The Reason You Have A Funky Smell In Your Nose

If you've been picking up on a foul odor but can't quite seem to pinpoint where it's coming from, it may not be coming from an external source. You've taken out the trash and there's no spoiled food in the fridge, so what's responsible for that funky smell lingering inside your nose?

A bad smell in the nose may be temporary if it's related to an acute case of sinusitis or a sinus infection, according to experts at Cawthra Dental. Usually resolving on its own within three to eight weeks, the unpleasant combination of congestion, nasal discharge, and sour breath that characterizes a sinus infection can leave one with a not-so-pleasant aroma in their nose.

However, that funky smell could also be due to an ongoing health condition, such as chronic sinusitis. But that's not all. People diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may also experience a bad smell inside the nose due to stomach acid reversing its way back through the esophagus, explains the Mayo Clinic.

Nasal polyps and oral health problems

Another potential cause of a bad smell that follows you around is nasal polyps, reports Healthline. Those with asthma or allergies may be particularly susceptible to these benign growths that take up residence within the nasal cavity. While odor may not be a symptom experienced by every person with nasal polyps, those who do experience it may have an accumulation of fluid within these raindrop-shaped growths. While treatment options are available, many people find that nasal polyps often come back (via Mayo Clinic).

Although not directly related to the nose, certain oral health conditions could also be the reason for that funky smell, such as cavities, gum disease, and infection. The reason is that tooth decay-related bacteria can give off stinky gasses, which can reach up into the nose, explains Cawthra Dental. Speaking of things in the mouth that can give off a bad taste and smell, so can tonsil stones. Small in size, tonsil stones develop due to a buildup of hardened materials, such as dead cells, food remnants, and more. Tonsil stones can make a tasty meal for bacteria, resulting in foul odor.

Ghost smells, kidney disease, and medications

What's also a possibility is that there isn't actually any smell present at all. Wait, what? Yes. Medically referred to as phantosmia, those with the condition perceive certain smells that their olfactory system has led them to believe are there, when there is no actual scent present (via Healthline). Associated with sinus infections, epilepsy, stroke, and the common cold, most people pick up on burning, chemical, metallic, or rotting smells (per Cawthra Dental). Phantosmia has also been linked with brain tumors, head injuries, and Parkinson's disease.

In more serious cases, advanced cases of chronic kidney disease could be contributing to a funky smell in the nose. This can occur when the kidneys fail to take waste out from the bloodstream. As the waste remains and begins to collect, it can give off a scent similar to that of ammonia.

However, not all sour smells lacking a clear source are automatically related to a health condition. Sometimes, it may be a product of certain lifestyle choices, such as smoking, which can mess with one's sense of smell. Alternatively, a continuously funky smell in the nose could be a side effect of certain medications, such as amphetamines or vasodilator drugs like nitrates.