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Julia Kizhner
Julia Kizhner, Physician Assistant
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 1126
Experience:  7 years experience working in Primary Care as well as Gastroenterology, Sleep Medicine & Weight Loss
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Why as we age, does our nose run while eating It happened

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Why as we age, does our nose run while eating? It happened to my Mom, and WOW, now it is happening to me?

Hello and thank you for your question.


Believe it or not but runny nose while one is eating is one of the most common complaints and questions I hear in my practice. Usually the discharge is clear, there is no nasal congestion, no headaches, and symptoms are worse during eating. Somehow food smell triggers a response in the nose which causes runny nose.


Unfortunately no mater how many nasal sprays are tried, nothing really helps. There is a theory that watery eyes are actually due to the dryness and using artificial tears improves symptoms. I have suggested that my patients use saline nasal rinses as the same theory can apply to nasal symptoms. Sometimes it helps with symptoms, sometimes it doesn't.


If you have symptoms such as watery eyes, sneezing, coughing, then your symptoms can be related to allergies. Then, medications like Claritin or Zyrtec and a nasal steroid spray can improve your symptoms.


I hope you find this information helpful. If you need any clarification or have any additional questions, please let me know and I will be glad to assist you further.

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Best wishes,


Customer: replied 6 years ago.
It seems to be an age related problem. Why is that?

you are absolutely correct, it is age related. I work in internal medicine clinic with Veterans and see this problem in people as they do get older.

I dont think there is a specific cause for why it happens. Its not related to allergies, not related to hormones (as it happens in men and women). I wish there was an answer as to why it happens. One of the theories, as I've described above, is dryness in the mucosa of the nasal passages which causes irritation and discharge. However, this has not been proven. Another possibilities is the brain's response to smell. Certain smells trigger a response that causes clear nasal discharge. Otherwise, I am afraid there is no specific answer to your question as to why it happens.


Please let me know if you have any other questions. I am here to assist you further. I do need to step away from the computer for the next 30-45 minutes, however, will get back to you with any follow-up questions you might have.

If you are satisfied with the answer, please click the green "Accept" button.



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