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Thread: Unable to sneeze?!

  1. #1

    Unable to sneeze?!

    Hi folks. I know this will sound extremely bizarre, but it has been bugging me for a good number of months and I'm interested in seeing if anyone is experiencing the same problem and may have a solution or suggestions.

    I'm 26 and in good health. But lately, I'm having difficulty completing sneezes, and the sneeze always takes a week or two to finally come out.

    It all started back in May last year when I went to my bedroom mirror and rubbed my eyes (I think I was just trying to get some dirt out of them). A couple of seconds later, my eyes started stinging quite badly for at least a minute. After that, every time I felt a sneeze coming on, it would never come out. This went on for about two weeks, and I experienced quite bad headaches and pressure in my head. The headaches/pressure never stayed in the same place; it always moved around my head and felt like someone had tied a tight band around my head. After about two weeks, I finally sneezed and my symptoms went away. I was finally back to sneezing normally.

    A few months later, I did the same thing - rubbed my eyes at my mirror and my eyes started stinging like crazy, and was unable to sneeze for the next two weeks, accompanied by headaches/pressure, as well as having trouble concentrating and keeping my eyes open, especially in the evening. Again, once I finally sneezed, those symptoms disappeared.

    After that, I decided to avoid rubbing my eyes too often. Unfortunately, a few months later, it started happening again, but I hadn't been touching my eyes this time. It's almost as though it came on randomly. I kept feeling the urge to sneeze, but it never came out. For about a week, I once again experienced the headaches/pressure/tiredness, which all went away when the sneeze came out.

    Sadly, it has worsened. Since December last year, I have been experiencing the inability to sneeze (as well as the headaches/pressure) on a fortnightly basis, and I think it's starting to happen more and more often now. For example, I managed to sneeze last weekend, but it was replaced with another trapped sneeze the next day.

    I have tried forcing myself to sneeze by sniffing pepper, as well as putting a pointy tissue up my nostrils and moving it about until I sneeze. Although that provides temporary relief from the symptoms, they quickly return. Only the originally trapped sneeze relieves the symptoms when it finally decides to come out.

    Recently, I finally decided to see a doctor about this, and said said it's probably allergy-related, so she gave me a nose spray. I've been taking this for a few weeks now and it's not helped. Taking antihistamines doesn't seem to work either. I also took the liberty of thoroughly cleaning and vacuuming my bedroom as I think I have a dust allergy, but I'm still puzzled as to why this suddenly started happening to me.

    I've found this problem on a few other forum threads out there, and the responses have been very interesting. Most people have said it could be psychological, but some people have said it could be a damaged nerve (which can take a long time to heal), and someone even said it could be a brain tumour - his son had the same problem and it turned out to be a brain tumour. Once the tumour was removed, he could sneeze normally again.

    I've not been to an ENT specialist about this yet, simply because I'm not sure how he/she would be able to treat the apparent inability to sneeze.

    This week, I've been feeling awful and downright miserable. The headaches/pressure was hard to bear, I've been struggling to keep my eyes open, and I even experienced burning nostrils and slight pressure in my cheeks underneath my eyes. However, I'm not sure if that's a side effect of the nose spray or too much tickling the insides of my nostrils with a tissue.

    What do you folks think? I'm starting to get tired of dealing with this extremely annoying problem.
    Last edited by Stu380; 22-08-17 at 20:39.

  2. #2

    Re: Unable to sneeze?!

    Bump. Due to the bizarre nature of my "condition", it's no surprise that this thread has received over 200 views and no replies.

    Anyway, just letting you know that it's been nearly 4 months and I'm still exactly the same. I actually wasn't too bad in the months of May and June, but I've been suffering an inability to sneeze naturally since mid July, accompanied by intense headaches/head pressure, as well as an occasional tight chest and a feeling of fullness in my ears. Once again, forcing myself to sneeze by tickling the inside of my nose with a tissue hasn't worked at all - only the originally trapped sneeze will relieve my symptoms. It's been almost 3 weeks and I still haven't sneezed naturally. I repeatedly feel the sneeze sensation coming on, but it never completes.

    Can anyone help? I'm extremely worried that this is going to start causing damage to my body, especially my brain and chest. And it's ruining my life.

  3. #3

    Re: Unable to sneeze?!

    You should try cleansing your sinuses, eucalyptus, steam, any other methods you know of that clear sinuses. I am no doctor but have researched the human body and experienced many things for at least 8 years, I guarantee this is a sign of clogged up sinuses(nothing serious or anything to stress about). I'm unaware if you're still going through this but I assure you cleansing your sinuses will work. Keep in mind also, climate is constantly changing, it is easy for sinuses to meet a struggle with it here and there!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2018

    Re: Unable to sneeze?!

    Just curious to see if you ever got any relief, I've had a similar situation arises but just noticed I'm having trouble sneezing. And most of the pain in my head is on the left side.

  5. #5

    Re: Unable to sneeze?!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tek View Post
    Just curious to see if you ever got any relief, I've had a similar situation arises but just noticed I'm having trouble sneezing. And most of the pain in my head is on the left side.
    Apologies for the late reply.

    I managed to sneeze back in December last year, and that was after I finally saw an ENT specialist, who gave me some nortriptyline tablets to help with the head pressure. Unfortunately, since last month, it's happened again - I can't sneeze naturally, and I asked for some more of those tablets, and they've not worked.

  6. #6

    Re: Unable to sneeze?!

    I have been experiencing the same thing, and that for the last 10 years or so already (I am 46 now). I cannot bring to completion certain sneeze reflexes, with the effect that, instead of sneezing out all the accumulated dirt and air, it gets congested somewhere in my head, and causes headache, I am unable to concentrate, in bad mood etc. This takes up to 3 to even 5 days (sometimes only 1 or 2 days), until it "kind of falls down" or i can sneeze again. And then it happens again, can be next day, or a few days later. I know it is partly psychiatric or psychological, as the inability to complete a sneeze reflex happens often when I am in conversation with / surrounded by people.
    On average it impacts me ~2 days / week, and totally impacts my life and my work. I have been to a few doctors, they have no clue. I live in Berlin and would really love to find someone who can help me. I don't believe pills will help. But I am wondering if some operation is possible to avoid having this accumulated dirt being stuck in my head for days, maybe by make my nose-ways larger or something. Who can help me?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2017

    Re: Unable to sneeze?!

    This just started happening to me. I had sinusitis 3 weeks ago, the week after I had a cold, and then now out of nowhere I'm not able to sneeze at all. I can feel the tickle in the nostril but then it disappears.

    Being that I recently had a sickness I'm hoping its because I was blowing my nose too much (ears kept getting blocked too). Or maybe its just anxiety in the end.

  8. #8

    Re: Unable to sneeze?!

    Hello everyone,

    I have experienced the same inability to complete the sneeze for the last five years; it gets congested somewhere in my head and causes headaches.
    I want to ask you how the symptoms are going, and did anyone getting any improvement?

    I appreciate your help.
    Last edited by Mohammadali; 10-07-21 at 00:00.

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