Bad smelling mucus in nose

Bad smelling mucus in the nose – Causes

It’s common to sometimes experience an unpleasant nasal odor. However, a number of ailments, such as those that affect the mouth, nasal passages, and sinuses, can result in a foul odor that appears to emanate from the interior of the nose.

The majority of illnesses that make your nose smell awful are not fatal. A person’s quality of life may be significantly impacted by a strong or persistent odor, which may necessitate medical care.

This article discusses the causes, remedies, and preventative measures for nasal odor.

What causes bad-smelling mucus in my nose?

There are many things that can cause the mucus in your nose to smell bad. Some of these include:

Sinus infection

If you’re wondering what sinuses are, they are hollow areas within the bones of your forehead, cheekbones, and the area between your eyes. They create mucus, which keeps your nose’s interior moist.

This offers defense against pollutants, allergies, and dust. Sinuses are normally filled with air, but they can get clogged for a variety of reasons.

A sinus infection, also known as sinusitis or rhinosinusitis, is a swelling, inflammation, and infection of the nasal passages or the nasal cavities. When this occurs, there is an accumulation of fluid in the sinuses, which can encourage the growth of bacteria and result in a sinus infection.

Sinus infection is seen as one of the commonest causes of a bad smelling mucus. Seek treatment for your sinus infection as soon as possible.

Postnasal drip

Postnasal drip is indicated by smelly nasal mucus, especially if it thickens and seems to be dripping continuously down the back of your throat. Mucus can thicken as a result of a cold, the flu, an allergy, or a sinus infection, making it more difficult for it to flow normally.

Postnasal drip may start out lightly, without any unpleasant odor or effects on breathing. But you should visit a doctor if the odor gets worse and you start to wheeze. Seek medical assistance if you have a postnasal drip for more than 10 days.

The other symptoms of postnasal drip include a sore throat, coughing (particularly at night), and frequent swallowing of mucus.

Sometimes, mucus that isn’t properly draining can accumulate in the middle ear, resulting in ear pain and infection.

When you blow your nose, if there is blood, you most likely have dry mucus and have been blowing your nose vigorously. If it persists, you need to consult a doctor right away. It might just be a scratch inside your nose or an indication of an infection, but it’s better to find out as soon as possible if it’s something more serious.

It’s beneficial to stay hydrated and use a saline nose spray. Additionally, sleeping with your head slightly raised and moistening your nasal cavity with a humidifier, vaporizer, or nasal saline solution may help.

Nasal polyps

Soft, noncancerous growths called nasal polyps can develop on the sinus or nasal cavity wall. These tiny growths, which resemble teardrops, develop as a result of ongoing inflammation. Your chances of getting nasal polyps rise if you have asthma, allergies, or recurring sinus infections.

A foul odor in your nose (characterized by bad smelling mucus) or a significantly diminished sense of taste and smell are potential or actual signs of nasal polyps. Since nasal polyps are frequently very small, you might not even be aware of their presence. Your respiration might not be impacted. Large polyps do, however, occasionally occur.

Nasal polyps often have an unpleasant odor, which may be brought on by fluid accumulation inside the polyps. The fluid is produced by the mucous membrane’s wet lining, which also serves to moisturize your respiratory system and prevent dust and other foreign objects from getting into your lungs.

With the use of prescription corticosteroids, which can decrease polyps and lessen inflammation, nasal polyps are frequently successfully managed. Managing the underlying causes of polyps, such as allergies, infections, or asthma, is also crucial.

Endoscopic surgery may be required in more severe circumstances. During this treatment, the doctor threads an endoscope, a thin scope with a microscopic lens on one end, through the sinuses and nasal cavities.

Polyps and other obstacles that can be obstructing airflow can be removed with the endoscope.

Tooth decay

An accumulation of bacteria on a tooth can cause the surface to erode. This is dental caries. Both foul breath and an unpleasant odor may result from the bacterial buildup in your nose.

The best method to stop tooth decay and gum issues is to practice good oral hygiene, which includes brushing your teeth, flossing every day, and scheduling routine dental visits.

Tonsil stones

Tonsil stones are little particles that can occasionally form as the debris hardens. Tonsil stones can provide food for bacteria, which leaves your mouth and mucus from your nose smelling foul and giving you a bad taste.

Tonsil stones are more common in persons with poor oral hygiene and abnormally large tonsils, but it’s crucial to remember that lots of people with good dental hygiene also have tonsil stones.

Keeping your mouth clean and drinking plenty of water will help lower your risk of developing bacterial accumulation. There are times when tonsil stones can be removed by gargling or flushing the tonsils with water. Tonsillectomy, radio waves, or lasers may be utilized to treat this problem when it is severe.

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD)

Loss of kidney function is a gradual symptom of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Your kidneys perform a number of functions, one of which is to filter waste materials from your blood for elimination from the body through urine. Waste products may accumulate in the body if the kidneys are not functioning properly.

You might detect an ammonia-like smell coming from those substances in the back of your nose. A metallic or ammonia-like taste in your mouth is also possible. This progression often happens only when CKD has reached stages 4 or 5.

A fresh ammonia smell won’t likely be the first indicator of kidney disease at this time because you’ll likely also be experiencing other symptoms including kidney pain, changes in urine color, and exhaustion.


This is one ailment that cannot be attributed to germs or any other real source of offensive odors. Your olfactory system hallucinates when you have phantosmia. You see odors that aren’t actually present but which you believe to be present in your nose or elsewhere.

Following a head injury or a respiratory infection, phantosmia might occur. Phantom scents in your nose can also be brought on by illnesses including Parkinson’s disease, brain tumors, or swollen sinuses.

Some individuals’ phantosmia goes away on their own. Others may have a reduction in the odor sense if the underlying cause of their phantosmia is treated.

Foreign objects

A foreign body stuck in the nasal canal may cause a bad odor and unilateral nasal discharge. This is especially prevalent in children and adults with intellectual disabilities.


The majority of reasons why you have bad smelling mucus in your nose are curable. It could be a one-time thing that you have nasty tonsils or mucus.

But if you frequently get sinus infections, you can experience these uncomfortable episodes repeatedly. How may you reduce your future risk of nasal and throat issues? Check out all the possible causes that are discussed in this article and have a conversation about it with your doctor.


Michael Sarfo
Content Creator at Wapomu

Michael Sarfo is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon. He is a content creator for and a writer for Wapomu

Dr. Ehoneah Obed is a registered pharmacist and a member of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ghana. He has a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and has experience working in a Tertiary hospital as well as various community pharmacies. He is also a software engineer interested in healthcare technologies.

His love for helping others motivates him to create content on an array of topics mostly relating to the health of people and also software engineering content.

He is knowledgeable in digital marketing, content marketing, and a host of other skills that make him versatile enough to uplift any team he joins.

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