When you feel under the weather, you might lose your sense of smell for a couple of days. Since most of our senses are connected in some way, when we lose our sense of smell we also tend to lose our sense of taste. A decrease in the ability to smell is called hyposmia, while a total loss of smell is known as anosmia.
The causes of hyposmia and anosmia vary, ranging from a simple viral cold to an intracranial skull base tumor that has damaged the nerves responsible for the sense of smell.
While anosmia caused by a cold is just a temporary issue, unfortunately, many suffer from this problem more permanently as a result of sinusitis. The complexity of smell loss is exactly why you need an experienced ENT specialist.
Allow your local McAllen certified physician assistant Jonathan Lerma and sinus relief specialists team at the Glatz Group of Valley ENT to go more in-depth about smell and taste disorders, and to help you understand if balloon sinuplasty might be the right relief option for you.
COVID-19 Related Smell Loss
The most common cause of loss of smell are viruses that cause upper respiratory infections, and COVID-19 has become a major cause of anosmia globally. In fact, loss of smell is one of the first symptoms of COVID-19.
If you’re experiencing anosmia or other COVID-19 symptoms, please seek medical attention immediately. Note that we CANNOT offer relief through our procedure if your loss of smell is a symptom of the coronavirus.
How to Treat Anosmia (Loss of Smell)
Anosmia is a condition that can be reversible. With the loss of smell, time plays a vital role, since the sooner treatment is started the more likely the sense of smell will come back. Anosmia is generally associated with dysgeusia, or taste loss, and the two conditions usually take place at the same time.
Causes of Anosmia
The two major types of loss of the smell are conductive smell loss and neural smell loss.
Conductive smell loss happens when a nasal obstruction blocks the passage of air odor molecules, while neural smell loss is the result of a damaged or defective olfactory nerve. Conductive smell loss is often easier to treat, and up to 70% of anosmia is conductive smell loss as the result of issues like nasal polyps or sinusitis. Neural smell loss can be a congenital condition or happen as the result of head trauma, a sinus or skull base tumor, or an infection.
How to Treat Anosmia
If the symptoms of anosmia or hyposmia are present, it’s always important to consult an ENT specialist right away for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Nasal endoscopy is critical to assessing the problem and
figuring out whether you are suffering from a conductive or a neural cause of smell loss. A longer delay in beginning treatment can reduce the likelihood that the sense of smell will return.
If a viral cold is the source of smell loss, oral steroids can be prescribed. Olfactory training, which is like physical therapy for smell loss, has shown promising results for people with sudden smell loss that have not responded to oral steroids. Conductive causes of anosmia such as nasal polyps or nasal obstruction might require medical treatment, and if these fail, may require endoscopic sinus surgery.
Neural smell loss caused by sinus infections may be treated with antibiotics and oral steroids. Persistent infections may require a procedure that we offer in our office, known as balloon sinuplasty. This minimally invasive and innovative procedure opens up your sinus passageways in order to improve your sense of smell, along with other symptoms.
Regain Your Sense of Smell and Taste with the Glatz Group of Valley ENT
The key to successful anosmia treatment is choosing an approach tailored to the severity and cause of your smell loss. There is not one single solution that is correct for every patient, and that’s why we try to find one best suited for your personal needs.
Due to the ongoing pandemic, we continue to provide alternative options for having your symptoms addressed, including via telemedicine if you prefer to be seen without leaving your home.
For in-person appointments, we want you to feel safe and comfortable. Please know that we are taking all precautionary measures as necessary. We also take calls.