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Everything smells and tastes like chemicals!
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Everything smells and tastes like chemicals!

I am a woman in my early 40s, and I have been suffering from a rare disease/infection, which is hard to describe. One year ago I lost my sense of smell and taste after a bad cold or flu.I can smell and taste things, but everything smells and taste like chemicals. I have ... [More] tried several doctors and dentits, but none of them can help me find a cure or any medicine which helps. If any one has the same symptoms or any information, please be kind and contact me ! Thanks!


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Avatar_n_tn
I am also in my 40's and have the same problem as you. I started with a head cold in early May. I finally went to the ENT doctor in Early Aug. (this month). He put me on prednisone, for six days,  and a cortisone nose spray. I was afraid to do the prednisone so I started with the nose spray. It did not help actually made the smell more chemical. So then I decided to do the prednisone which helped to flare up a different condition I have. My regular dr. told me to stop taking it immediately. (My husband is actually a physician as well and was in agreement). I was almost done with the prednisone anyway. It did not help my nose either.  I am currently taking Amoxicillin and Flagyl for the condition the prednisone helped flare up on me. These antibiotics don't seem to be having any effect on the nose either. I was supposed to go back to the ENT this week but was to sick from the other condition to go. I will reschedule. His recommendation next will be to have CT scan. Probably to rule out a tumor.  
  At my original appt. with the ENT, he told me he was sure, (before looking in my nose/sinuses), that I had polyps and/or infection. I had neither.
  Most things I cannot smell at all. However any change my surrounding area triggers this chemical smell. Like if someone walks by with perfume, the whole shower routine, shampoo, conditioners, soaps, toothpaste, the air conditioner kicking on, enter another building etc.. My sense of taste is also effected. Cola tastes especially bad. However, taste is not near as effected as my sense of smell. Too bad, I'd love to loose a few pounds!
Just wanted to let you know your not alone...there is some comfort in that. I also wanted to let you know what treatments I have tried that did not work. I know this post is quite awhile since yours. I do hope you are better.
Take Care,
TJ
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Avatar_n_tn
I am a 24 year old female and I have been dealing with a similar issue for about a year and a half. Certain foods or products seem to trip this for me and then this gross smell will just linger in my nose for however long it decides to stay there. It is a slightly chemical smell...very strange and affects the taste of my food and has diminished the quality of my life. I too was given prednisone and nasal spray by an ENT and they did nothing. The only thing I have found to be helpful is sinus/nasal irrigation, I would recommend you try it!

-Erika
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Avatar_f_tn
I also am a 36 yr old female, and having all the same symptoms you all are talking about it.  I had a cold 4 months ago and lost my taste and smell.  I took some afrin to get my senses back.  They started to come back very slowly.  In the past few weeks have noticed strange smell, and taste with everything.  Thought it was just in my house until I noticed it was everywhere I went..work..grocery store..etc.
If any of you can give advice on what to do??  Or something that has worked for you or been diagnosed??  I greatly appreciate it!  thanks!
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Avatar_n_tn
I frequently have something similar to what it sounds like you have.  Something seems to "trip" mine too and it just messes up.  Everything then has the same smell and taste, which is really hard to describe.  It's very annoying and actually puts me in a bad mood.  Mine doesn't seem to happen from certain foods or anything though.  It sometimes just happens out of the blue, and then other times it happens if I breathe in or out a little harder than usual.  I haven't went to the doctor about it because it's so hard to describe.  Once it messes up, it usually lasts 2-4 hours...sometimes more, sometimes less.  It is occurring more often and I don't know what to do or what it could be.  My friends and family know that if I say that my nose is messed up, I probably won't be eating because nothing is going to taste right.  It was triggered about an hour ago, so I finally decided to try to search for answers, which is why I'm writing this.  Any information anyone could provide would be helpful.  -And for the record, I've never had any sort of allergies, asthma, or any nose problems...except that I was hit with a softball about 20 years ago.  
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Avatar_n_tn
This is an update from tlj429:  It's been a year now and I am no better with my sense of smell and taste. The CT scan, as mentioned above, came back negative, no tumors. The smell has changed a bit now in addition to the sweet sickening chemical smell, I smell a garlicy chemical smell a lot. Sometimes I even vomit in the shower because of the shampoo and soap smells being so sickeningly sweet and strong. I really have given up treatments and just hope it will go away. Have not being able to smell nice things. On the up side though, I cannot smell really bad smells like bad breath, bathroom odors etc...
My daughter gave me some hope recently. She read an article in a magazine a few months back, (don't know which one), that a lady had this for four years and woke up one morning and it was completely gone.
Hang in there, that's about all I know to do at this point :)
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Avatar_f_tn
I'm so happy that I found this!  I think its from afrin. Its been about 8 months and I can't smell anything. Used afrin for a few weeks.  Then developed a little sore in the tip of my nose. Stopped using afrin immediately & It went away   . Now i cant smell at all ..just that weird chemical , garlic ,permanent wave solution smell. Its awful!! & im always stuffy .I also have been having alot of odd pimples . I see from another thread that is could be the smell of infection.  I think I'm going to go to the dr and get some antibiotic for sinus infection.  
The shower smells like tlj429 said makes me laugh because my shampoo and face soap smell so terrible!!  I'm very upset about this because I had a great sense of smell. My friends would poke fun at how sensitive my smell was.. not anymore.  I can't smell a thing :(
I hope we find a solution!!
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Avatar_m_tn
Just a quick note. My issue also started with Anosmia(loss of smell) and changed to Dysomia(Distorted sense of smell) after a few months. I have kicked up my Vitamin C intake to 2 grams after dinner along with Zinc 50-100mg and green coffee bean tablets Along with multivitamin during the day. Seems to be helping. Sorry the following is a bit gross-I recently trimmed nose hairs to have better look at sinuses and noticed right side of nasal septum (area dividing each side of sinus openings) is red and also seems to have white sticky substance being excreted in small but noticable amounts. I too flush sinuses daily. I will insist on a nasal swab from either doc or ENT to see what is up. Maybe bacteria lingering in the opening that is overpowering other smells? I also wonder if Atrophic Sinusitus could be a factor here. For now I will use triple anitbiotic on both sides of septum and inside of nose. Hopefully not MRSA or similar. Looking at our symptoms it seems atrophic rhinitis may be another possiblility. I have had allergies all my life and live in an area that aggrevates them. I see that most if not all of you do not have allergies. Hope this helps someone out there with this issue.
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Avatar_m_tn
You may have already discovered this, but they do have unscented products.  I have the same problem, except no scent loss.  The sweet chemical smell is in almost everything except the most natural things, and it's still in some of that too!  

