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Phantom smell
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Phantom smell

For the past 4 months I have been experiencing what I call the "BAD SMELL". It comes and goes and I have been to 2 ENT's. and a nerologist I have had an MRI of my brain- normal, CAT scan of my sinus, nasal endoscopy, took antibiotics, too nasa cort for 4 weeks and still this odor comes and goes. Sometimes it is so awful I want to scream. Other times it goes in a matter of seconds. I think maybe I am going insane because I cannot find help.
Any ideas?
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi.

There is such a condition known as phantosmia or olfactory hallucination, wherein odors are detected that are not really present in the immediate environment. Usually, the smell detected is a foul or unpleasant odor. This condition could progress to olfactory delusions, in which both the smell and source are believed to exist, even though they do not.

Phantosmia is often associated with temporal lobe seizures, and less often with brain injury.

The presence of both phantosmia and olfactory delusions is often associated with a psychiatric disorder such as schizophrenia or depression. Other conditions that these disorders may occur include Alzheimer's disease and symptoms prior to a migraine attack.

You could consult a counselor or psychiatrist to evaluate your symptoms and determine whether phantosmia is indeed present.

Good luck.
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Avatar_f_tn
Dear Gatorlover,
The above advise is very misleading. You sound like you are suffering from phantosmia, however the cause is almost certainly not (1) a brain tumor, (b) a seisure disorder, (3) Alzheimer's disease, or (d) schizophrenia.  

Most cases of phantosmia are caused by an upper respiratory infection or are idiopathic in origin, meaning there is no known cause.  You should seek the attention of a neurologist in order to have a CT-scan and MRI to rule out a brain tumor, but the chances of this are low.  Many people achieve temporary relief with the use of an over the counter saline pump spray or saline rinses, that can be purchased at any drug store.  There are also support groups out there with people who share your condition and can offer advice, support and understanding.  I recommend you seek those out.  Good luck and don't despair and don't let anyone tell you that you're crazy.  You are not.

Anne Christie
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Avatar_f_tn
Would you let me know what follow-up you did with this, what did you find out?  I am having a very similar problem, but it has been going on for over a year, maybe two, and getting worse.

Thank you.
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Avatar_f_tn
I have been having the same issues with smelling phantom smells that are not very pleasent.  It's been going on for over 10 years, they come and go.  It happens once or twice a month or even every two months, sometimes it only lasts a couple of minutes and sometimes a couple of days.  I finally just had an MRI done, but all was normal, which shocked me.  No tumors, no depression, no schizophrenia, I really don't know what's going on.  Any suggestions?
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Avatar_m_tn
I had smell disorder after head injury.  Nothing smells as it is.  It is all strange smell.  Nothing much can be done if it is from head injury.
Yours seems like not from a head injury and you can rectify.  Saline wash I heard helped some people.  For some drug Neurontin or Lyrica helped.
There are only few specialists who can help you.  There is one in Washington D.C.
http://www.tasteandsmell.com/
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Avatar_f_tn
You hit it on the mark. I too have experienced the "burning smell - similar to old cigarette smoke". In fact, it is my signal that I am getting an upper respiratory condition - sometimes just a head cold, sometimes just a simple sore throut due to the dryness from the A/C, sometimes flu-like symptoms. It never fails, I get the smell problem and the next morning I'll wake up with something. It is aggravating for the day or so that it exists but I have learned to acknowledge it as a symptom.
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Avatar_n_tn
Is there bad blood between you and someone else close to you?
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1506309_tn?1301601863
I was experiencing bad odors such as a burning smell, lighter fluid, gas, cigars and then i would get a migraine.  It went on for a month and then I went to see my doctor for migraine meds, he took blood and my bp (which was very hight) and called me a few days later and told me it was my thyroid, it was hyperthyroidism.  I went on beta blockers and received radio active iodine and have not smelled anything odd since.  
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Avatar_m_tn
I have been suffering from the smell of smoke for about 3 months now.  Like many of you I have had a MRI, CT scan and seen the ENT.  No one has found a thing.  The strange thing with me is I sell the smoke, I choke from the smoke, my eyes water just like someone is smoking.  I think mine are accompanied by headache, however that may be a reaction from the smoke. The pattern is every 3 wks and last for about  4 days.  Has anyone else seen a pattern?
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Avatar_n_tn
I am 36 and have been having these rotten egg phantom smells. I have had a CT Scan and it was negative. The Dr at the hospital said that he covered all the important stuff as to why I would have phantom smells. He was very vague. However, it is annoying and I don't know what to do? I even went to the ENT and everything was great! What could it be?
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