Loss Of Taste And Smell Treatment
How long does the loss of taste and smell last and is there anything you can do about it?
While we used to think loss of smell was permanent if it lasted more than six months, we now know that it will often recover slowly over the years, Dr. McBrien said. Treatments such as smell training can be helpful in the recovery of this important sense.
You may also be able to speed recovery by addressing the root cause. For example, your doctor may suggest steroid nasal sprays or drops to treat nasal polyps or sinusitis.
There are even some home remedies for this issue. These include smell training with pungent odors such as coffee or fresh ginger, placing drops of castor oil in your nose and using a saline rinse.
Keep in mind that working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are essential in the homes of people who have lost their sense of smell. They wont have the ability to detect these life-threatening situations as early as someone else.
Dr. McBrien says that if youre concerned about new or worsening loss of taste and smell, your first step should be contacting your primary care doctor. If your diagnosis requires additional follow up, you may be referred to an ENT specialist.
Next Steps and Helpful Resources
Having Trouble Tasting And Smelling This Could Be A Sign Of Sinusitis
When your sinuses are inflamed and not draining properly, the effects can be fairly obvious as congestion hampers your ability to breathe and leads to pain and discomfort. But if youre also experiencing a loss of taste and smell, the cause may stem from the same problem sinusitis.
At Florida Ear, Nose, Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery Center, Dr. Wade Han and our team specialize in nasal problems, and we understand the widespread impact this seemingly small area of your health can have on your overall wellness. For patients in Orlando and Kissimmee, Florida, who are struggling with the symptoms of sinusitis, weve pulled together a basic primer on the problem and how it can affect your health and your senses.
If youre having trouble tasting and smelling, heres a look at why sinusitis may be at the root of the problem.
What About Nasal Polyps And Other Causes
If the diminished sense of smell and taste persists after an infection has cleared, or if the patient didnt have an infection to begin with, nasal polyps could be the cause. Nasal polyps are soft, painless, noncancerous growths on the lining of your nasal passages or sinuses. They hang down like teardrops or grapes. They result from chronic inflammation and are associated with asthma, recurring infection, allergies, drug sensitivity or certain immune disorders.
“I’ve seen nasal polyps so large they were literally growing out of a patients nostril, or so small we needed a CT scan to see them,” says Dr. McConnell.
Polyps cause problems because they block the air flow to olfactory fibers. These are located in the upper part of the sinuses and deliver information about scent to the brain.
“When we inhale, the air passes over the olfactory fibers, but if they are blocked by polyps, they cant function as well,” McConnell says. Removing nasal polyps is an endoscopic, outpatient procedure. Patients should regain lost smell within three to six months of polyp removal.
Other causes of smell disorders are rare, but include underlying brain tumors, head injuries, dental problems, side effects from certain cancer treatments, Parkinsons disease and Alzheimers disease.
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How You Can Treat Sinusitis Yourself
You can often treat mild sinusitis without seeing a GP by:
- getting plenty of rest
- taking painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen
- avoiding allergic triggers and not smoking
- cleaning your nose with a salt water solution to ease congestion
If you have a high temperature or you do not feel well enough to do your normal activities, try to stay at home and avoid contact with other people until you feel better.
You do not need to use all of the solution, but make a fresh solution each time you clean your nose.
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Dr. Kaplan of Kaplan Sinus Relief is a pioneer of the balloon sinuplasty procedure in Houston. His practice is currently the only private practice in the nation using TGS navigation, the state-of-the-art technology that uses augmented reality to make procedures including balloon sinuplasty safer and more accurate.
Kaplan Sinus Relief also offers patients with anxiety around procedures the option to have balloon sinuplasty with IV sedation.
Dont let your sinus infection and sinus infection odors fester and become an untreated sinus infection. Join the thousands of patients that Dr. Kaplan and the staff at Kaplan Sinus Relief have helped to breathe easier again.
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When You Stop To Smell The Roses And Cannot Smell A Thing
It all started with allergies or so I thought. We moved into a new house and there are all of these new plants, some more exotic, that were in full bloom when it started. The itchy watery eyes, the sneezes, the post-nasal drip..drip..drip. Too much? Nah, you hear worse over your Grand Rounds or Noon Lunch-and-Learn sessions.
But, I digress.
Then it got worse. Around 1 week later, the cough started. The body aches. The headaches. The sore throat. The influenza-like illness, or ILI, arrived with no apologies. I thought the virus had done its worst then, as I made my morning coffee, Wacky Wednesday started. I could not smell it. It seemed strange, but I thought it was just congestion. I took a sip. Hot liquid, tasteless. I rummaged through my kitchensmelling and tasting noxious things, testing my senses. Garlic? Nothing. Chili Lime seasoning? Nothing. Pepper, salt, ginger? All nothing.
