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Getting bad smell when inhaling through nose. What could be causing this?

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I get a bad smell when I inhale through my nose it smells slightly rotten though my wife has said I don't have bad breath it is only when I breathe through my nose
Posted Wed, 15 Aug 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
 
 
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 1 hour later
Hi,

Thank you for your query.

1. The bad smell that you get through your nose when you inhale is most likely due to a mild sinus infection or stagnant mucus including drying up of normal nasal secretions. Have you had a recent cold, cough or fever? The inflammation may be fungal. Foreign bodies are rare in adults but must be ruled out if it is one sided. A rotten smell usually means a sulphur containing compound usually produced by a bacterial infection.

2. Hence the first step will be to rule out the above by a visit to an ENT Specialist.

3. Oral infections, inflammation including gum and dental (any recent root canal or dental extraction?), acid reflux and Tonsilloliths are leading causes for a bad smell in the nose.

4. Get a general check-up done as many diseases such as diabetes, liver diseases, nasal polyps, tumors and so on should be ruled out.

5. If there is nasal and sinus inflammation you may take a trial of treatment including antibiotics, anti-allergic decongestants, saline nasal washes, mouthwashes, tongue cleaning, anti-reflux medication and probiotics. Smoking should be avoided. Otherwise you may proceed through 3 & 4.

6. If no cause is found, it may be a an olfactory hallucination. This a commonly seen with damage to the olfactory mucosa or olfactory bulb and tract, esp. some years after a head injury. This will show up on imaging such as CT/MRI. Do you have any occupational exposure to extreme cold, constant air conditioning or chemicals?

7. You may follow up with the answers to the above questions, results of the above investigations and treatment for further recommendations.

I hope that I have answered your queries. If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

Regards.
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