Q: I sense an odor within my nose; it smells like a dirty ash tray. I use CPAP for sleep apnea. Could this be the cause or could the odor be from a sinus infection?
A: Using CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) for sleep apnea can lead to nasal dryness and crusting and sometimes an abnormal odor. The humidifier on the CPAP machine helps, but is not always enough. Performing nasal irrigation to clean out the nose in the morning may alleviate your symptoms.
However, multiple causes of abnormal smell in the nose are possible. The most common causes are nasal or sinus infections.
Less common causes include these:
- Dental problems
- Head injury
- Chemical exposure
- Vitamin deficiency
- Tumors of the nose, nasopharynx (uppermost part of the pharynx) or sinuses
- Certain medications
- Partial complex seizures (a type of epileptic seizure)
If nasal irrigation to clean out your nose does not take the smell away, call your doctor's office for advice and to arrange an appointment. Your doctor might refer you to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist if the problem persists.
David Vernick, M.D., is assistant clinical professor of otology and laryngology at Harvard Medical School and interim chief of the Division of Otology and Laryngology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
be well, feel better
Spring cleaning can help you drop the pounds and keep them off.
Talks every man must have with his doctor.
Follow these tips to kick any bad habit.
You don't need heavy weights for a great workout. You just need a great workout for the weights you have. That's why I created this 20-minute, fat-shredding routine that you can do with just a pair of 5- or 10-pound dumbbells. The best way to describe it: gut-busting.
It's totally possible to rediscover that zest and optimism you felt when you were younger.
Strong social connections are good for your health. Take steps to nurture existing friendships as well as to expand your social circle.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in U.S. women. Here's what you need to know.
Busy women share their tips for staying mentally and physically energized.