Nasal reflexes: implications for exercise, breathing, and sex

Curr Allergy Asthma Rep. 2008 Apr;8(2):147-53. doi: 10.1007/s11882-008-0025-7.


Nasal patency, with both congestion and decongestion, is affected in a wide variety of reflexes. Stimuli leading to nasal reflexes include exercise; alterations of body position, pressure, and temperature; neurologic syndromes; and dentistry. As anticipated, the vagal and trigeminal systems are closely integrated through nasobronchial and bronchonasal reflexes. However, perhaps of greater pathophysiologic importance are the naso-hypopharyngeal-laryngeal reflexes that become aggravated during sinusitis. None other than Sigmund Freud saw deeply beyond the facial adornment and recognized the deeper sexual tensions that can regulate nasal functions and psychoanalytical status. Wine, women, and song are linked with airflow through the nose-the nose, which by any other name would still smell as sweetly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Nasal Mucosa / physiology*
  • Nasal Obstruction / physiopathology
  • Nose / physiology
  • Reflex
  • Rhinitis / physiopathology*
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Smell
  • Sympathetic Nervous System / physiology*