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Can’t Smell Anymore? Your Sinus Doctor Might Be Able to Help


They say to stop and smell the roses…but what if you can’t smell anymore? It’s called anosmia, and the name says it all: the complete loss of your sense of smell.  Find out if this is a natural occurrence, or if it means you may Need a sinus doctor’s help?.

The Loss of Smell Is Not to Be Sneezed At

Unless you live near a sewage treatment plant, you probably take your sense of smell for granted. But losing it can cause life to lose a lot of its flavor. Food becomes tasteless and loses its appeal, or a favourite perfume becomes irrelevant. Perhaps worst of all, important memories slip away.

Memory is often triggered by scent, meaning that the smell of apple pie, pine boughs, or the cologne worn by your first love won’t mean anything to you anymore.

Living on just four senses can even put you in danger, if you aren’t able to smell hazardous substances like gas or smoke.

What Causes Anosmia?

If things are beginning to lack an odor, and it’s not just because you have a cold or a stuffy nose, you may be suffering from anosmia. Our sense of smell develops throughout our life and is said to be strongest between the ages of 30 and 60 (this explains why small children often seem indifferent to bad smells).

As we get older, our sense of smell, much like other senses, begins to slowly diminish. While this is natural, a more sudden and complete loss of smell is not. It may be a sign of a more serious medical condition.

Anything that interferes with our olfactory (smelling) process – the nose’s ability to pick up on and process external scent molecules – can lead to a loss of smell.

Causes include:

  • Sinus infections
  • Allergies
  • Poor air quality
  • Nasal polyps (benign growths in the nose and sinuses)
  • Nerve damage from facial surgery or head trauma
  • Inhaling toxic chemicals
  • Snorting drugs like cocaine
  • Smoking
  • Certain prescribed medications such as antidepressants and heart medications
  • Diseases such as MS, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
  • Nutritional deficiency
  • Hormonal problems
  • Cancer radiation therapy for head and neck cancer

Treatment for Loss of Smell

If your loss of smell seems to be lasting more than a couple of weeks, consult your doctor. He or she will be able to look inside your nose to detect blockages or sinus infection that might be interfering with your natural ability to smell. You should also discuss any medications you are taking to see if they might be at fault.

At this point, treatment by ENT doctor who specializes in ear, nose and throat problems may be necessary to determine the root causes of the anosmia.

A CT scan may determine that a deeply entrenched sinus infection is to blame, and you need a course of antibiotics. If growths are present, surgery may be required to remove them.

Do You Need a Sinus Doctor to Help You Smell Again?

At Houston Sinus & Allergy, we see a variety of nasal and sinus issues that result in a loss of smell, as well as other stressful or painful situations, and we know how to provide long term relief.  If you’re experiencing difficulty in smelling or nasal breathing, Book an assessment with us, and let us help you breathe normally again.

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