Why Does Crying Make Your Nose Run?

You can get a runny nose (rhinorrhea) for a lot of reasons. In most cases, it’s because of mucus buildup in your nasal cavity or sinuses due to a trigger or allergen. Your nose then fills up with excess mucus that drains through your nostrils. But there are plenty of other triggers that might cause your nose to run, including your daily habits, your health, and even your meals. When you cry, tears drain out of your tear ducts — which are located underneath the lids of your eyes — and these tears pass into your nasal cavity. There, they drip down the inside of your nose, mixing with mucus and any other substances in your nose like allergens or blood, and out through the openings of your nostrils. So despite what you might think, the fluid running from your nose when you cry is not just mucus — it’s tears and whatever else is in your nose at the time. Hot and/or spicy foods can also stimulate receptors that cause mucus and fluid to run out of your nose. Finally, your nose will run when you’re cold because your nose heats up and moisturizes the air you breathe into your lungs, and when you breathe in cold air, your nasal tissues create more mucus and fluid that has to drain. A runny nose can be triggered by numerous things, and almost all of them have some kind of protective effect on the body.