Loss of Smell

What is Anosmia?

Anosmia refers to the loss of the sense of smell. Mouth and nose specialists report that our ability to smell is at its peak between the ages of 30 to 60 and that we usually start losing our sense of smell after the age of 60. Women seem to have a better sense of smell than men do.

What are its causes and concerns?

We lose our sense of smell when we have an underdeveloped chemical sensing system, which does not release the molecules that send signals to the part of the brain where odours are identified. The smell nerve is located in a patch of tissue in the uppermost part of the nose. It is a complicated nerve system connected directly to the brain. If it is damaged or underdeveloped, one loses one’s sense of smell. Some babies are born without a sense of smell. 

Following are some reasons why Anosmia could happen:

  • Severe upper respiratory infections
  • Severe injuries to the upper part of the nose
  • Head injuries
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Inhaling chemicals like pesticides or ammonia for extended periods (over many years)
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Polyps in the sinus cavities or nasal passages
  • Some prescription medications
  • Some illegal drugs
  • Certain dental problems
  • Colds and allergies
  • Certain diseases of the central nervous system (Alzheimer’s)
  • Radiation therapy (which is performed on the neck or head)

What are its symptoms?

The sense of smell is linked to the sense of taste. Many people who lose their sense of smell, or those born without a sense of smell, also lose their ability to taste. According to scientists, this is because people “taste” food by the smell, texture and temperature. We can recognise foods or beverages by their smell. For example – coffee has a distinctive aroma that is enjoyed as much as its taste.

If the following symptoms accompany Anosmia, the condition should be evaluated by a nose and mouth specialist:

  • Inability to taste
  • Stuffy nose and congestion
  • Nosebleeds
  • Weight loss
  • Headaches
  • Persistent sneezing, itchy watery eyes and nasal drainage 

What are the solutions and treatment options?

The treatment for Anosmia is cause-dependent, which is why the doctor takes a complete medical history and performs a thorough physical examination. Suppose Anosmia is accompanied by a common cold, severe upper respiratory infections and allergies. In that case, you should regain your sense of smell once the illness clears. Some courses of treatment that could be followed are:

  • If the condition is caused due to allergies, the doctor may administer medication or allergy desensitization shots. There is some history of success in this area
  • If the Anosmia is caused due to polyps, surgical removal may restore the sense of smell

Sometimes, people who have lost their sense of smell may regain it without any explanation. This may be because of our body’s ability to regenerate new cells in the central nervous system, which leads to the renewal of the senses of smell and taste. However, some people lose their sense of smell permanently.

In conclusion

If you or someone you love are experiencing Anosmia and associated symptoms and are concerned about the seriousness of your condition, book an appointment with us today. Our nose and mouth specialist will help you find a solution to your problem.

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