I bought my husband some unscented body wash, because the smell of the nasty soap on him was too much for my stomach.  Guess what?  I tried it in the shower and the only smell it had was the chemicals, minus the sweet!  Good lord!  

Choosing a shampoo/body wash is now something I completely dread... I have to smell each one I consider getting, which used to be fun.  It is now something wrought with the uncertainty of not knowing which ones will make you almost get sick.. but it is a step you can't miss unless you do in fact want to vomit in the shower by bringing the wrong one home.

I just wanted to offer a the few I have had success with, and I do mean a few out of the thousands of body products in this world.  My favorite so far is the Milk Creek Botanicals Biotin shampoo.  I just discovered it and it smells minty, not sure if you can handle that but it's mild smelling.  They have a few other kinds under that brand worth giving the sniff test.  I also recommend taking the entire cap off to smell it, not just clicking the tab open for a whiff as I have been deceived by this method.

The other one is what's called a "non-soap", which sounds weird but actually makes sense once you read how it works.  It's NutriBiotic's Super Shower Gel.... I bought the Vanilla Chai scent, which I later regretted due to it being too sweet, but they offer a fragrance free variety which I may get next time.  It can also be used as shampoo, which is good is you have oily hair or scalp, or it will dry it a little without conditioner.  It can also be used on your face.

These are literally the only 2 products I have found that don't smell like something I shouldn't put on my body or that won't make my stomach turn.  Other than that, the only moisturizer I can stand to smell now is raw cocoa butter, which smells like pure delicious chocolate to me, but isn't the easiet thing to apply to skin... I used to love the smell of coconut oil, but it smells sort of like fuel to me mildly now.... *sigh* but I still use it after showers since I can't find a non-disgusting smelling lotion yet other than cocoa butter for my face.  Most shea butter or coca butter lotions smell kind of okay to me if they are on the more natural side.

This is only my 2nd or 3rd month with this nose/taste issue so who knows...  But I can say this, I feel your pain and all we can do is try to minimize our own discomforts.  These bath products have helped make my routine more enjoyable at home, so maybe you can find some things that you can tolerate as well.  Cleaning products also really bug me now, so I found that the unscented, natural $1 baby wipes work to clean almost anything, from bathroom to kitchen.  

By the way, I'm turning 29 soon and these symptoms appeared after having super bad flu for the first time since childhood....or at least that's the only thing that makes sense to me for the time frame.  I also had been living in a big city right next to downtown (increased pollution perhaps?) for several months at this point and sleep with windows open.  I don't know if that makes a difference, but I tell you, the smell of cars exhaust almost makes me straight pass out now....  UGH!

Anyways, good luck to everyone who has to deal with this crap!
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I just had a CT scan today that appeared normal.  The only thing I can eat and not cringe at the taste or smell is lettuce.  My cold was in May lost all smell and taste from it.  After a couple of months it started coming back but like you everything tastes and smell awful.  I have lost 15lbs so far which is good but I long to eat and enjoy food again!  A friend suggested my zinc level may be low.  Anyway with the CT normal he ordered blood test and is scheduling me an MRI appoitment.  I use a neti-pot but that hasn't helped.  He took another culture today because the first culture grew bacteria.  He also had me on Amox pills and a nasal spray.  All they did was add more bad symptoms instead of curing anything so I quit them.  I am making myself eat now because you can't live on just lettuce but it's not a very good life.  I even dread washing my hair the products that used to love to smell makes me cringe now.  I can't go to restaurants because I can't stand to smell the food cooking.  Prayers for a cure for all of us soon!!
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Avatar_m_tn
Yep, I have the exact same thing, except I have no idea what might have triggered it. I just woke up one morning, and my taste and smell were all distorted. This is probably silly, but I assumed I might have caught something odd from a random girl I was making out with the night before. In hindsight, I don't believe that was the issue (thank goodness! Take my smell and taste but, for God's sake, don't take women from me). Anyways, have had it for about 3 months now. Recently developed a bad sinus infection, and told my doctor about it. She said it was likely from the sinus issues (even though they were three months apart). I took Augmentin and a nosespray (Astepro). The meds are now done, and the sinus infection appears to have cleared, but the odd smell and taste are still there.
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