ZocdocAnswersSometimes when I sleep, brown liquid pours out my nose and it burns. What could be the cause?

Question

Sometimes when I sleep, brown liquid pours out my nose and it burns. What could be the cause?

Afterwards i cant breathe because my nose is stopped up. I have to every once in a while blow my nose because i can still feel burning in my nose and more liquid comes out. I don't know what it is or what is causing it.

Answer

I am sorry to hear that you have a problem where you wake up in the middle of the night with a brown fluid coming out of your nose that burns, and it appropriately has you worried as to what might be going on. I am happy to give you some of my initial thoughts as to what might be going on, but I am definitely recommend that you make an appointment with an otolaryngologist or ENT (Ear Nose Throat) physician to get evaluated. They will be able to take a thorough history and perform a focused physical examination which is ultimately what you need to help find out what might be going on. They will likely perform a flexible nasopharyngoscopy and laryngoscopy to examine your nose, and throat down to your larynx (voice box). This is a fiberoptic scope exam which will let them examine your anatomy and look for any abnormalities. It is possible that you are suffering from bad laryngopharyngeal reflux (where stomach acid and contents reflux up into your throat) which can be made worse by lying flat at night. The acid can come up to the back of your nose, and even come out of your nose in bad cases. This would obviously burn, and give a sour poor taste in the back of your mouth. There are other things that might be going on as well including chronic sinusitis, which is why you should get evaluated by an ENT. Best of luck.

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