Losing your sense of smell is a medical condition known as anosmia. Anosmia is the complete or partial loss of sense of smell. It can make your life miserable because anosmia impedes your ability to smell scents. Infections, such as flu, are common causes of anosmia. It is also one of the symptoms of Coronavirus, along with loss of sense of taste. These conditions may cause temporary anosmia. Other serious issues, such as brain damage, can result in total loss of smell. People usually regain their sense of smell in a few days after recovering from the underlying condition. You may want to consult the Best ENT Specialist in Lahore for proper treatment.
Causes of anosmia
Loss of smell can occur due to several reasons. The cause of anosmia can determine the severity of the condition and the length of recovery. Inflammation or blockages in the nose can lead to loss of smell. The following causes may lead to anosmia:
- Old age
As we age, our sense of smell gets weak. It can occur due to worsening cognitive abilities, diminishing sensory cells in the nose, and lower nerve fibers in the part of your brain that processes smell, known as the olfactory bulb. It may become hard for aged people to differentiate between different odors.
- Nasal diseases
Congestion or swelling in the nose is a common symptom of many chronic nasal illnesses, such as nasal polyps, sinusitis, hay fever, sinonasal tumors, etc. These disrupt the air from going in and out of your body, hampering your capability to smell. They may also damage the passages between the brain and the nose. Such conditions can also damage the nerves in the part of your brain responsible for the sense of smell. If you are experiencing severe nasal problems, book an appointment with Dr. Zafar Mahmood (ENT Specialist) through oladoc to get proper treatment to avoid anosmia.
- Neurological problems
Some neurological diseases can damage the nerves that connect the brain to the nose. Illnesses that can lead to anosmia include Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, Parkinson’s, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and many others. Head trauma can also lead to anosmia. Any kind of injury to the brain increases the chances of anosmia.
Some medications can also cause anosmia. Medicinal drugs that may result in loss of smell include antibiotics, blood pressure, cholesterol, and thyroid medications. These medications may lead to temporary loss of smell. Long-term use, especially in older people, can result in permanent anosmia too. Chemotherapy can also dampen your sense of smell.
Treatment of anosmia
Your doctor may suggest a course of treatment according to the reason behind anosmia. Inability to smell may go away on its own if it is due to a cold or other minor infections and allergies. If it still worsens, an ENT specialist may prescribe decongestants, nasal spray, antiallergy medicine, or antibiotics. You may also need to alter your lifestyle and limit exposure to toxins. Quitting smoking and getting rid of pollutants can help with anosmia. A doctor may recommend surgery to clear your nose and make it easier for you to smell and breathe if there are any blockages.
Living without smell
Anosmia can create problems in various areas of your life. Without smell, you may not be able to enjoy even daily activities, such as eating and going outdoors. Additionally, it becomes tough to know if the food is spoiled. You may need someone else to check it for you. Eating rotten food can lead to food poisoning and other gastric issues. Scents help in an intimate environment. If you lose your sense of smell, you may miss out on the full experience of intimacy. You would not be able to smell if something in your house is burning, so it can also be a safety hazard. Anosmia makes people feel helpless and may also result in mental health issues like depression.