In our busy lives, I have no doubt that you have been told to slow down to stop and smell the roses. But what if you cannot smell the roses? This may be caused by a medical condition known as anosmia. Individuals who suffer from it have an inability to perceive odors.
There are two types of anosmia: partial and complete. While anosmia is rarely the result of a serious condition, it can still cause a number of issues. The good news is that it is typically temporary, except of course in some cases (especially those involving the elderly) where the loss of smell may be permanent.
What Causes a Loss of Smell?
A loss of smell can occur when the sinuses become inflamed or swollen. Common causes for this include:
- Non-allergic rhinitis
- Nasal obstructions such as polyps, tumors and other deformities
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Brain tumor
- Cocaine use
- Chemical exposure
- Hormonal imbalances
- Parkinson’s disease
- Radiation therapy
- Old age
What Are the Symptoms?
The most common symptom of anosmia is, surprise, the inability to smell. Some may report a change in the way they smell as well.
If you experience this symptom for longer than a week or two, it is time to schedule an appointment with your Goodyear ENT physician.
Can You Treat a Loss of Smell?
The only way to actually treat your anosmia is to figure out what is causing it. For many of the causes, such as a cold or allergies, the treatment is to simply wait and see if symptoms improve.
If a cold or allergies are to blame, there is no treatment. Simply wait a few days and your sense of smell should return.
If your loss of smell is caused by a polyp or other growth blocking your nasal passage, you may require surgery to treat the problem.
For bacterial infections, antibiotics are prescribed.
Last but not least, if your loss of smell is related to age, there is little that can be done. Sometimes, it cannot be reversed.
Your sense of smell is important and can help ensure your safety. If you lose your sense of smell either temporarily or permanently, you should take extra precautions. Make sure your smoke detectors are working properly and label your leftovers with the date. Your sense of smell affects your ability to taste and you do not want to inadvertently ingest spoiled food.
To learn more about your sense of smell, contact your Goodyear physician today.