Smell Disorders

The sense of smell allows living things to detect and identify certain odors. It forms part of the body’s chemical sensing system. The sense of smell or the olfactory system is usually closely associated with the sense of taste.

Olfactory nerve cells found in the nose, can be stimulated by the odors around us. These cells send signals to the brain as it becomes stimulated by certain odor molecules to elicit a certain reaction. The sense of smell can be influenced by the other senses as it also influences them.

Types of smell disorders

People who suffer from certain smell disorders may experience total loss or partial inability to determine or perceive certain odors as well as the changes that may happen.

  • Hyposmia – which is a condition where people experience a reduction in their ability to detect odors. 
  • Anosmia – which refers to the inability to detect any odors.
  • Other smell disorders – where people seem to have a distorted perception of certain odors that is quite different in the normal sense. People with this disorder can find a certain odor offensive that to normal senses of smell would be perceived as pleasant.

Causes of smell disorders

There can be various reasons why people suffer from smell disorders. Some can be quite clear while some can be quite puzzling.

  • Injury affecting the nose or the brain may cause a person to suffer from a smell disorder.
  • An illness can also cause one to suffer from a certain smell disorder.
  • Chemicals such as insecticides and solvents.
  • Certain treatments that make use of radiation can also be a probable cause of smell disorders in some people.
  • Other known causes include polyp growth in the nasal cavity, sinus infections as well as hormonal disturbances.

How to treat smell disorders?

Treatment for smell disorders usually depend on what caused it. If the cause by come from abnormal polyp growth inside the nasal cavity, surgery to remove them may help treat the disorder.

For those diagnosed to have smell disorders cause by certain chemicals or by taking certain medications, avoiding or changing the medicine would work to ease its effect on one’s sense of smell.