Physical Symptoms
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How Anxiety Affects Your Nose

Faiq Shaikh, M.D.
How Anxiety Affects Your Nose

Anxiety affects far more than just your mind. It's a very physical experience as well, and one that can have a host of unusual physical symptoms that often make it very difficult to go about your day to day life. Anyone that experiences anxiety knows how often their anxiety causes strange and distressing symptoms in one area of their body or another.

But what you may not know even if you have anxiety is that anxiety can affect your nose. While it's not the most common source of symptoms, your nose is yet another area of your body that anxiety can affect.

Anxiety and Nasal Symptoms

Anxiety is a condition that affects your hormones, your neurotransmitters, and your immune system. Every part of your body is affected, which is why it's not much of a surprise that anxiety can affect your nose as well. 

Nasal symptoms are tough, because there isn't any surefire way to know whether or not they're caused by anxiety or caused by a cold or allergies. But there are several ways that anxiety affects the nose, and these may play a role in your nasal comfort. The most common ways include:

This list isn't comprehensive either. Some people report that the inside of their nose itches when they have anxiety. Others claim that they experience nose pain, or a stuffy nose as a result of anxiety. Anxiety changes the way your body works, and one of the results is that strange physical symptoms become more common.

Anxiety and Nasal Tics

Anxiety doesn't just cause physical symptoms either. In some cases it can cause behaviors that lead to their own nose problems. For example, there are some people that develop a tic with anxiety where they need to rub their nose hard or squeeze it as a response to stress. This can actually cause nasal pain because the rubbing is too hard for the nose to handle.

There are others that are constantly touching their face when they're stressed, and this may also lead to problems as well. For example, acne around the nose may be more common in those with anxiety since they spend more time with their hands on their nose - an area that already is fairy ripe with bacteria. Clearly, the nose is affected by anxiety in more ways than initially thought.

How to Stop Nasal Anxiety Symptoms

When anxiety affects your nose, there are two steps to treatment. Remember, there is almost no way to confirm whether or not your nasal issues are the result of anxiety or the result of allergies, a cold, etc. Until you cure your anxiety, you should treat them like you would any other health condition, and talk to your doctor to get tips on what to for your specific nasal problems.

You can also start controlling your anxiety. Here are a few ways that may have added benefits on your nasal health.

These are a few quick fixes. Unfortunately, they will not solve the whole problem because as long as your anxiety still affects your body, your nasal symptoms will be the result.

Article Resources
  1. Annesi-Maesano, I., Beyer, A., Marmouz, F., Mathelier-Fusade, P., Vervloet, D. and Bauchau, V. (2006), Do patients with skin allergies have higher levels of anxiety than patients with allergic respiratory diseases? Results of a large-scale cross-sectional study in a French population. British Journal of Dermatology, 154: 1128-1136. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2133.2006.07186.x
  2. Thoren, C. ten, and F. Petermann. "Reviewing asthma and anxiety." Respiratory medicine 94.5 (2000): 409-415. 
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