Why Do My Sneezes Smell?

February 7, 2018


Why Do My Sneezes Smell?

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Imagine that you are with a group of friend and you want to sneeze. Right after the moment you finish your sneeze, a bad odor comes out, and everybody has to immediately cover their noises. Have you ever found yourself getting caught in that kind of situation? If yes, then this article is for you. Even if you find it’s bizarre to hear about stinky sneezes, this problem is real, and many people suffer from it.

If you have constantly ask yourself, “why do my sneezes smell,” this article will provide the answers you need.

Why do we sneeze?

Before answering the question “why do my sneezes smell,” let’s first take a look at sneezing in general.

Sometimes sneezing can cause embarrassment, especially when you are speaking with your friends, your clients or in the middle of a special meeting. However, sneezing is not something to eliminate. It’s actually very beneficial and natural.

Sneezing is an instinctive defensive act against unwanted intruders such as dirt, smoke, dust. Without sneezing foreign matters will come straight to your lungs and cause chaos there. Therefore, sneezing is inevitable. Follow HOW TO MAKE YOURSELF SNEEZE: TOP 9 INCREDIBLE WAYS for more tips and information about sneezing,

When dirt, pollen, or any unusual matters enter your nostril, a sudden feeling of tickling or irritating appears. It is when the sensors in our noses sense the danger and send the warning signal to our brain. Your brain will decode the signal and send back another signal to the body to prepare for the upcoming sneeze.

When the time comes, the cilia, the tiny hairlike organelles in our nose will take action, expelling the irritants. The process only lasts for a few seconds; however, a set of actions are done. Your eyes are closed when the tongue moves backward and facial muscles are ready to push what is inside your nose out.

Not only your face but your whole body reacts when you sneeze. Muscles in your belly, your chest, vocal cords, throat work together, making sneezing one of the most complex mechanism.

Furthermore, mucosal glands in the respiratory tract produce a certain amount of mucus before a sneeze. This mucus gathers dirt and other irritants together and wait for the body’s signal to be sent out.

There are some certain strange beliefs about sneezing. For instance, some people believe that the eyeballs will pop out or their hearts will stop during a sneeze. It’s true that the blood pressure will increase a bit because of the sneeze. But it doesn’t affect your heart or your eyeballs. For more information on this matter, please follow the article DOES YOUR HEART STOP WHEN YOU SNEEZE.

Not only the foreign particles are out but also water, mucus, and air are forced out your nose with incredible speed and force. The sneezes also contain germs and many microbes. That’s why sneezing is the quickest way for diseases to spread. The speed of a sneeze can be up to 100 miles per hour, and up to 100,000 germs are forced into the air [1].

Sneezing does not only serve as a defensive mechanism but also function as a cleansing tool for your nostril. In a study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania, it is clear that the cells inside the nose are rebooted after sneezing, so does the nasal environment. [2] If you are interesting in this matter, the article WHY DOES SNEEZING FEEL GOOD will give you better scientific proofs.  

What makes you sneeze?

What makes you sneeze
Sneezing is caused by irritants such as dust, dirt, and smoke.

Sneezing is caused by irritants such as dust, dirt, and smoke. Other than that, cold air, fresh onion, perfume, pepper could also trigger a sneeze. However, there are more to name what makes you sneeze.

Bright sunshine cause makes people sneeze sometimes. Allergies to pollen, cold and flu, nasal problems can also lead to a sneeze. Sometimes, sex and even eyebrow plucking cause sneezing too [3].

The article THINGS THAT MAKE YOU SNEEZE and WHY DO PEPPER MAKE YOU SNEEZE will give you more insights.

Is it normal when my sneezes smell?

There is a bigger problem with sneezing than the fact that it makes you feel embarrassed in public. That is some people can smell their sneeze. Normally, sneezing leaves no trace of smell. However, as soon as you notice any odor in your sneeze, you will start to wonder “is it normal to have smelly sneeze,” and “why do my sneezes smell.”

The answer is that it is not normal at all to have a smelly sneeze. You may suffer from stinky sneeze syndrome. Stinky sneeze syndrome is characterized by unpleasant odor after a sneeze. The stinky smell can linger around the sneeze for quite a while.

Stinky sneeze syndrome does not only make you, the person who sneezes feel embarrassed, but also the people around you, who can sense the smell, feel uncomfortable too.  

Now, if you have suffered from this syndrome, you may want to know the cause of it. Ask yourself “why do my sneezes smell” and look for the answer right below.

Why do my sneezes smell?

Why do my sneezes smell? What are the causes of smelly sneezes? The causes of stinky sneeze syndrome can be determined by the smell you sense. Let’s take a look.

