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Phantom Smells
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Phantom Smells

I have had these olfactory hallucinations for at least 6 months now and they seem to be getting worse. I smell paint, coffee and cigarettes burning. Now Im smelling burnt citrus (thats the only way to explain it).  When I smell the cigarettes, I actually feel a burning/stinging in my nose and throat. I went to an excellent nuerologist and went for an EEG which is negative. Today is an MRI with and without contrast. I am a nervous wreck. When I initially went to my internist for my yearly check up, she took bloodwork and the results showed for the second time IgA deficient. The first time we found IgA deficiency was at a Gastro Drs visit 2 months ago. I have IBS-D but under NO meds at all for it. What could this be? I am also not able to enjoy foods the way I use to. They taste  less flavorful lately.  Thank you for all that can help.
Tags: smells, iga, IBS
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Avatar_dr_m_tn
Thanks for using the forum. I am happy to address your questions, and my answer will be based on the information you provided here. Please make sure you recognize that this forum is for educational purposes only, and it does not substitute for a formal office visit with a doctor.

Without the ability to examine and obtain a history, I can not tell you what the exact cause of the symptoms is. However I will try to provide you with some useful information.

It sounds like your neurologist is doing an appropriate workup. Have you had the MRI yet? If so, what did it show? Do you have any cognitive or motor changes? Sometimes olfactory changes can be an early symptom in neurodegenerative processes such as Parkinsons.

You should continue following up with your neurologist.

Thank you for this opportunity to answer your questions, I hope you find the information I have provided useful, good luck.

5 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
I should have added, I am a 53 year old female, 105 lbs.
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Avatar_m_tn
Thank you. The MRI is negative. There is a maxilary retention cyst that has been there for several years without change. The neurologist recommended I see an ENT. He believes could be the cause of these smells. I doublt it. I have no motor or cognitive changes.
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Avatar_f_tn
I had just posted under another long post (started a couple yrs ago) called "Strange gas smell" on this site at http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Ear--Nose--Throat/Strange-gas-smell-/show/425681 when I saw this thread . There appears to be a lot of folks with these phantom smells. Unfortunately I didn't see any medical professionals posting any response to the numerous frustated posts on the other thread. I am glad to see your post above, and am hopeful someone may have more than trying netti pots or nasal spray will take a peek. Christopher, I am more concerned now that you asked about the cognative and motor skills as lately I do seem to be bothered a bit by both as well but have attributed those "symptoms" to depression and burnout. I recently lost my Mom after helping her with her yr and half battle. My Dr put me on Citalopram approx 3 weeks ago and I had attributted the one recent fall I took just walking along out of the blue, didn't trip, to the med. Just started feeling a bit better until this past Sunday (see other post). I never mentioned the smell or gagging to my new Dr 3 weeks ago (just able to afford ins. after not having any for 5 yrs, it's going to take time to catch up) as when it's not happening I don't think of it. Anyway, thank you I will have to take this more serious than just a frustrating annoyance.
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Avatar_m_tn
ENT found no infection or sinuitis. He says as long as MRI and EEG are normal, these things happen for no reason. Most Drs are stumped by this symptom. Sometimes it goes away on its own and sometimes your brain just phases it out. I just hope it goes away because Im getting nauseous all the time and I loose my appetite. I have also been a bit lightheaded too. I have to move my head slowly other wise the room spins and I feel to loose my balance. Its really slowing me down. What could it be?
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