partially autonomic. Humans can control the sneeze reflex to a great extent. Also some allergens only cause a mild irritation and their aerosols are not big enough for a sneeze reflex to be completed. The reflex gets initiated because the nasal receptors are tickled and send out the sensation however since the irritant is not big enough to sustain the reflex, the reflex is not completed.
Hope this helps. Please let me know if there is any thing else and do keep me posted. Take care!
Avatar universal
I have the same problem.  having difficulites completing to sneeze.. it started after having allergic reaction taking Flexeril.. Is this one of the side effects of flexeril? I used to have no issues w/ sneezing because I have allergies on dust, pollen etc.. Do I need to visit an ENT ?

What do I need to do? I am getting paranoid..
Avatar universal

Thank you so much for your comments.


Avatar universal
Hello bentot623,

How long has it been since you have not been able to complete a sneeze?
Avatar universal
A related discussion, Unable to sneeze was started.
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