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.
What Happens During A Sinus Infection
The sinuses are just air-filled spaces in your skull. Scientists arent completely sure why they exist, but they do lighten the skull, allow the voice to reverberate, and produce mucus that lubricates the inside of the nose.
Your sinuses connect to your nose by small drainage openings called ostia. Ostia are how air flows through the nose into the sinuses.
Though your sinuses are usually filled with air, they can become blocked and fill with fluid and mucus. When the fluid and mucus stick around long enough, bacteria can begin to flourish.
Now, this normally air-filled cavity becomes a fluid-filled pocket of infection.
If you experience persistent nasal allergies, for example, the frequent inflammation may lead to blocked passages and stopped up sinuses the perfect environment for a sinus infection.
How To Clean Your Nose With A Salt Water Solution
You don’t need to use all of the solution, but make a fresh batch each day don’t re-use any left over from the day before.
Some pharmacies sell sachets you can use to make a salt water solution and devices to help you rinse your nose.
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How To Enjoy Food With A Smell Or Taste Disorder
If you lose your sense of taste, here are things you can try to make your food taste better:
- Prepare foods with a variety of colors and textures.
- Use aromatic herbs and hot spices to add more flavor however, avoid adding more sugar or salt to foods.
- If your diet permits, add small amounts of cheese, bacon bits, butter, olive oil or toasted nuts on vegetables.
- Avoid combination dishes, such as casseroles, which can hide individual flavors and dilute taste.
Have You Lost Your Sense Of Taste
Today, if youve lost your sense of taste, its likely that your first thought is that you might have COVID-19. While COVID-19 certainly can cause a loss of taste and smell, a sinus infection could also be the culprit. The quickest way to tell the difference and make sure youre not spreading the coronavirus to those around you is to get tested.
If a cold or allergy has caused a nasal blockage and loss of taste, then reducing inflammation is key in the fight against a sinus infection. If youve tried all the home remedies and youre still not finding relief, its time to get help.
Our team will work with you to find a treatment plan thats right for your circumstances. Dont let a sinus infection keep you from enjoying your favorite foods. Give ENT Associates of Lubbock a call today.
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Should I Go To The Doctor To Make Sure My Symptoms Are *not* Covid
Both experts agree that if you have any of the symptoms above, you should check in with your health care provider. However, this doesn’t mean you need to actually go see your doctor just yet.
“A lot of doctors office are offering telemedicine, which may be a good way to reduce your exposure, along with the health care providers exposure,” says Dr. Shanker-Patel. “Most have protocols in place to try to discern these types of infections from one another, so your best bet is to discuss any and all symptoms with them, and they can provide you with the best guidance.”
A few things to think about before doing a telemedicine check-in that can also help you gauge whether you could have COVID: “Have you been exposed to someone that was sick? Have you done any recent travel?” says Dr. Del Signore. “Considering those that you have been around and plan to be around if you’re not feeling well are also important screening factors.”
The bottom line: The symptoms of a sinus infection and COVID-19 may appear similarly in some cases, so check in with your doctor if you are concerned you’ve been exposed to the novel coronavirus.
What Effects Does A Loss Of Sense Of Smell Have
Individuals with anosmia might lose interest in eating and food which could lead to weight loss and malnutrition.
When you have anosmia, you should ensure you have functioning smoke alarms in your home in various locations. You should also be careful with the use of natural gas and with food storage since you might have issues detecting gas leaks and spoiled food.
Some suggested precautions are:
Label all foods with expiration dates properly
Use electric appliances
Read labels on chemicals like insecticides and kitchen cleaners
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Loss Of Smell And Taste After Sinus Infection
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How To Get Rid Of Sinus Infection Odors
The best way to get rid of sinus infection odors is to seek sinus infection treatment. For some, over-the-counter medications and rest are enough treatment to do the trick. And we also recommend checking out our list of the best foods for sinus infection treatment.
But for those suffering from frequent or chronic sinus infections, it may be best to seek additional medical treatment. One of the most minimally invasive treatments available for chronic sinusitis is balloon sinuplasty, which is an in-office procedure that provides long-lasting sinusitis relief.
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Digestive Conditions And Other Medical Conditions
Some digestive conditions, such as acid reflux, can cause bad breath and a bad taste in the mouth.
Also, although fairly benign conditions are usually behind a bad or unusual smell in the nose, it is rarely linked to more systemic or serious health conditions, which may include:
- diabetes, which may cause a sweet smell
- liver disease, which may cause a strong musty smell
- kidney disease, which may cause an ammonia-like smell
The best way to treat a bad smell in the nose depends on the underlying condition.
That said, there are some home remedies that can help reduce a bad smell in the nose:
Why Do My Nostrils Smell Bad
If you havent been feeling well and find yourself suddenly thinking, Oh man, the inside of my nose smells bad, its time to do a little investigating.
A bacterial sinus infection may be behind why the inside of your nose smells rotten, or why you might notice smells when blowing your nose. When healthy, your sinuses are naturally able to drain mucus . During a sinus infection, however, your sinuses become swollen and potentially congested. This can trap mucus and all that it has filtered from the air, which can, in turn, lead to some rather unpleasant odors.
The fluid that builds up in nasal polyps has also been known to cause bad nasal smells, as does the mucus that accumulates at the back of the throat during postnasal drip.
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Tips From A Dental Hygienist
Metallic taste and sinus infections can negatively affect your overall quality of life. As a Registered Dental Hygienist, I would like to share some tips with you! As always, if you have any health concerns or questions, consult with your healthcare professionals.
Do not regularly drink sugary beverages. Sipping on high sugar beverages will significantly increase your risk for cavities as well as other oral health infections.
Moreover, make sure you are visiting your dentist regularly for routine check-ups and cleanings to stay on top of your oral health. Poor oral health not only effects your mouth but it may also affect your overall systemic health.
It is crucial to be aware of your metallic taste symptoms, especially if you have chronic sinus infections.
Treatment For Lost Or Changed Sense Of Smell
Your sense of smell may go back to normal in a few weeks or months.
Treating the cause might help. For example, steroid nasal sprays or drops might help if you have sinusitis or nasal polyps.
A treatment called “smell training” can also help some people. The organisation Fifth Sense has more about how to do smell training.
Sometimes changes in sense of smell can’t be treated and may be permanent.
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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.
Smell Loss Related To Colds Allergies Sinus Issues And Covid
Anosmia is the lack of sense of smell and frequently goes hand in hand with the lack of taste. Since the smell receptors are in the upper portion of the nose, anything that can prevent air from reaching these smell receptors can affect your ability to smell. The receptors are located on both sides of the nose, so complete blockage of both your nasal passages may lead to loss of smell, but blockage of one side or the other can also cause this in some people.
Usually, when your nasal breathing improves, so does your sense of smell. Although congestion and obstruction are often the cause of smell issues, there are several other reasons not related to nasal obstruction why people can lose their sense of smell, including recent or repetitive head injury, a viral cold, COVID-19 infections, and many others including chronic nasal and sinus conditions, such as polyps.
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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.
Certain Foods And Medications
Sometimes, the bad smell coming from inside your nose isnt due to an illness.
Occasionally, tiny air particles called odorants get trapped inside your nose. Odorants from cooking certain foods or taking medications can easily bother your sense of smell later.
Eating or cooking with garlic, onion, coffee, or chillies can have such a strong smell that you feel it hours later too.
While getting rid of onion breath is relatively easy, if the smell is coming from inside your nose, youll simply have to wait it out.
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How Can I Get My Sense Of Taste Back After A Sinus Infection
The best place to start is focusing on reducing the inflammation in your nasal passages. If you can open up your sinuses and facilitate drainage, your smell will return faster.
Saline irrigations are helpful to wash out signs of infection and clear inflammation. You can purchase over-the-counter options like NeilMed Sinus Rinse at any pharmacy.
Topical steroid sprays like Flonase can also help to reduce inflammation.
If necessary, an ENT doctor can prescribe a compounded irrigation treatment. This is much like a saline rinse, but the solution also contains antibiotics or steroids to treat the sinus infection more aggressively.
What Causes Sinusitis
Sinusitis is an infection most often caused by viruses or bacteria or both. Cold viruses and bacteria that get into our sinuses usually don’t cause trouble unless sinus drainage is blocked. Blockage of the narrow sinus draining channels is the main reason we get sinusitis, and restoration of drainage is the key to treatment.
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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.
Sinusitis Can Cause Loss Of Smell And Taste
According to statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, around 12% of all American adults suffer with sinusitis which equates to over 30 million people. If you havent heard of the term previously, it actually refers to inflammation within the sinuses and the main symptoms include a plugged nose, thick nasal mucus, sore throat, headaches, and a cough . However, theres also another symptom that can come from sinusitis loss of smell and taste.
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Is A Loss Of Sense Of Smell And Sinus Infections Related
Watch the video above as Jing Shen, MD explains Smell Disfunction
You probably take your sense of smell for granted, but do you ever wonder what it would be like if you had a loss of sense of smell? A total loss of smell is known as anosmia. When you don’t have a sense of smell, your food will taste different, you won’t be able to smell flowers and you may even find yourself in dangerous circumstances unknowingly .
Below we go over how your sense of smell works, the impacts of a loss of sense of smell, and if sinus infections can cause a loss of sense of smell.
An Introduction To Your Sinuses
You have four pairs of sinuses located around your nose and eyes. These air-filled chambers vibrate, adding tonality to your speech, and the mucous membranes that line them filter the air you breathe.
The membranes, or mucosa, can produce up to a quart of mucus per day. As the mucus continually drains away down the back of your throat, it traps bacteria, germs, and viruses. The mucus also keeps your throat and nasal cavities from feeling dried out and scratchy. When you have a sinus infection, your sinus cavities swell and stop draining. The trapped mucus can become infected, causing even more congestion and inflammation, which causes further swelling and blockage. Its a vicious cycle. When this happens over and over, or happens and doesnt go away for weeks or months, you have sinusitis.
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Dr Sarah Jarvis Says:
Changes in your sense of smell are rarely life-threatening, but they can have a significant impact on your quality of life. Your senses of smell and taste are closely linked, and many people who lose their sense of smell find that food loses much of its taste as well. You can recognise ‘basic’ tastes – bitter, sweet, salty, sour and umami – without needing smell, but more complex flavours need both senses to appreciate them fully. In fact, most of the flavour of food is largely due to its smell.
Like taste, smell is a chemical sense. Receptors in your nose turn messages from smells received into electrical signals for the brain to interpret. You can smell food through your nose without tasting it but when you’re eating, the smells also travel to the back of your nose from the back of your mouth.
One of the most common reasons for a distorted sense of smell is the common cold. The build-up of mucus blocks the delicate chemoreceptors that line the nose, affecting their ability to be stimulated and send those electrical signals. Hay fever, which can also lead to a build-up of mucus and a blocked – along with a runny, itchy – nose, can have the same effect. However, these conditions are unlikely to lead to abnormal smells – partial or complete loss of sense of smell is more likely.
A more common reason for a musty smell in the nose is a sinus infection. This can be acute or chronic .