I lost my sense of taste and smell.
Of course, as an ID specialist, the infections are what catch my eye.What infections can cause this? How does it happen?
All this being said, smell and taste can be a secondary impact of many common viral and bacterial infections of the head and neck. Treatment should be specific toward the underlying infection to start. Any infections that can cause mass or invasive lesions could also result in damage. Many patients will have full recovery, but for those who do not, referral to a specialist is in order for further evaluation and management.
Smoking And Tobacco Use
Tobacco products contain chemicals that stain and weaken the teeth and gums, thus increasing the risk of tooth and gum disease. Tobacco can also give the breath an unpleasant odor.
Smoking can also reduce someones ability to taste and smell food properly, which may cause someone to smell odors that they perceive as foul, but which may not actually be bad.
People with phantosmia smell things that are not there. It occurs when a condition interferes with a persons sense of smell.
Everyone with phantosmia smells a slightly different scent, but most people experience something that smells:
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The Many Faces Of Sinusitis
Sinusitis can develop for many reasons. For example, congestion in your sinuses is often part and parcel of an upper respiratory infection, such as the cold or flu. As well, allergies can wreak havoc on your sinuses, leading to inflammation that blocks your mucus.
Sinus issues that are chronic, meaning they last three months or more, can be brought about by ongoing problems with allergies or structural issues, like a deviated septum or nasal polyps.
How To Deal With Bad Breath Caused By Sinusitis
Having a regular bout with sinusitis is already handful enough to deal with, but what if it is coupled with bad breath? That certainly makes things worse.
Why You Experience Bad Breath When You Have Sinusitis
Most people fail to make the connection between their sinusitis and their bad breath. They dont know that bad breath is, in fact, a lesser-known secondary symptom of sinusitis. Heres why having sinusitis leads to bad breath:
Whenever your sinuses are packed with fluids, it leads to swelling and infection. It also leads to the accumulation of mucus in the nasal cavities, causing the foul smell.
When the cavities get clogged, the mucus is forced to travel down the back of the nose and throat instead. The excess mucus leaves behind a trail of a white or yellowish film, creating an ideal breeding ground for bad breath-causing bacteria to multiply.
Mouth breathing is also another cause of bad breath. When the sinuses are clogged with mucus, the tendency is to breathe through ones nose during night time. Mouth breathing dries out the saliva, which is important in keeping the oral cavity healthy and clean. The absence of saliva results to dry mouth, which in turn results to bad breath.
Treatment of Bad Breath Caused by Sinusitis
Drinking plenty of water helps thin out the mucus build up in your sinuses, making it easier to drain. Frequent gargling with warm water and salt as well as tongue scraping also help prevent bad breath.
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How Your Sense Of Smell Works
Taste and smell disorders are the cause of many thousands of individuals in the U.S. to see a doctor every year. Fortunately, for most individuals, anosmia is only a temporary problem caused by a seriously stuffy nose from a cold. After the cold goes away, their sense of smell comes back.
However, for some individuals, including many seniors, anosmia is persistent and it could indicate a more serious health condition.
Like your sense of taste, your sense of smell is a part of your chemical senses . You have the ability to smell due to olfactory sensory neurons . Each olfactory neuron has an odor receptor. Substances around you release microscopic molecules whether the substances are pine trees or coffee brewing. These microscopic molecules stimulate the odor receptors.
Once the molecules are detected by the neurons, the neurons send messages to your brain, identifying the smell. The environment has more smells in it than you have receptors, and one molecule can stimulate a group of receptors which creates a unique representation in your brain. Your brain registers these representations as a specific smell.
There are two pathways in which smells reach your olfactory sensory neurons.
When To See A Doctor
When you have a bad smell in your nose for more than 1 week and theres no external source, you should see your doctor. If you dont already have a primary care doctor, our Healthline FindCare tool can help you connect to physicians in your area.
Because a rotten smell in your nose often means youre also dealing with a sinus infection, nasal polyps, or another condition, its likely you also have other symptoms.
And because an ammonia smell in the nose can signal advanced kidney disease, see a doctor right away if you have that symptom.
This is especially true if you have other symptoms such as kidney pain and changes in the appearance and smell of your urine.
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Can I Prevent Fungal Sinusitis
You may not be able to prevent a fungal sinus infection. If youre at a higher risk for fungal sinus infections, talk to your provider. They may recommend regular checkups to monitor your health and treat infections quickly. Talk to your provider if you:
- Have had a fungal sinus infection in the past.
