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Dr. Dean

Why Does My Nose Run When I Eat?

Posting Date: 04/12/2000

Rosa: I have a silly and embarrassing problem. Every time I start to eat, I get a very runny nose. I don't even want to eat in front of other people anymore and you know how social eating can be.

All kinds of foods, liquid or solid, hot or cold cause my nose to run. Spicy food is a little worse, but anything will do it.

Dr. Dean: The reaction that we all have to spicy food is caused by the spices' stimulation of the nasal mucus membranes, the mouth, and the entire upper respiratory tract.



You, however, seem to have a bad case of vasomotor rhinitis. This is a nasal inflammation, but not an allergy.

You should see an otorhinolaryngologist -- an ear, nose, and throat doctor --who will don a headlamp and take a look up your nose with a tiny speculum for a closer view of the problem. If you do have vasomotor rhinitis, the doctor can fix you up with some nose drops.

You have a bad case that is embarrassing you and affecting the quality of your life, so don't take no for an answer if your health plan tries to keep you from seeing a specialist. Scream and holler until they take care of you properly.