Some people may experience a loss of olfactory and tasting functions for several days or weeks after a cold. The inflammatory process can also cause an olfactory defect. These include various types of rhinitis, such as allergic rhinitis, acute rhinitis, or toxic rhinitis. Another factor that can also cause this is the presence of age-related factors that occur due to the presence of a slightly disturbed sense.
Usually, the impaired sense of smell is a symptom of some medical conditions that usually take place temporarily. However, this condition can also be a permanent condition if not addressed immediately.
Kinds of Olfactory Disorder
- Anosmia: cannot detect odor
- Hyposmia: decreased ability to detect odor
- Dysosmia: odor distortion identification
- Parosmia: changes in perception of the smell despite the source of the smell, usually unpleasant odor.
- Phantosmia: odor perception without any source of odor
- Agnosia: cannot mention or distinguish odor, although the patient can detect odor.
The interruption of the scans may be total (all odors), partial (only some odors), or specific (only one or a small number of odors).One of the most common types of olfactory disorders is panthosmia.
Phantosmia is a condition that causes you to smell odors that aren’t actually present. When this happens, it’s sometimes called an olfactory hallucination. People who suffer from panthosmia will always smell bad even though the source of the odor does not exist. This kind of smelling hallucination may not life threatening but it can be worse if happen for a long period.
What Cause Phantosmia?
In general, the main causes of olfactory disorders are diseases of the nasal cavity and / or sinus, prior to upper respiratory tract infections due to virus and head trauma.
Nose-related phantosmia causes include:
- Common colds: While nose disorders such as nasal congestion or excessive mucus will cause the nose cannot smell the aroma well. Phantosmia that occurs in this condition is temporary and will recover after the condition of the body improves.
- Allergies: Rhinitis caused by allergies to various stimuli can also cause phantosmia.
- Sinus infections: Chronic sinus disease causes progressive mucosal disease and is often accompanied by a decrease in vascular function despite aggressive medical, allergic and surgical interventions.
- Irritation from smoking or poor air quality: People who have a smoking habit can also develop phantosmia. This is because when a lot of cigarette smoke inhaled through the nose to the respiratory tract also makes the nerves in the section weakened.
- Nasal polyps: The presence of a mass / tumor can clog the nasal cavity thus blocking the odorant flow to the olfactory epithelium. The disorders include nasal polyps (most often), inverting papilloma, and malignancy.
Other common causes of phantosmia include:
- Upper respiratory infections: The disorders include viral infection (which damages the neuroepithel), sarcoidosis (affecting the nervous structure), Wegener granulomatosis, and multiple sclerosis.
- Dental problems
- Exposure to neurotoxins (substances that are toxic to the nervous system, such as lead or mercury): The inhalation of chemicals can damage not only the sense of smell, but can also damage the brain. That being said, it’s not surprising that this can lead to phantosmia.
- Radiation treatment for throat or brain cancerhead injury: Phantosmia is one of the unavoidable effects of the radiotherapy process performed on the nasal passage. But within a certain time after the therapy is complete then the nerve can return to normal and can heal from anosmia.
- Brain tumor
- neuroblastoma: if a neuroblastoma is the cause, it could be aesthesioneuroblastoma. A brain tumor that would cause you to smelling cigarette smoke or burning material would usually be located in the temporal lobe of the brain.
- Parkinson’s disease:Parkinson’s disease is a type of disease that attacks the nervous system. In more severe conditions then this disease will cause the body does not get paralysis including the inability to smell or taste.
- Alzheimer’s disease: In the case of Alzheimer’s disease, loss of olfactory function is sometimes the first symptom of the disease process. In line with the aging process, the reduced hearing function is more severe than the tasting function, where the decline appears most prominently during the seventh-decade age.
Diagnosis of Olfactory Disorder
The first stage in diagnosing is an anamnesis and a thorough physical examination. Perform a CT scan if deemed necessary. do an MRI examination if the history of the disease does not support or find secondary symptoms and neurologic signs.
When You Need to Visit Doctor?
If you occassionally smelling smoke, or another foul odor for no reason, don’t panic and assume that you have a serious disease too fast. This is a common problem and is often become a result of non-serious causes including sinus infection. The symptom will soon disappear once the disease healed.
If you notice symptoms for more than a day or two or after you totally healed from cold or sinus contact your doctor to rule out any underlying causes that need advanced treatment.
Diagnosing phantosmia usually involves finding out the underlying cause. Your doctor will likely start diagnose with a physical exam that focuses on your nose, ears, head, and neck. You’ll be asked whether you smell them in one or both nostrils, and how long the odors tend to stick around.
If your doctor suspects a nose-related cause, they may do an endoscopy, which involves using a small camera called an endoscope to get a better look at the inside of your nasal cavity. If these exams don’t point to a specific cause, you may need an MRI scan or CT scan to rule out any neurological conditions that may occur.
How to Treat Phantosmia?
Treatment of olfactory & tasting abnormalities can be with the nutritional consumption required by our body. The best herbal nutrients are those containing Amino Acids, Trace Minerals, Vitamins and Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF). Components that the body needs to repair cell body damage due to disease or due to degenerative factors.
Available treatments include nasal saline drops, antidepressants, antiseizure medications, and sedatives,using oxymetazoline spray to reduce nasal congestion or by using an anesthetic spray to numb your olfactory nerve cells. If all else fails and patients can no longer deal with the unwelcome smell, surgery to sever parts of the olfactory nerves can help resolve the problem.
Phantosmia due to a cold, sinus infection, or respiratory infection should go away on its own once the illness clears up. Treating neurological causes of phantosmia are more complicated, and there are many options, depending on the type of condition and its location (for example, in the case of a tumor or neuroblastoma).
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