Loss of Sense of Smell : How to check if you have ?


The complete absence of smell is referred to as "anosmia." An infection, like the common cold or the flu, may be the cause of anosmia. Nasal polyps or other obstructions may also be to blame. Another characteristic of COVID-19 symptoms is a lack of smell. The majority of the time, your sense of smell may be recovered by addressing the underlying cause of anosmia.

Loss of smell is known as anosmia. Your capacity to sense smells is impacted by this disorder. Ageusia is a term for a total loss of taste, whereas anosmia is a term for a total loss of smell. Due to the intimate connection between the senses of smell and taste, these two disorders can occasionally coexist. People of all ages may have temporary anosmia. Yet those over the age of 50 are more likely to experience a persistent loss of scent. Congenital anosmia is an uncommon condition. In other words, the problem was present at birth. The prevalence of congenital anosmia is one in 10,000.

Anosmia is often not harmful in and of itself, but it can be connected to a variety of grave medical conditions. It can also make it harder for you to notice damaged food, gas leaks, or smoke. As a result, those who have anosmia should go above and beyond to make sure their surroundings are secure. Smoke detector batteries should be changed periodically, and food expiry dates should be scrupulously observed.


Anosmia can arise as a result of several common illnesses. They may consist of:

  • Nose growths.
  • Typical cold
  • Influenza.
  • Nasal blockage
  • An altered septum.
  • Nasal infection (sinusitis).
  • Other allergens, such as hay fever.

Anosmia has been associated with:

  • Diabetes.
  • Smoking.
  • Obesity.
  • Elevated blood pressure (hypertension).
  • Syndrome of Kallmann.
  • Alzheimer's condition.
  • Several drugs, including antibiotics and antihistamines.
  • Multiple Sclerosis(MS).
  • Parkinson's condition.
  • Sjogren's disease
  • Brain damage caused by trauma.
  • Brain cancer.

How to check if you have a Loss of Sense of Smell?

Anosmia refers to a partial or total absence of scent. Anosmia can be a condition that is either transitory or chronic. When the mucus membranes in your nose are inflamed or blocked, as they are when you have a severe cold or a sinus infection, for instance, you may lose some or all of your sense of smell.

You should contact a doctor if your inability to smell is unrelated to a cold or sinus infection or if it does not return once your congestion has cleared. That can be a sign of another problem.

As weakened senses can cause poor appetite and malnutrition, especially in the elderly, the sense of smell is crucial for general health and nutrition. Several health issues may arise from a changed sense of smell. Since they are unable to recognise scents that indicate decomposition, they unintentionally eat soured or rotten foods. Anosmia patients could also be oblivious to the hazardous, contaminated, or smoke-filled air they are inhaling.

Congenital anosmia is the term for the unusual disorder in which some individuals are born without the ability to smell. This happens when the olfactory system, the body's sensory system for smell, develops abnormally before birth or when there is an inherited genetic abnormality. Congenital anosmia is unfortunately incurable.


Anosmia patients may experience abrupt or progressive loss of their sense of smell. Before you lose your ability to smell completely, you might notice that familiar odours smell different.


Anosmia cannot always be avoided because it is a sign of several illnesses. There are certain things you can do to lessen your risk, though:

  • Stay away from surroundings and harmful substances.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • While participating in contact sports, wear safety equipment because head trauma has been linked to anosmia.


Most of the time, fixing the underlying issue can aid in regaining your sense of smell. Antibiotics, for instance, can aid in the eradication of an infection if you have sinusitis. Switching medicines may help reduce the symptoms of anosmia if specific drugs are impairing your sense of smell. Surgery can be required if you have nasal polyps or another kind of obstruction. Your healthcare practitioner can identify any underlying issues and suggest the best course of action.

Your anosmia kind will determine how you respond. Congenital anosmia has no recognised treatment at this time. Anosmia, however, typically disappears on its own. Your sense of smell will usually return when the underlying issue has been addressed.

After a couple of weeks or months, your sense of smell can return to normal. The reason may benefit from treatment. For instance, steroid nasal sprays or drops may be beneficial if you have nasal polyps or sinusitis. Some patients may benefit from a therapeutic method called scent training.

Based on the following questions your healthcare professional will choose the best course of action for you:

  • How old are you?
  • Your general well-being and medical background
  • How ill are you?
  • Your capacity to handle a certain medication, operation, or therapy
  • Expected duration of the condition
  • Your preference or opinion

Treatment options include:

  • Modifying or discontinuing medications that worsen the illness
  • The resolution of the underlying illness
  • Removal via surgery of any impediments that could be contributing to the disease
  • Counselling
  • Giving up smoking

To ascertain what is causing your scent disturbance, your doctor will examine you. Your doctor will initially treat the primary disease that appears to be the problem because anosmia can have many different causes.

For instance, treating allergic sinusitis might aid in regaining your sense of smell. Surgery may be the initial step if nasal tumours, polyps, or abnormalities warrant it. In some instances, anosmia may be a first sign of a disease like Parkinson's or Alzheimer's.

It is crucial to understand, though, that it is not always possible to pinpoint the exact source of a scent condition. Anosmia occasionally cannot be cured.

Complications of Loss of Sense of Smell

The quality of life is impacted by both smell and taste abnormalities, but scent diseases can be deadly. They impair your capacity to recognise items like:

  • Fire
  • Noxious odours
  • Gas leaking
  • Tainted food and drink


For further information please access the following resources:

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Page last reviewed: Mar 17, 2023

Next review due: Mar 17, 2025

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