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Loss of smell

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Loss of sense of smell is a mystery. Loss of smell or anosmia is the partial or complete loss of the sense of smell. It can be temporary or permanent. Frequently it is caused due to blockage of the nasal pathway or may be due to other common conditions that can irritate the internal lining of the nose. Common examples are allergies or a cold, which can lead to temporary loss of smell. Normally it is not a serious condition, but it may affect the normal quality of day-to-day life. Such as people suffering from anosmia may not be able to fully appreciate the taste of the food. Therefore may develop a loss of interest in eating or anorexia. This can lead to sudden weight loss or malnutrition. Due to the impaired functioning of the nose, such people need to be cautious with the use of natural gas and food storage. They may have difficulty in the detection of spoiled foods and gas leaks.
Mild depression may also be noticed in such cases.

 

What causes loss of smell?

  • Loss of smell or anosmia is frequently caused by blockage or swelling in the nose that prevents any smell from getting to the top of the nose. It may also occur due to a defect or problem in the olfactory pathway sending a signal to the brain. The most obvious cause of partial and temporary loss of smell is the common cold. In such cases, the loss of smell is partial and will go away on its own without the need of any medical assistance. In some cases, loss of sense of smell can be a congenital condition. Given below are the main causes of loss of smell or anosmia:
  • Loss of smell due to irritation to the lining of the mucous membranes of the nose
  • Infections in sinuses
  • Common cold, allergies(allergic rhinitis), flu or influenza
  • Habitual smoking and alcoholism (of long duration)
  • Chronic congestion not related to allergies (non-allergic rhinitis)
  • Loss of smell can occur due to blockage of the nasal passages. When something is physically blocking the passage of air into the nose. It may either be a nasal polyp, a tumor, or any bone deformities inside the nose or a nasal septum
  • Loss of smell in case of brain or nerve damage: Nose is a very sensitive part of the body. It has receptors to send information to the brain with the help of nerves.
 

In case any part of this pathway is damaged, anosmia can occur. In old age, Alzheimer's disease, brain tumors, Huntington's disease, hormonal problems, under-active thyroid, radiation therapy, diabetes, stroke, brain injury, brain surgery, may cause this damage, and loss of smell. Exposure to chemicals that can burn the interior lining of your nose, malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies, and certain medications including medicines for high BP and antibiotics of certain kinds

 

How is the loss of smell (anosmia) diagnosed?

At times it is difficult to measure. Your doctor may ask you some general questions about your presenting symptoms, perform a nasal examination. Acomplete physical examination may also be performed. Your medical history may be analysed by your physician. To make a diagnosis the doctor may also perform one or more of the following lab tests:

· CT scans, MRI scans, (to create a detailed image of the brain and nasal cavity), X-ray of the skull, and nasal endoscopy to look inside your nose.

Treatment: Homeopathic treatment is very popular in cases of loss of smell and taste. The homeopathic mode of treatment has proven its beneficial effects in cases with congenital defects also. It is a holistic system of treatment. People suffering from anosmia as a symptom of a seasonal cold, coryza may consult a qualified homeopath for the right treatment. Any blockage or neuropathy causing loss of sense of smell can be cured with the help of homeopathic aid.

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