What’s Causing Your Loss Of Smell (Anosmia)?

Blog Synopsis:

  • Losing your sense of smell, either partially or completely, can be troublesome if you don’t know the cause.
  • Although rare, the complete loss of smell (anosmia) may be a symptom of a serious condition that requires medical attention.
  • The physicians at AOC are educating patients about the possible causes of anosmia.

More often than not, losing your sense of smell is a temporary occurrence that is directly related to a cold or the flu. Anosmia is an unusual condition that can cause the partial or complete loss of smell. In rare instances, a complete loss of smell can happen, which may indicate the presence of a serious condition.

While a partial or complete loss of smell may not sound serious or life-threatening, it’s important to note a sense of smell is necessary to taste and enjoy food. This condition may encourage a ripple effect of poor eating habits, resulting in unintended weight loss, malnutrition, and depression.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to determine the exact cause of anosmia without being evaluated by a medical professional. As we mentioned previously, the most common cause of this condition is the cold or flu. Other common ailments that may lead to a loss of smell include acute sinusitis, hay fever, non-allergic rhinitis, or an obstruction in the nasal passages (i.e. bone deformity, nasal polyps, tumors, etc.). Still, these conditions usually only cause a temporary loss of smell.

A permanent loss of smell is usually a sign your olfactory system, which provides your sense of smell, has been severely damaged. Patients can lose their sense of smell if any area of the olfactory pathway is partially damaged or destroyed. To take it a step further, there are a number of underlying conditions that can cause damage to your olfactory system. For starters, simple things like aging, malnutrition, medications, and a zinc deficiency can lead to the partial or complete loss of smell.

Other, more serious conditions can also cause anosmia, such as:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Brain aneurysm
  • Diabetes
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease

There are a number of rare disorders that can cause a loss of smell as a symptom. These conditions include the following:

  • Kallmann’s syndrome
  • Klinefelter syndrome
  • Korsakoff’s psychosis
  • Paget’s disease of bone
  • Schizophrenia
  • Sjogren’s syndrome 

It is clear there are many, many different diseases and ailments that can cause anosmia, which is why it is critical for people with this symptom to seek treatment from a trained professional. Call 602-264-4834 to request an appointment at AOC today! 

Arizona Otolaryngology Consultants (AOC) is a comprehensive ENT clinic that provides care for all diseases of the ears, nose, throat, and sinuses. The physicians at AOC have the highest level of training and expertise in ENT care and ENT subspecialty care, which includes the management of pediatric airway, cancer, skull base surgery, advanced head and neck surgical and reconstructive procedures, craniofacial surgery and more. Call 602-264-4834 to request an appointment today!

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.

Return to blog