Loss of smell can be caused by a number of factors, however, partial loss is commonly attributed to the common cold. Other factors that can cause a loss of smell include nasal obstruction from polyps, abnormal nasal passages or a problem with the receptors that connect to the center of the brain that recognizes smell.
Ways people develop anosmia include:
Anosmia and taste are linked. Many individuals that lose their sense of smell or those who are born without a sense of smell, also lose their ability to taste. Scientists believe this is due to the fact that people “taste” food by the smell, texture and the temperature. In addition, many people are able to recognize their foods or beverages by smell. Coffee is a beverage that is not only enjoyed by taste, but also by smell.
If you have many symptoms and signs that accompany your anosmia, you should consider an evaluation from ear, nose and throat specialist. Symptoms to be concerned about include:
If you come in to see one of our competent ear, nose and throat specialists, he or she will have you do a scratch and sniff test (you scratch a card and sniff it). This allows the doctor to determine if the loss of smell is partially or completely gone. The doctor will also take a complete medical history and give you a thorough physical examination.
With certain conditions, such as the common cold, severe upper respiratory infections and allergies, you should regain your sense of smell after the illness clears. If allergies are causing the problem, the doctor uses medications or allergy-desensitizing shots to treat you. Some anti-allergy medications have been used to treat anosmia successfully. If the cause of the anosmia is polyps, surgical removal is an option to restore your sense of smell. On occasion, a person who has lost their sense of smell may regain it without any explanation as to why.
For some people, the body is able to regenerate new cells in the olfactory nervous system that lead to renewal of smell and taste. This would explain why people who have lost their sense of smell sometimes regain it with no explanation. However, some people lose the sense of smell permanently. If you or someone you love cannot smell and you are concerned about associated signs and symptoms, call for an appointment today. Let one of our ear, nose and throat specialists help you find a solution to your symptoms.
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