Putrid Nasal Polyps

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Someone or something smells whenever you enter the room. Before you begin pointing fingers, consider this.

Something Smells

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You self-consciously sniff your garments and bedding—perhaps washing several times. Could others be politely refraining from mentioning your malodor?

Then you blow your nose and work to dislodge a dark mass of dried mucus and blood. The odor seems to dissipate. Days later, the bad smell returns. You repeat the same suspicions, leading to another nasal mass. What’s going on?

You suspect they are relentless, though innocuous low-viscosity mucus (boogers), perhaps due to inadequate water consumption. One cause could be soft, painless, noncancerous growths on the mucous membrane of your nasal passages or sinuses. These nasal polyps may appear like tiny grapes. They can cluster or enlarge enough to impede breathing.

But when they ooze, the polyps can excrete putrid fluid that dries in your nasal passage. The smell dominates any external pleasant aromas.

Polyp Causes

Certain conditions trigger long-term nasal passage or sinus irritation and inflammation. Allergies or Infections may increase the risk of developing nasal polyps.

  • Asthma
  • Aspirin sensitivity
  • Allergic fungal sinusitis
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Churg-Strauss syndrome
  • Eosinophilic granulomatosis with polyangiitis
  • Vitamin D deficiency

Polyp Maintenance

If the polyps do not obstruct breathing, regular nasal maintenance can minimize the unpleasant smell. If tissue alone does not dislodge the hardened sticky masses, a moistened Q-Tip may be helpful. Saline nasal irrigation is another option.

  • Manage allergies and asthma.
  • Avoid nasal irritants.
  • Practice good hygiene.
  • Humidify your home.

So if a disturbing smell lingers despite good personal hygiene, examine your nose. And take comfort in knowing it’s your own private issue that does not disturb others. For serious conditions of inflammation, lingering sinusitis, or breathing obstruction, see a specialist in otolaryngology.

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