Learn About Anosmia

What is the definition of Anosmia?

Impaired smell is the partial or total loss or abnormal perception of the sense of smell.

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What are the alternative names for Anosmia?

Loss of smell; Anosmia; Hyposmia; Parosmia; Dysosmia

What is some background information about Anosmia?

The loss of smell can occur with conditions that prevent air from reaching smell receptors located high in the nose, or loss of or injury to the smell receptors. Loss of smell is not serious, but can sometimes be a sign of a nervous system condition.

Temporary loss of the sense of smell is common with colds and nasal allergies, such as hay fever (allergic rhinitis). It may occur after a viral illness.

Some loss of smell occurs with aging. In most cases, there is no clear cause, and there is no treatment.

The sense of smell also enhances your ability to taste. Many people who lose their sense of smell also complain that they lose their sense of taste. Most can still tell between salty, sweet, sour, and bitter tastes, which are sensed on the tongue. They may not be able to tell between other flavors. Some spices (such as pepper) may affect the nerves of the face. You may feel rather than smell them.

What are the causes of Anosmia?

Loss of smell can be caused by:

  • Medicines that change or decrease the ability to detect odors, such as amphetamines, estrogen, naphazoline, trifluoperazine, long-term use of nasal decongestants, reserpine, and possibly zinc-based products
  • Blockage of the nose due to nasal polyps, nasal septal deformities, and nasal tumors
  • Infections in nose, throat, or sinuses
  • Allergies
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Dementia or other neurological problems
  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Head injury or nasal or sinus surgery
  • Radiation therapy to head or face
How do I perform a home exam for a Anosmia?

Treating the cause of the problem may correct the lost sense of smell. Treatment can include:

  • Antihistamines (if the condition is due to an allergy)
  • Changes in medicine
  • Surgery to correct blockages
  • Treatment of other disorders
  • Olfactory retraining therapy using familiar odors can help improve the sense of smell in a minority of patients

Avoid using too many nasal decongestants, which can lead to repeated nasal congestion.

If you lose your sense of smell, you may have changes in taste. Adding highly seasoned foods to your diet can help stimulate the taste sensations that you still have.

Improve your safety at home by using smoke detectors and electric appliances instead of gas appliances. You may not be able to smell gas if there is a leak. Or, install equipment that detects gas fumes in the home. People with smell loss should label when food items were opened to prevent eating spoiled food.

There is no treatment for loss of smell due to aging.

If you have a loss of smell due to a recent upper respiratory infection, be patient. The sense of smell may return to normal without treatment.

When should I contact a medical professional for Anosmia?

Contact your health care provider if:

  • The loss of smell continues or is getting worse.
  • You have other unexplained symptoms.
What should I expect during a doctor appointment?

The provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your medical history and current symptoms. Questions may include:

  • When did this problem develop?
  • Are all odors affected or only some? Is your sense of taste affected?
  • Do you have cold or allergy symptoms?
  • What medicines do you take?
  • Do you have any other symptoms?

The provider will look at and around your nose. Tests that may be performed include:

  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • Nasal endoscopy
  • Olfactory nerve testing
  • Smell testing

If the loss of sense of smell is caused by a stuffy nose (nasal congestion), decongestants or antihistamines may be prescribed.

Other treatments for a stuffy nose may include:

  • A vaporizer or humidifier may help keep mucus loose and moving.
  • Steroid nasal sprays or pills may be recommended.
  • Vitamin A may be given by mouth or as a shot.
  • Nasal steroid sprays may be prescribed.
Who are the top Anosmia Local Doctors?
Elite
Highly rated in
21
conditions
Otolaryngology

Medical University of South Carolina Health System

Rutledge Tower

135 Rutledge Ave 
Charleston, SC 29425

Zachary Soler is an Otolaryngologist in Charleston, South Carolina. Dr. Soler has been practicing medicine for over 22 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Anosmia. He is also highly rated in 21 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Chronic Rhinosinusitis with Nasal Polyps, Sinusitis, Nasal Polyps, and Anosmia. He is licensed to treat patients in Oregon and South Carolina. Dr. Soler is currently accepting new patients.

Elite
Highly rated in
17
conditions
Otolaryngology

Stanford Health Care

Cranial Base Center

801 Welch Rd 
Palo Alto, CA 94304

Zara Patel is an Otolaryngologist in Palo Alto, California. Dr. Patel has been practicing medicine for over 17 years and is rated as an Elite doctor by MediFind in the treatment of Anosmia. She is also highly rated in 17 other conditions, according to our data. Her top areas of expertise are Anosmia, Sinusitis, Chronic Rhinosinusitis with Nasal Polyps, and Pituitary Tumor. She is licensed to treat patients in Georgia, New York, and California. Dr. Patel is currently accepting new patients.

 
 
 
 
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Learn more
Elite
Highly rated in
13
conditions

Smell And Taste Clinic, TU Dresden

Dresden, SN, DE 

Thomas Hummel is in Dresden, Germany. Hummel is rated as an Elite expert by MediFind in the treatment of Anosmia. He is also highly rated in 13 other conditions, according to our data. His top areas of expertise are Anosmia, Sinusitis, Nasal Polyps, and Varicose Veins.

What are the latest Anosmia Clinical Trials?
The Study of Quadruple Therapy Intranasal Insulin, Zinc, Gabapentin, Ice Cube Stimulation for Post Covid-19 Smell and Taste Dysfunctions
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Clinical Outcomes of Olfactory Training for Treatment of Olfactory Dysfunction After COVID-19
What are the Latest Advances for Anosmia?
Homeopathy for COVID-19 in primary care: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial (COVID-Simile study).
Successful pregnancy and delivery after a vitrified-warmed embryo transfer in a woman with Kallmann syndrome: A case report and literature review.
Tired of the same old research?
Check Latest Advances
Recovery of anosmia in hamsters infected with SARS-CoV-2 is correlated with repair of the olfactory epithelium.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date : August 31, 2021
Published By : Josef Shargorodsky, MD, MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Baloh RW, Jen JC. Smell and taste. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 399.

Whitcroft KL, Hummel T. Olfactory function and dysfunction. In: Flint PW, Francis HW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 36.