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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Clogged nose after meals



Dear ENT expert,

I have a condition in which my nose gets stuffy or clogged after meals. At times, I do have a hard time swallowing food. I try blowing my nose, but nothing comes out. In order to unclogged my nose, I almost always have to use a Q-tip. On the Q-tip is very thick and large mucus. Once I am able to get the mucus out, my nose no longer feels stuffy.

I`ve been to 2 different ENT specialist and both have told me that I have a deviated septum on my left nostril. I understand that this condition will hinder normal breathing through my left nostril. However, I do not know or understand if my deviated septum is causing me to get a stuffy or clogged nose after meals and why the thick and large mucus.

I have been disappointed with the findings of both ENT specialist. I already know that I have a deviated septum, but they cannot tell me what is causing me to have a clogged nose after meals and the the thick mucus.

Please help.


Stuffed nose


Ordinarily, the nose will react to an unpleasant stimulus (such as tobacco smoke or car exhaust, for example) by getting a little stuffy and producing more mucus. This is a defense mechanism. Some people have this response after relatively innocuous stimuli, such as eating. It is called vasomotor rhinitis. There are a number of medicines (typically prescription nasal sprays) that might be helpful. This would require a return visit to a doctor. On the other hand, although it is less likely, perhaps you are reacting to a part of your meal. I`m sure you`ve already thought to look at the foods you eat, but people will often react to beer or wine by getting a stuffy nose.

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Response by:

Allen M Seiden, MD Allen M Seiden, MD
Professor of Otolaryngology, Director of Division of Rhinology and Sinus Disorders, Director of University Taste and Smell Center, Director of University Sinus and Allergy
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati