Health topics: What can cause loss of sense of smell?

Information explaining the loss of sense of smell.

It’s Friday night and you are out on a date at the movies. You’re both dressed up nice, the movie you are watching is right up both of your alleys, your arm is wrapped around your date and can sense something in the air, but, still, there is something missing; that popcorn smell. Either you have chosen to go to a poor excuse for a movie theater, or you are losing, or have loss your sense of smell. How did this happen?

There are many possible causes for the loss of smell. The most common causes break down into four categories—toxic interference, certain medications, common respiratory problems, and more serious body trauma or diseases.

Health topics: What can cause loss of sense of smell?

Toxic interference could take the form of long-term tobacco use. If you are a smoker of many years chances are your sense of smell and taste aren’t what they used to be. Aging naturally reduces the senses, but coupling that with smoking or other tobacco use hastens the process significantly. Similarly, excessive ingestion or exposure to certain chemicals like formaldehyde or acid can lead to loss of smell. When using chemicals it is vital to read the warnings and to avoid contact with the face. Consider wearing a mask around your nose and mouth when using heavy-duty chemicals.
Some medications like nasal decongestions will cause a temporary loss of smell as a byproduct of the assistance they are giving your runny or stuffed nose. Thyroid medications often have a side effect that causes a loss of smell as well. Always read the warning label and prepare yourself for the common side effects. Usually these are fleeting and you do not entirely lose your ability to smell all odors.

Recent upper respiratory infection may have lingering affects on your sense of smell in some cases. Common colds and stuffy noses will result in a temporary loss of smell, as will general allergies and hay fever. Longer lasting loss of smell will result from more serious conditions, such as rhinitis, sinus infections, or polyp. Rhinitis, which is inflammation of the nasal lining, is caused by a serious case of hay fever or a bacterial infection. It results in residual sinusitis, which is a fancy word to describe the blockage of smell to the nasal passage. Sinus infections will clog your nasal passage, and polyp, a nonmalignant growth protruding from the mucous lining the nose, can cause obstruction.

More serious conditions may have an affect on your smelling capabilities. Nasal tumors will usually block smell altogether. A brain injury or significant trauma to the head can trigger olfactory nerve damage. The olfactory nerve is the nerve that controls the nose and allows you to smell. Many professional boxers and people who have been in serious car accidents often have no sense of smell because of severe or repeated head damage. A tumor in the frontal lobe region is close enough to the nose that it will impair smell as well.

One of the common symptoms of Dementia, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s diseases is the loss of smell. There conditions affect the brain and can do negative damage to the olfactory region Seizures can trigger confused messages to the brain’s nerves, and if serious or repeated, will essentially burn out some nerves like the olfactory nerve.

Toxins, mediations, common colds, and conditions relating to the brain and head are the most common causes of the loss of smell. Many of the problems will only result in temporary loss, however, it is possible to do severe and irreversible damage to your nose and olfactory nerve if you are not careful when using chemicals, taking medicine, or engaging in risky behavior. To avoid this problem always read labels, take care of your colds when they begin, and above all else, keep foreign bodies out of your nose; in short, the next time you go to the movies be sure to take that penny out of your nose.

The information contained in or made available through This Site cannot replace or substitute for the services of trained professionals in the medical field. We do not recommend any treatment, drug, food or supplement. You should regularly consult a doctor in all matters relating to physical or mental health, particularly concerning any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention.

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