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What should I do to get the smell of perfume out of my nose?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 1991
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About 3 weeks ago my nose suddenly smell some kind of smell like perfume or sandalwood for the whole day. Initially I thought it was emitted from my computer because I was sitting around it for the whole day but later when I went to other parts of my house as well as going to my office which is 10 miles away, I still continue having the same smell. And mind you, even when I went into the toilet to pass motion, I still couldn't run away from this perfume smell. as far as I remembered, I don't have any history of running nose or any sorts of nose problems for the past so many years. In fact inorder to ascertain that I didn't imagine it, I did asked everybody inside my house about the smell but except me, nobody else has smelled it.
The one strange part about this smell sensation is that if I concentrate on smelling it, the smell seems to be so much more intense and fragrant but if I forget about it or care less about it, the smell seems to have disappeared. However the minute i remember about it or concentrate on finding out where the smell has gone to, it appears immediately.

This is really strange! Hopeully you will be able to help me to find out the causes asap?

Thanks and regards XXXXXXX
Posted Sun, 16 Dec 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 4 hours later

Thank you for your query.

1. Parosmia / Cacosmia or an altered smell like sandalwood may be experienced due to an number of reasons such as:
a. Nasal infections and chronic sinusitis.
b. Damage to the olfactory system due to any severe infection, head injury, exposure to solvents and volatile chemicals. What is your occupation?
c. Metabolic diseases such as hypothyroidism, liver dysfunction. Do you smoke or have alcohol? Have you undergone blood tests?
d. Rarely, degenerative brain disorders such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. Have you ever suffered from Epilepsy?
e. Drug induced: You are taking multiple drugs which have nasal and neurological side effects. Discuss and review your medication with a physician.

2. Due to their unique design, airflow through our sinuses and their ventilation occurs gently and passively during expiration. This may explain why you get the smell irregularly.

3. Hence the first step will be to rule out the above by a visit to an ENT Specialist.

4. Get a general check-up done as many diseases such as diabetes, liver diseases, nasal polyps, tumors and so on should be ruled out.

5. The sinuses may harbor silent infection. Fungal infections may exist only within the sinuses (as against invasive fungal infections) and yet cause allergic reactions. This constitutes Allergic Fungal Rhino Sinusitis (AFRS). Such fungal infections may be missed out on CT Scans and requires MRI Scans to detect. If there is nasal and sinus inflammation you may take a trial of treatment including antibiotics, anti-allergic decongestants, saline nasal washes, mouthwashes, tongue cleaning, anti-reflux medication and probiotics.

6. If no cause is found, it may be a an olfactory hallucination. This a commonly seen with damage to the olfactory mucosa or olfactory bulb and tract, esp. some years after a head injury. This will show up on imaging such as CT/MRI. Do you have any occupational exposure to extreme cold, constant air conditioning or chemicals? Conditions like atrophic rhinitis, post nasal drip and acid reflux may also co-exist.

7. You may follow up with the answers to the above questions, results of the above investigations and treatment for further recommendations.

I hope that I have answered your queries. If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

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