Lost or changed sense of smell
A shift in your sense of smell can be icky and affect how things taste. But it is not usually severe; it gets better in a few weeks or months.
Alterations in the sense of smell are most often induced by:
- Loss of smell (anosmia)
- Sensing things that are not present (phantosmia), like smoke or burnt toast
- Reduced sense of smell (hyposmia)
- Changes in the smell of things (parosmia)
It’s also common to lose some sense of smell as you age.
When to consult the doctor
See a doctor if your smelling scenario does not return to regular in a few weeks. They’ll inspect for any triggering causes, such as sinusitis or nasal polyps, and may suggest you to a specialist for further consultation if they’re not sure what is the leading cause of the problem.
Treating the cause might help your sense of smell return to normal in a few weeks or months. For example, nasal sprays or drops might help with nasal polyps or sinusitis.
A treatment named smell training can benefit some people.
At times changes in the sense of smell cannot be cured and may be permanent.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 04 October 2022