burning wood smell
by wtc400, Aug 03, 2008
I ask this question yesterday but have not received any reply.

My wife is smelling burning wood and there are no fires anywhere!!!
My stepfather died from a brain tumor and he was smelling amonia for about 2 years before
he died instantly and never new what killed him.

Please reply

a husband that is concerned.

Thank you
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Member Comments (6)
by PaulMD, Aug 03, 2008
It is really very hard to assess this symptom and I'm afraid I cannot give you a straightforward answer.  

Just for some ideas, symptoms like this can reflect a problem with the olfactory bulbs and the frontal lobe of the brain which is responsible for the perception of smell and odor.  Some would liken the situation to an 'olfactory seizure' which is transient but recurring.

It is best that she'll be evaluated by her primary physician or a neurologist since the assessment will also lie on a physical and neurologic evaluation.  If her doctors would find reasonable doubt to suspect any problems with the brain, imaging studies such as MRI or CT scan may be requested.
by DrNoopurMD, Aug 03, 2008

How are you?
Some of the causes of distorted sense of smell are sinusitis, head trauma, diseases of the brain stem, mental illnesses like depression and schizophrenia.
Olfactory hallucinations can also be a sign of brain tumor. However, only a CT scan or a MRI of brain will be able to confirm the diagnosis.
Please schedule an appointment with a neurologist. Do keep us posted!
by RabdLK, Sep 23, 2008
I am a 55 yr old male and I found your post very interesting, I have had this same wood burning smell going on for at least 5 or more years now. It is like a slightly sweet wood burning scent, like a candle burning too close to a wood shelf or something. I've asked my wife & son many times over the years if they could smell burning wood and they absolutely could not. I get it for days at a time but maybe only 4 or 5 times a year. Today, I was returning from a hotel in Reno,NV and got the scent while I was there and in the car returning home....and at home. First time when I wasn't home which made me think it was ME and not the house...and googled symptoms...and saw your post. At least your wife is not the only one with this thing.    Randy (my e-mail is ***@****)
by pontiac1, Feb 17, 2009
I get this wood burning smell like leaves or a campfire. Told my doctor and he had me get an MRI. Nothing unusual reported there and since then I had another for a neurologist. Mine started when I started getting   immunoglobulin infusions for my immune system. I was told by 2 other people that they have them along with migraines. I too am a chronic migraine sufferer.I have to take Imitrex to be able to function. I had the burning smell sensation for about 6 months straight and now it has subsided, but occasionally I get a whiff when no one else can smell anything.

by Poi7654, Oct 02, 2012
Calm down.  Most common cause of a lingering burning wood smell is a sensitivity to commercial fragrances.  These fragrances are commonly found in fabric softeners, and therefore get on the clothing following a person wherever they go.  Basically instead of a fresh or pleasure able smell, the afflicted smells a burning smell.  Downy fabric softener in particular seems to cause this effect.  I suggest you purchase unscented/fragrance free fabric softener and detergent, and re-wash your wife's clothes and bed linen.  If smell goes away, you've found your culprit.
by twp1979, May 04, 2014
I have been having the same problem - I smell burning wood, with a slight chemical smell as well. It lasts for several days but then goes away for months. This has only been going on for about a year, but it's disconcerting. I have started having migraines as well and I think they may be connected.