Sweet smell

The sweet smell is one of the unusual smell that is hard to identify. Often, sweet smell indicates a bad health condition, which comes from diabetic ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis arises from the lack of insulin in your body plus the accumulation of sugar for a long time [4].

This condition is life-threatening. And sweet odor sneeze is one of the symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis. If you find yourself in this condition, contact your doctor for any immediate medical treatment.

Smoky smell

Smoky smell
As soon as you start smoking, your sneezes will have that smoky smell.

This one is a bit easier to understand. Don’t even ask yourself “why do my sneezes smell” when you are a smoker (even just a social one). As soon as you start smoking, your sneezes will have that smoky smell. Anything you smoke, from cigarette, tobacco, weed… can cause that smokey smell.

Ammonia smell

Ammonia smell? Seriously? But yes, some people notice that their sneezes smell like ammonia. This shows that they have suffered from diabetes, liver diseases, and kidney disorders. Sometimes, colitis and other intestinal diseases can cause ammonia smell too [5].

The best solution is to get in touch with your trusted doctor and have your body checked throughout.

Sour smell

Bad breath and gum disease can be the causes of the sour smell.

When we sneeze, mucus, water, air, and saliva are forced out through our noses. If you have bad breath, your saliva also have an unpleasant odor. That’s why when saliva is forced out with a sneeze; you can smell a light sour smell. This is also the most common cause of stinky sneeze syndrome.

Another cause of sour smell in your sneeze is gum disease. Gum disease is actually the inflammation of the gum, consisting of three stages: gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.[6] People who suffer from gum disease also suffer from bad breath, which is the primary cause of stinky sneeze syndrome. Unlike normal bad breath, bad breath from gum disease will not go away even after you brush your teeth.

Foul smell

Sinusitis, an inflammation in the sinus area, is what causes the foul smell of a sneeze. Sinus infection is a common disease that people often get. When you have a sinus infection, you will automatically have bad breath as well, which later leads to smelly sneezes.

The sinuses are small cavities behind the cheekbones and forehead. When they get infected, the chance of thriving bacteria, fungi and germs in the sinus area is higher.The nasal passages will then be filled with stale mucus, which causes the nasty smell.

Those are reasons to provide answers to the question “why do my sneezes smell.” Now it’s time for some solutions.

What to do when my sneezes smell?

How to handle the smelly sneezes? If your stinky sneezes result from gingivitis, sinus infection, diabetes, liver and kidney diseases, it’s advisable to get in touch with your doctor to find out a specific treatment and medication. However, if your stinky sneezes result from bad breath, the solutions are quite simple and easy to follow.

Bad breath is the leading cause of stinky sneeze syndrome. Once you notice this information, oral hygiene is essential. Maintaining a good oral hygiene practice is a must.

  • Brushing your teeth twice a day

Brushing your teeth at least twice a day will keep the bad breath away. It also helps prevent bacteria accumulation that can cause dental problems. If brushing doesn’t remove all of the food debris, you can use dental floss.

Brushing your teeth twice a day
Brushing your teeth at least twice a day will keep the bad breath away.
  • Scraping your tongue

Cleaning your tongue should be included in your oral hygiene practice. This will get rid of not only any leftovers of your food but also dead skin cells and bacteria that cause the bad smell.

  • Mouth Rinsing

Mouth Rinsing is an effective method to keep your mouth clean. Some people don’t like this technique very much; however, if you suffer from bad breath, it’s recommended to rinse your mouth daily with a good mouthwash.

  • No Smoking

Smoking is the direct cause of smoky smell sneezes. Chemicals from cigarette enter your mouth, lungs and respiratory tract and stay glue on the surfaces of those organs, causing bad breath and later smelly sneezes.

Smoking can also cause dry mouth. Dry mouth provides an ideal environment for harmful bacteria to thrive. Therefore, it’s essential to quit smoking if you want to main a good oral hygiene practice.

  • No Unhealthy Drinks

Alcoholic, sugar and carbonated beverages cause bad breath too. Drinks that contain sugar and are carbonated will dry out your mouth, giving a chance for bacteria to grow.

Beer, wine, and other alcoholic drinks enhance the dryness of your mouth. No wonder people who drink regularly suffer from bad breath and stinky sneeze syndrome. It’s not necessary to quit drinking once and for all, but you should limit the amount and frequency of those unhealthy drinks.

Bottom Line

So why do my sneezes smell? There are many causes of sneezes. Knowing the causes and how to deal with them will help you improve your nasal condition and have a better strategy to take care your health.

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