Why Your Nose Always Runs When You Cry

Just like there are different reasons why we might find ourselves breaking out in tears, there are different types of tears as well, explains WebMD. The first, basal tears, aren't provoked by anything in particular but are ongoing throughout the day. They help keep the eyes lubricated, among other purposes. In addition to pure water, they are also made up of mucus, oils, and antibodies, all designed to protect the health of the eyes. 

The second type is known as irritant tears, and they are exactly what they sound like. Their purpose is to flush out irritants, such as when you're cutting onions. Finally, we have emotional tears, which are directly connected to our emotional state and can serve a cathartic role as we work through something that has moved us to the point of crying.

Not only is crying a natural response to the world around us (as well as our internal emotional states), it also has many benefits. For example, in a 2014 review of scientific literature on the subject, researchers found that crying is an important behavior. It helps us self-soothe in times of distress while also releasing feel-good chemicals, like oxytocin and endorphins. Harvard Health Publishing adds that crying can benefit our interpersonal relationships as well by facilitating attachment and closeness with others.

You may have noticed that tears aren't the only component of crying. Often times, we also experience a runny nose. Here's why you might find yourself wiping your nose along with your face.

Your nose is working to drain the tears

During crying episodes, it can get pretty uncomfortable to feel both tears drenching your cheeks and snot running out of your nose. You'll definitely need a tissue box nearby to get yourself cleaned up afterward. However, if you're wondering why you have to deal with liquid leaving your nostrils at the same time as your eyes, there's a pretty simple explanation. 

Healthline states that the body has a natural drainage system from the tear ducts to the nose cavity that gets activated when you cry. Although tears leave your body externally, they are also shuttled internally through the nasal cavity. There, they combine with mucus to form the snot that exits your nostrils.

If you find that you get pretty stuffed up when you cry, it's important that you clear your nasal passages in a certain way so as not to make the situation worse. The Guardian explains that blowing your nose too hard can lead to blood vessels popping and excess pressure in your sinuses. You'll want to clear out the tear-and-mucus mixture gently, ideally blowing through one nostril first and then the other. If you still feel blocked up after blowing, give a nasal douche with a saline solution a try to really clear things out. You can purchase one at your local pharmacy.