- Have a health condition that weakens your immune system.
- Take immunosuppressant drugs or are getting chemotherapy treatments for cancer.
Nonsurgical Treatment For Chronic Sinusitis
Your ENT doctor will recommend treatment options based on the severity and cause of your chronic sinusitis symptoms. Treatment options may include:
- High-volume saline irrigations flush the nose and sinuses of excess mucus. We recommend saline solutions for use two to three times per day until symptoms subside.
- Nasal steroid sprays reduce inflammation in the nose. These are available by prescription or over the counter.
- Oral steroid taper relieves symptoms within one to two weeks. A taper means that the dosage is decreased over the course of treatment.
- Antibiotics may be prescribed for up to three weeks if a bacterial infection is present.
- Expectorants include medications such as guaifenesin , which thin the mucus. This makes it easier to cough up the mucus or blow it out your nose.
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Can A Sinus Infection Cause Loss Of Taste
Sinus infections can make you miserable: they are painful, inconvenient, and can be tricky to treat, but can a sinus infection cause loss of taste? It can start to seem a bit cruel when, after long days of fighting off cold and flu-like symptoms, you are still unable to taste the chicken noodle soup that was meant to be the highlight of a miserable day on the couch leaving you to wonder whether your loss of sense and smell is just another pesky symptom.
The inability to enjoy the things we love can make a difficult time nearly intolerable. Want to know when and how you can get back to tasting your favorite foods? You are in the right place.
Smelling Ammonia All The Time
Urine can vary in color and smell based on the number of waste products in addition to fluids you take in over the course of this day. However, some out-of-the-ordinary scents may indicate you need to seek medical treatment. One such instance is a sweet smell into the urine, which can mean excess glucose in the urine. Another is the smell of ammonia, which includes a robust and chemical-like odor. While urine that smells like ammonia is not necessarily caused for concern, there are some cases where it may be.
Whether acute or chronic, sinusitis can have a significant impact on your health, leading to:
- Difficulty breathing
- Pain and pressure around your sinuses
Among these symptoms lies an unlikely effect a loss or reduction of your sense of smell and taste.
Lets start with your loss of smell. First, because of the congestion that often comes with sinusitis, youre unable to breathe in deeply enough to reach the olfactory sensory neurons higher up in your nose to initiate smell in the first place.
Second, the viral infection inside your nasal passageways can temporarily damage your highly sensitive sensory cells.
Your sense of taste and its relationship to sinusitis is trickier. The condition doesnt necessarily lead to a direct loss of taste, but it can alter the sense because your sense of smell and taste are linked. Taste and smell work in lockstep, and when you lose one, the other is compromised.
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How Is Acute Sinusitis Diagnosed
Acute sinusitis is usually diagnosed by discussing all of your symptoms and medical history with your doctor. In a physical exam, your doctor will look at the ears, nose, and throat to check for any blockage, swelling, and drainage. If allergies are suspected, your doctor will can have an allergy test performed to determine what allergens might be the cause of your sinusitis.
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Viral Damage And Nasal Sinus Disease
In adults, the two most common causes of smell problems that we see at our Clinic are: Smell loss due to an ongoing process in the nose and/or sinuses such as nasal allergies and smell loss due to injury of the specialized nerve tissue at the top of the nose from a previous viral upper respiratory infection. Individuals who lose their sense of smell as a result of a respiratory virus generally give us a very clear history of dating their smell loss from a time when they were experiencing cold or flu symptoms. These patients are typically in the older age groups. The smell loss is partial rather than total for many, and can be associated with taste loss, parosmias and/or dysgeusias. There is no known effective therapy for taste and/or smell problems due to presumed viral damage. Specifically, treatment with zinc is not recommended because it was not demonstrated to be any more effective than placebo. Some patients will recover function with time. We have followed some individuals with this disorder long-term. Of these, only 18 percent significantly improved their smell function on retesting. Improvement was gradual. Although this low improvement rate is discouraging, it should be remembered that we typically see the worst cases here at the Taste and Smell Clinic. There are probably many individuals out in the community who lost their sense of smell as a result of a virus and recovered it within short periods of time.
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Prevent A Bad Smelling Nose
There are many lifestyle changes that can help you alleviate the bad smell in the nose, including:
- Practicing good dental hygiene
- Avoiding dehydrating foods and drinks
- Treating nasal and sinus inflammation
- Avoiding foods that cause bad breath
- Stopping smoking and other tobacco products
If you are still experiencing bad breath and an unpleasant smell in the nose, talk to your local ENT at SW Idaho ENT today.
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