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Experiencing Persistent Smell Loss? It’s Time to See an ENT Specialist

Smell loss, if ignored for long enough, may manifest into a serious concern for the patient. Hyposmia (total loss of smell) and anosmia (decrease in the efficiency of smell receptors) make a patient incapable of getting an alert during fire, smelling decomposed food, and even experiencing the fragrances of perfume and foods that make living more worthwhile. That is the reason why it is extremely important for patients to consult ear nose throat doctors without wasting any time. Ironically, a lot of people ignore smell loss and assume it as a common problem caused due to cold or viral, which may not be entirely true.

Causes and Treatments of Smell Loss


A common reason for smell loss is viruses. More precisely, approximately 2/3 to 4/4 of patients suffer from loss of smell due to viral syndromes. If a nose specialist is unable to identify exact reasons behind smell loss, they may take cues from the medical history of the patient. Checking the medical history may reveal different reasons that lead to loss of smell such as upper respiratory infection (URI) or cold. Typically, smell loss is noticed post-URI treatment. Viruses directly injure and damage the olfactory epithelium and lead to smell loss. The Olfactory epithelium is the tissue that have the smell receptor cells.


If smell loss is treated soon after initial URI with oral corticosteroids, some patients may easily recover from the problem. There are, however, instances when doctors may come to a conclusion on the type of treatment required after conducting numerous tests. These treatments include an antipsychotic and haloperidol drugs.

Must Read: Impaired Smell Sense Recovery: A Brief Guide By An ENT Specialist

Smell Loss Due to Swelling or Polyps

Another reason that leads to losing smell is polyps or swelling. Polyps are small and non-cancerous growth in the sinuses or nose that restrict transmitting odors to olfactory sensory cells, which are situated high up in the nose. Non-malignant tumors may, at times, grow on the olfactory nerves that lead to brain and cause smell loss, though this happens in the rare cases. Normally, polyps grow on a lining of sinuses or the nose and can extend up to the nasal cavity. The most common reason behind polyp growth is long-term irritation in the nose due to asthma, allergies or any other such infection and swelling.


After examining nasal polyps through CT scan, nose specialists conduct different remedial therapies. Doctors usually prescribe medicines, but it may prove ineffective in cases of persistent smell loss. Doctors recommend medicines such as nasal steroid to clear a blockage in nasal passages. Doctors also prescribe corticosteroid pills and antibiotics to regain of smell loss. If a patient has large polyps and medicines fail to show desired results, doctors may recommend endoscopic sinus surgery.

The Way Forward

Loss of Smell can cause a lot of problems to the patients. Medicines may prove helpful at times to treat, however, in many cases, patients may need an endoscopic surgery.  If you or any of your beloved has hyposmia or anosmia, it is advisable to consult an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor. Prior consultation, do check doctors’ experience.

My Houston Surgeons has fellowship trained experts who specialize in advanced techniques to restore smell loss problems. To learn more, feel free to contact us for a round of no-obligation free consultation.

We’re here to help

If you are frustrated by frequent sinus infections, persistent nasal congestion, or other sinus symptoms, Dr. Arjuna Kuperan and the team at Houston Advanced Nose & Sinus can help. Contact us today with any questions or to schedule your consultation.

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