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HELP!! change in sense of smell
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HELP!! change in sense of smell

Posted by Cathy on May 08, 1999 at 09:26:31
My sister has had a change in her sense of smell.  Things that should smell bad, such as changing her baby's diaper, don't bother her but things that should smell good, such as soap, perfume, sented candles smell like the most horrible smell in the world times 10.  She also has been having headaches that make her feel like her head is going to explode.  Her doctor says he has never heard of it but says he thinkd it is a sinus infection (her sinus doesn't seem to be bothering her) and hasn't ordered any tests.  Anyone ever heard of this?  

Posted by CCF MD mdf on May 08, 1999 at 10:57:06
There are some neurological conditions which cause loss of sense of smell, and there are other conditions which result in olfactory hallucinations (smelling things that are not there). But alteration is difficult to interpret. The headaches may be a clue - I don't have enough information to be able to determine if these are migraines, sinus headaches, etc.
If she has not seen a neurologist, she may desire to try that. The neurologist may or may not be able to figure out the olfactory distortions, but can approach the diagnosis and treatment of the headache. I wonder if the headaches are treated (regardless of what type they are), perhaps the smell will be OK.
I hope this helps. CCF MD mdf.
Posted by bbb on June 17, 1999 at 23:36:10
Has she been tested for Lymes disease?

Posted by Richard Leonard on July 18, 1999 at 18:36:25
I recycle broken glass mixed with garbage.  About two months ago I lost some of my sense of smell, and such smells as smoke now smell exactly like the sweet smell of the waste I am processing.  Also many foods now taste exactly like the smell of the waste, especially cholate.  Other foods taste the same as they always did.  Tomato juice, and foods with a tomato base taste like they always did.  What can I do?  My doctor thought the source of the problem might be associated with sinus trouble.  The lower sinus area was full, but after clearing them the problem still remains.  Do you have any suggestions?
Richard Leonard  

Posted by CCF Neuro[P] MD, RPS on July 19, 1999 at 21:20:17
Dear Richard:
It is difficult to tell you what is going on.  I am assuming that otherwise you are and have been in good health with no chronic neurological or general health problems.  Epilepsy can give you altered smell, it is a type of epilepsy called partial epilepsy.  Viral illnesses can alter the sense of smell for a short time.  Stroke can alter the sense of smell.  Atypical migraine can also give you a change.  Unless you have epilepsy or stroke, the majority of time it does come back.  There are some systemic illnesses such as Kalliman's syndrome where you have precocious puberty and the loss of smell, but I am assuming that this would not fit your case.  If you notice that the smell of things change where you have normal smell then the loss, I would check into epilepsy as a possibility.  But if not, give it some time and I bet it will return.  
CCF Neuro MD

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