Why Does Your Nose Run When You Cry?

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When we shed a few tears, they normally come out of our eyes and fall down our cheeks. When someone is crying quite hard, however, it often ends up being accompanied by a runny nose.

sad woman with tissue at nose
sad woman with tissue at nose (Image: PIKSEL/iStock/Getty Images)

Biology

The lacrimal glands near the corners of your eyes create tears, some of which empty from the eye and run down the face. The extra tears empty through the nasolacrimal ducts at the corners of the eyes and then run into the sinuses.

crying woman blowing her nose
crying woman blowing her nose (Image: Jose Luis Pelaez Inc./Blend Images/Getty Images)

Cause

When someone is crying especially hard, the copious amount of tears that runs into the nose through the nasolacrimal glands flows out of the nose, thereby causing a runny nose.

woman blowing her nose
woman blowing her nose (Image: petrunjela/iStock/Getty Images)

Composition

The tears coming from your eyes are just tears, but the fluid coming from your nose is a mixture of tears and mucus.

man blowing his nose
man blowing his nose (Image: Wavebreakmedia Ltd/Wavebreak Media/Getty Images)

Treatment

A healthy nose that isn’t suffering from other illnesses will usually return to its normal state soon after the person has ceased crying. There is no other treatment necessary.

smiling, happy woman
smiling, happy woman (Image: Jacob Wackerhausen/iStock/Getty Images)

Fun Fact

Our noses produce about a quart of mucus, or snot, each day.

woman blowing her nose
woman blowing her nose (Image: Vstock LLC/VStock/Getty Images)

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