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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Smelly nose lining

10/04/2007

Question:

I am haveing a awful smelling nose at certain times abut not all the time. It smells like something rottening but noone else can smell it.

Answer:

This bad odor can represent an actual odor in your nose that might come from an infection.  Your best bet would be to see an ear, nose, and throat physician to rule out this possibility.  Sometimes scabs can develop in the nose, particularly if it gets too dry, and these can be associated with an unpleasant odor. 

It is also possible, since no one else detects this odor, that it represents a problem with your sense of smell.  Sometimes if someone loses their sense of smell, such as from a viral infection or head injury, this can be associated with an unpleasant phantom odor, that is an odor that occurs without any apparent environmental stimulation.  Again, your best bet is to see a doctor.

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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