What Can I Do About Smell Loss?

Dr. Oringer: Hi, Mrs. Perrett. My name is
Dr. Oringer. I hear you’ve been having some problems with your nose and sinuses. Tell
me a little bit about when those problems started. Maryann: Probably about six years ago. Dr. Oringer: And what did you first notice? Maryann: It first started with a chronic cough,
and then eventually drainage… Narrator: Maryann Perret is an older adult
who lost her sense of smell. Dr. Oringer: Difficulty breathing through
your nose with that? Maryann: In the beginning, yes. But right
now, no. I’m fine breathing. Dr. Oringer: Does the sense of smell come
and go or it is pretty much always gone? Maryann: It’s always gone. Narrator: There are several reasons people
may experience a loss of smell. Having a nasal infection is the number-one cause. Dr. Beauchamp: The most common cause of smell
disorder is a loss due to an upper respiratory disease. For example a cold, a flu, or something
like that. Narrator: In addition to a nasal infection,
other reasons for loss of smell can include head injury, aging, allergies, certain medications,
exposure to toxic chemicals, and diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. If you’ve
noticed the problem for a while, check with your doctor. He or she may refer you to an
otolaryngologist, a specialist in diseases of the ear, nose and throat. Dr. Beauchamp: To diagnose smell disorders,
there’s a number of tests that are being done both in your physician’s office or in specialized
laboratories and they involve sniffing things and trying to identify the odors. There are
various instruments and machines that can help to diagnose disorders. Narrator: Another test, an endoscopy, lets
the doctor look in the nasal passages to try to see how extensive the problem is. Maryann’s
problem started with a sinus infection. Maryann: My chronic sinus infections started
about nine years ago, and they’ve just — I’ve had two sinus surgeries and it’s just something
that you have to learn to deal with. Narrator: Depending on the cause of your smell
problem, your doctor may be able to treat your smell disorder. Dr. Beauchamp: Recently it’s been shown that
we can now treat some smell disorders with steroids and this works in a number of cases.
We don’t understand which cases it works for and which cases it doesn’t, and it’s not clear
how long it lasts. Narrator: Maryann’s problem with smell is
helped by steroids, but only for as long as she takes them. Dr. Oringer: And of the medicines you said
that you’ve used, what have you found to be helpful as far as the sense of smell? Maryann: To come back Prednisone. Dr. Oringer: And that seems to be really the
only thing that works? Maryann: That’s the only thing that works. Dr. Oringer: Does it give you any long-lasting
relief, or is it only while you’re taking the medicine? Maryann: It’s only while I’m taking it. Narrator: If your smell problem is due to
allergies, your sense of smell may return once the condition stops. If you take medication
and you notice smell loss, check with your doctor. Dr. Beauchamp: If you think your medications
are causing a problem with your sense of smell, the best thing to do is to go have yourself
evaluated by your doctor, to see whether you have a loss or alteration. Narrator: Unfortunately, scientists have not
yet found a cure for loss of smell due to aging. Dr. Beauchamp: The treatment of smell disorders
has been something many of us have been working on for a long time. Steroids will help treat
certain people with smell loss, particularly those that have had upper respiratory diseases.
Trauma to the head — much more difficult to treat and we have no idea how to treat
the smell loss with aging. Narrator: Not everyone with a smell disorder
will regain their sense of smell. But, like Maryann, they can learn to live with it. Maryann: It’s something that I don’t think
about and I just go, you know, I just go on, or I can’t — My sister just bought a new
car. Well, I couldn’t smell the new car smell. And my sister just had a baby and you know
how fresh babies smell. I just can’t, you know, smell him. But that’s when I really
think about it. But going through my day-to-day routine, I never really think about it. It’s
just something that I have to deal with.

11 Replies to “What Can I Do About Smell Loss?”

  1. i cant even fucking smell my baby. i smelled all my nephews as newborns, i loved smelling their feets and neck. Now im a father to a beautiful baby girl and i cant even smell her.

  2. I took spirulina powder, which is made from algea, and my sense of smell came back (I had no sense of smell for 21 years!)

  3. I had a TBI 3 years ago and it have not came back like I don't know what to do I miss smelling and tasting wahh

  4. hahah this weird it is about a month that i have lost my sense of smell and nothing is smells and tests good i even do not now how my body spray smells wtf. can any body help

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