Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Why Am I Losing My Sense of Smell?

Friday, 05 Apr 2013 09:50 AM

By Peter Hibberd, M.D.

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Question: About four months ago I lost my sense of taste and smell, and now I always smell a rotten odor. I don’t have allergies or use drugs, I am not on medication, and have no infections. What could be causing this?

Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
 
The loss of smell must be evaluated further. Intact smell is essential for proper taste sensation, and your loss of taste deserves evaluation also. First, see a doctor to determine which of your senses are still functioning.
 
Start with your sense of smell. The rotten odor may be from nerve damage, or reflect an infection, or even a cancerous condition. Our smell sensation comes from nerve fibers that reside in our nose. While acute or chronic sinus infection and drainage may reduce our sense of smell, so will localized tumors and malignancy. Request a referral to an ear, nose, and throat specialist (an otolaryngologist) for further evaluation, or go to a primary care physician who will listen to you and evaluate to your concerns more efficiently.
 
Have your taste loss evaluated further by the ENT. In the meantime, you would be wise to stop smoking, if you use tobacco, and reduce your exposure to solvents or irritants that may be contributing to your sensory losses.


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Dr. Hibberd's advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital work in emergency medicine and surgery.
 
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