PREVIOUS QUESTION:

 

NEXT QUESTION:

 

What is anosmia?

ANSWER

Most of us take our sense of smell for granted, but have you ever thought about what it would be like to not be able to smell something? The complete loss of smell is called anosmia (an-OHZ-me-uh). Without your sense of smell, food tastes different, you can't smell the scent of a flower, and you could find yourself in a dangerous situation, unknowingly. For example, without the ability to detect odors, you wouldn't smell a gas leak, smoke from a fire, or sour milk.

Taste and smell disorders send hundreds of thousands of Americans to the doctor each year. Fortunately, for most people, anosmia is a temporary nuisance caused by a severely stuffy nose from a cold. Once the cold runs its course, a person's sense of smell returns.

For some people, however, including many elderly, the loss of a sense of smell may persist. In addition, anosmia can be a sign of a more serious medical condition. Any ongoing problems with smell should be checked out by a doctor.

From: What Is Anosmia? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

American Rhinologic Society: "Loss of Taste and Smell Stinks!"

Mayo Clinic: "The Loss of Smell (Anosmia)."

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Smell and Taste Disorders: A Primary Care Approach."

National Institutes of Health: "Smell Disorders."

Reviewed by Neil Lava on May 5, 2019

SOURCES:

American Rhinologic Society: "Loss of Taste and Smell Stinks!"

Mayo Clinic: "The Loss of Smell (Anosmia)."

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Smell and Taste Disorders: A Primary Care Approach."

National Institutes of Health: "Smell Disorders."

Reviewed by Neil Lava on May 5, 2019

NEXT QUESTION:

How does my sense of smell work?

WAS THIS ANSWER HELPFUL

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.

    This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.