The loss of sense of smell is often accompanied by a loss of sense of taste.
Anosmia, or loss of sense of smell is usually related to two processes.
Nasal obstruction where the smell particles cannot reach the olfactory cleft in the upper portion of the front of the nose is one reason for loss of sense of smell.
Another reason is disruption of the nerve signals from the top front of the nose (olfactory cleft) to the back of the brain. This is a neurogenic source of loss of sense of smell.
Nasal obstruction which leads to loss of sense of smell can be related to recurrent sinusitis, allergic rhinitis , nasal polyps, or nasal masses /tumors.
Neurogenic sources can be related to viral infections (even the common cold virus), in rare cases medication side effects, nasal masses or tumors, brain tumors, or head trauma. Approximately 15% of cases of head trauma can lead to loss of sense of smell.
Nasal obstruction sources can sometimes be treated with medications. Imaging such as a CT scan of the skull base or MRI of the brain is often ordered in the work up of anosmia. Nasal endoscopy is also often performed to look at the inside of the nose especially the roof of the nose.
Please call for an appointment if you are experiencing loss of sense of smell or taste.