Loss of Sense of Smell

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by romalaw, Mar 25, 2007.

  1. romalaw

    romalaw Member

    Has anyone out there experienced as loss in their sense of smell? I have, along with a distortion of my sense of smell, feels like an odor will get 'stuck' and I will continue to smell it even after I'm away from the source.
  2. jole

    jole Member

    Mine comes and goes, but is usually very mild compared to "before". I always loved scented candles, and now I can barely smell them on good days, and some days not at all.

    There are also days that I will smell something and not know what it is, when no one else can. That is usually a bad scent.

    Seems this DD takes away so many pleasures for us!!
  3. romalaw

    romalaw Member

    thanks for your response, mine comes and goes too but it seems to be getting worse. I also can't tolerate certain scents, candles, perfumes,etc., but I experience more in my breathing, as in gasping for air.

    Kinda worries me since I've read losing the sense of smell is an early sign of Alzheimers. Cheery thought!!
  4. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    Congratulations -- you may have anosmia, which is just a fancy way of saying that you've lost your sense of smell. Or, you could be hyposmic, which means your sense of smell is greatly diminished. There is another word for distortion of the sense of smell as well, but I can't remember it.

    I completely lost my sense of smell after a virus -- probably the same one that contributed to this crappy CFS. I mean it was completely GONE...I had reduced sense of taste as well. I got rather scared when I fixed myself a sandwich and it tasted 'metallic'. I had my husband taste it, and he spit it out...seems as if the mustard had gone bad, and I didn't even know!

    There was a true sense of loss and grief at the time. Very few people understand how fully smell is integrated into our lives. Apart from the obvious, life-saving aspects (being able to smell fire, or knowing if there is a smell of natural gas), our sense of smell connects us with the people and events around us. I could hold my son close, but I couldn't smell his newly-washed hair (or his dirty diaper!). Food lost a lot of its appeal. My ENT was absolutely no help (for sympathy or cure). If you suddenly lost your sight, I imagine a team of doctors would attempt to move mountains, but your sense of smell, well, it's definitely seen as a 'lesser' sense, unfortunately.

    If you are experiencing smell distortions, to my mind it is similar to all of a sudden seeing everything upside-down, or in different colors. Your nose is not giving you correct information any more!

    If you Google anosmia, hyposmia, etc., you will find some information, perhaps even a discussion group. I remember it being rather comforting back then to know that I wasn't alone. Some people are born without, some people lose it in an accident, and many (probably like you) experience it after a virus or similar. There are drugs that may contribute to this as well. I know there are a couple of doctors studying anosmia, and you might even find a clinic that could help. It's been probably 8 years for me, so you'll have to do some digging on your own.

    My sense of smell was very acute before I lost it. After about a year of being without, I noticed that I started smelling cigarette smoke for days on end. I couldn't get rid of it (and it is one of my all-time LEAST favorite smells). But after a couple of weeks, it would fade, and I noticed that I could smell something I hadn't smelled in a long time...like orange, or detergent, or something. A few weeks would pass, and the cycle would repeat.

    Now I'm probably considered 'normal' in my sense of smell, although I'd say that I am perhaps 80% of my former ability.

    I'm sorry that you are experiencing this. You can find information online, and if you are taking any medications, see if you can cross them off the list of ones that interfere with smell, just to be safe. If you aren't already doing it, look into nasal irrigation, but don't be aggressive about practicing it. You don't want to irritate, just cleanse. I believe that there are certain supplements that researchers may recommend as well. I'm sorry I can't be more specific, but it has been some time for me.
    [This Message was Edited on 03/25/2007]
  5. kellyann

    kellyann New Member

    Sadly, I have never had a sense of smell. I wish I did. It would come in handly with 2 little ones in diapers. I have to keep checking them constantly. I never get to smell flowers or food or anything. I can't smell fire, gas..etc. My vision isn't the greatest either. But boy, my hearing is terrific. My kids learned long ago not to mutter something under their breath in another room because I'd hear them! weird how the body works.
    Take Care!
    Kellyann
  6. romalaw

    romalaw Member

    Thanks everyone for your responses, it helps to hear others' experiences. Yes, loss of smell really does affect your quality of life, what a gift it is that we take for granted. I can remember when I was first married many many years ago, how I loved the smell of my husband's shirts and would sleep with one when he was out of town. Now he can be right next to me and I can't smell a thing!!! Smell is so related to physical attraction.

    Smell adds a dimension to life and a richness that is hard to describe, life feels somehow flater without it.

    As I said, it's also distorted, I also get phantom odors, that linger, usually not good ones--burned coffee grounds comes to mine. But my other senses are also distorted at times, hearing, seeing and touch.

    I can see some of you have the same experiences, must be related to a neurological dysfunction.