Loss of Smell (Anosmia)

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Overview

Anosmia is a complete or partial loss of one’s sense to smell. Depending on the conditions, this loss of smell might be transient or permanent. Allergies and the common cold may irritate the nasal mucosa, resulting in a temporary loss of smell.

Severe brain or nerve problems like head trauma or brain tumors may affect one’s ability to smell indefinite. Anosmia is a condition that may develop as individuals age.

Although anosmia is seldom fatal, it may have a major influence on a person’s overall quality of life. Anosmia patients may lose interest in eating since they are unable to taste it sufficiently. As a consequence, weight loss or malnutrition may occur. Anosmia may induce unhappiness since it hinders the ability to smell or taste delicious things that might give comfort.

The sense of smell is critical for general health and nutrition, since diminishing feelings may result in decreased appetite and malnutrition, which is particularly prevalent in the elderly. Other health concerns may arise as a result of a diminished sense of smell. Individuals with anosmia may inadvertently ingest soured or rancid meals due to their inability to recognize aromas indicative of deterioration. Additionally, those who suffer from anosmia may be unaware that they are inhaling hazardous, filthy, or smoke-filled air.

Generally, treating the underlying issue will help restore the sense of smell. Antibiotics, for example, may assist in the treatment of sinusitis and related symptoms. If some medicines are impairing the sense of smell, switching medications may help alleviate the anosmia symptoms. If you have nasal polyps or another kind of blockage, surgery may be necessary. Your healthcare practitioner can help you determine whether or not there are any underlying concerns and may recommend the appropriate treatment.

Avoiding dehydrating meals and beverages such as caffeinated beverages and alcoholic beverages is important for preventing the bad smell in your nose. Taking antihistamines or decongestants to relieve nose or sinus irritation help in case of anosmia.

Causes

A congested nose caused by a cold is a typical cause of a temporary, transient loss of smell that might last for days. Another frequent reason for congested nasal passages is a polyp or a nasal fracture, which obstructs the airways. Normal aging, especially beyond the age of 60, might result in the loss of smell. Sinus infection is the most common cause of loss of smell. Sinus infection is also associated with the complaint of a bad smell in the nose. Cold also results in loss of smell and taste.

In the nose and a location on the upper neck, there are several odor receptor-carrying cells. Each time they detect a scent, these smell receptors transmit a signal to the brain. The brain then distinguishes the different scents. Any difficulty with this process, such as a blockage, inflammation, stuffy nose, nerve injury, or an irregularity in brain function, may impair the ability to smell appropriate.

Following are the conditions that cause the issues with the inner lining of the nose along with congestion:

·         Acute as well as chronic sinusitis

·         Common cold

·         Covid 19

·         Allergic rhinitis i.e. hay fever

·         Smoking

·         Influenza

The following are conditions that cause loss of smell due to blockage or obstruction of airflow:

·         Tumors

·         Nasal polyps

·         Deviated septum

The conditions that damage the nerves or brain’s ability to detect smell include:

·         Alzheimer’s disease

·         Diabetes

·         Aging

·         Multiple sclerosis

·         Parkinson’s disease

·         Traumatic brain injury

·         Huntington’s disease

·         Rhinoplasty

The sense of smell may return to normal within a few weeks or months.

Congenital anosmia is a disorder for which there is currently no known treatment. Anosmia, on the other hand, is a condition that often resolves on its own. In the vast majority of cases, your sense of smell will return after the underlying issue has been remedied.

Treatment of the underlying condition may be useful. If you have sinusitis or nasal polyps, for example, using steroid nasal sprays or drops may be therapeutic.

Certain individuals may benefit from a process called olfactory conditioning.

When to see a doctor

Anosmia induced by flu, colds, and infections often resolve within a few days after beginning therapy. If your anosmia continues, you should consult with a medical expert. If you notice that you have lost your sense of smell, see a doctor. Consult your doctor if you are experiencing depression. Your doctor may recommend that you see an ENT specialist. Loss of smell should be communicated to the professional for avoiding the consequences.