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What causes loss in sense of smell and taste ?

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ENT Specialist
Practicing since : 2003
Answered : 709 Questions
My mom is aged 58 and since last 1 month she is complaining that she has lost her sense of smell and taste . She had consulted and ENT specialist, however there is no improvement. What can be the probable cause and what are the line of treatment
Posted Sat, 1 Feb 2014 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Rajkishori Godhi 40 minutes later
Brief Answer: more details Detailed Answer: Hi XXXX, There are many causes for loss of sense of smell. If you can furnish a few details i can help you. Please answer the following questions. 1) Any history if upper respiratory tract infection just before losss of smell. History of any other infections. 2) Any history of head injury prior to the complaints. 3) Any history of nose block, running, allergy of nose, bleeding from nose. 4) Any history of epilepsy or migraine. Awaiting your response, Dr Rajkishori.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What causes loss in sense of smell and taste ? 44 minutes later
Thank You, Doctor. To answer your queries : 1 & 3) She always complains of nose block during night, and it is more of a feeling because when she tries to blow her nose nothing comes out. Sometimes sneezing is also there. The doctor whom she visited told her that she might have an allergy and had given her anti allergy tablet along with some mild antibiotics. However, there is no improvement. 2) She had an head injury around 6 years back, when she slipped and fell down and hit top most part of her head on a slab. She got some 3 stitches, however, at that time it was told that it was a superficial injury. 4) No history of epilepsy or migraine. However, her current doctor suspects sinusitis Regards Lekha
Answered by Dr. Rajkishori Godhi 1 hour later
Brief Answer: nasal endoscopy. Detailed Answer: Hi XXXX, Thanks for the answers. First i would like to tell something about nose block. All types of nose block get worse on lying down because congestion increases which inturn increases nose block. Nose block cannot always be cleared by blowing. If the nose block is because of swelling inside the nose or growths inside the nose then it wont be relieved by blowing. Since your mother has nose block at night there is a possibility that your mother has polyps in her nose. Polyps are grape like fluid filled structures. Polyps produce symptoms like running nose, blockage and loss of sense of smell. Organ for the sense of smell is located in the roof of the nose. Polyps arising in that area block airflow to the roof thereby causing loss of smell but may not produce significant nose block. Polyps are sometimes missed during routine ENT examination because they may higher up where they are not vsisble to direct examination. A nasal endoscopy is needed to rule oup polyps. Its a simple OPD procedure done routinely in ENT OPDs. Please ask your ENT for it. I do not think that the head injury has anything to do with her present complaints. All said and done in a large percentage of people the cause for loss of smell remains unknown. With all investigations and examinations we are many times unable to determine the cause. The cause remains idiopathic. Regarding the treatment. If the loss of smell is due to mechanical blockage of airflow like polyps then with removal of the block sense of smell will be regained. But if the cause remains undetremined as it is in most cases then there is no treatment. With time there may be some improvement but complete recovery may not happen. Her loss of taste is related to loss of smell. It is just a feeling. Her taste i am sure is fine but since she has no smell she feels that her taste is affected as well. Feel free to follow up. Regards, Dr Rajkishori.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What causes loss in sense of smell and taste ? 58 minutes later
thank you very much doctor for your advice. Regards Lekha
Answered by Dr. Rajkishori Godhi 1 hour later
Brief Answer: Acknowledged Detailed Answer: hi XXXX Thanks for the query. Get well soon Regards Dr Rajkishori
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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