Anosmia is a condition in which there is complete loss of smell. Many people who suffer from this condition are not taken very seriously. First person accounts of people with this problem tell how they are brushed off, sometimes even by doctors, thinking that is a seemingly minuscule defect. What many don't realize, is that in case of a gas leak or a fire, the most dangerous disorder to have is anosmia. So, if you know someone who suffers from this condition, take it seriously and get them help.
*Disclaimer: This article is purely for information purposes and must not be used as a substitute for medical advice.
What is Anosmia?
Anosmia prevents one from identifying any odor due to a problem with the olfactory nerves. Olfactory nerves are the ones which help us to perceive odors. If there is a problem with the olfactory receptor neurons, the person will not be able to smell anything. This could lead to unfavorable and, at times, even dangerous situations.
- Anosmia may be temporary or permanent. Temporary anosmia can be due to a nasal congestion or a sinus infection. Permanent anosmia can occur if there is severe damage to the olfactory nerves.
- It can also be a genetic disorder. This condition is called congenital anosmia.
- It can also be caused if the person suffers a severe head trauma, in which the sense organs are affected.
- Nasal polyps, tumors and other medical conditions like Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease can also be responsible for it.
- Zinc deficiency, Foster Kennedy Syndrome, etc., are other causes.
- Cadmium poisoning and use of unsuitable nasal sprays can also cause this disorder.
The most basic symptom of anosmia is that the person cannot sense any smell. You can confirm this by asking him to close his eyes, placing a bowl of coffee beans under his nose and asking him to identify it. If he cannot identify the coffee, it means he could have anosmia. Given below are some options that could give relief from this condition.
- Castor Oil: This is a cure for sinus related anosmia. Put a drop of castor oil in your nostrils just before going to bed and immediately after waking up. This remedy works gradually and may take about a week before you feel its effect.
- Prescription Drugs: This is another cure related to a chronic nasal congestion or infection. Visit the doctor and take the necessary pills that he prescribes. In case of an inflammation, use a good nasal spray. For allergic anosmia due to fungal infections, use anti fungal medication.
- Quit Smoking: Yes, quitting smoking is an important way to deal with anosmia. It can help to clear any nasal congestion and improve the breathing cycle of the person.
- Infection Treatment: When you know for sure what the cause of your anosmia is, treat that illness first. The anosmia will get cured by default. For instance, if you have it due to sinus infections or common cold, get the sinus infection treated and your anosmia might get cured.
- Nasal Sprays and Antibiotics: Some nasal sprays can be used for the removal of inflammation or nasal polyps. Antibiotics are another way of getting rid of nasal infections or polyps. However, excessive use of these nasal sprays must be avoided as this may aggravate the condition.
- Surgery: If nasal sprays and antibiotics do not help in removal of the nasal polyps, surgery is another option to cure anosmia. The nasal polyps can be removed using either of two procedures; namely, polypectomy, which involves the suction of the polyp, and endoscopic sinus surgery, in which a tube, injection and other instruments are used to extract the polyp.
- Supplements: Since this disorder is caused due to a deficiency of zinc, zinc supplements together with vitamins and beta carotene are also an option.
Unfortunately, in the case of congenital anosmia, a cure might not be possible. Otherwise, the above-mentioned options are the most widely used ones to cure it. Remember, do not use any drugs or any kind of medication without the express instructions of your physician. You may end up harming yourself further.