What Is Anosmia

Most of us take our sense of smell for granted. But have you ever thought about what it would be like to not be able to smell something? The complete loss of smell is called anosmia

Anosmia Causes

– Nasal polyps -- small noncancerous growths in the nose and sinuses that block the nasal passage. – Injury to the nose and smell nerves from surgery or head trauma. – Exposure to toxic chemicals, such as pesticides or solvents. – Certain medications, including antibiotics, antidepressants, anti-inflammatory medication, heart medications, and others. – Cocaine abuse.

Anosmia Symptoms

The obvious sign of anosmia is a loss of smell. Some people with anosmia notice a change in the way things smell. For example, familiar things begin to lack odor.

Anosmia Diagnosis

If you experience a loss of smell that you can't attribute to a cold or allergy or which doesn't get better after a week or two, tell your doctor. Your doctor can take a look inside your nose with a special instrument to see if a polyp or growth is impairing your ability to smell or if an infection is present.

Anosmia Treatments

If nasal congestion from a cold or allergy is the cause of anosmia, treatment is usually not needed, and the problem will get better on its own. Short-term use of over-the-counter decongestants may open up your nasal passages so that you can breathe easier.