Q. I am suffering from hyposmia. Am I losing the sense of smell permanently?

Answered by
Dr. Ashok Kumar Srivastava
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jun 23, 2015 and last reviewed on: Oct 09, 2018

Hello doctor,

  • I am 56 years old and I am suffering from hyposmia since a month, which appeared after a cold with fever and inflammation. 
  • I have been prescribed Flixonase nasal 400 microgram/unit dose nasal drops.
  • I used Flixonase twice daily for about 10 days.
  • At this point I am not sick and inflammation has gone. I do not take any medication and I am healthy.
  • The opthalmologist did a visual check and told me that I he could not see any sign of swelling, it was a very superficial check, just look up with the light.

I will describe how I feel my hyposmia:

  • I do not have a total loss of smell.
  • I can smell some things slightly, other things very slightly, and other things I cannot smell at all. 
  • I have noticed that sometimes, more or less one time at every two days, I can recover a lot of my smell sense for a short time, sometimes 30 minutes to an hour followed with worsening of my smell sense. As for example, yesterday I could smell and taste my lunch and I could smell many others things like the rain outside the house.
  • Sometimes I have worsening of my hyposmia and when it occurs I cannot smell many things. After a while I recover some of my smell sense more or less to the level before (not the normal level).
  • Last night, my smell sense got worse but stabilized overnight. This morning it again got worse.
  • The same is happening with the intensity of odors, it improves and worsens along the day. It just happens.
  • Do you have any idea of what is going on?
  • Are those signs of recovery or indications that I am losing the sense of smell?

Hi Welcome in

I understand your concern. I would like to tell you that for the sense of smell we have got a sensory mucosa at the top of interior of nasal cavity and it is called olfactory area.

To sense the smell there should be:

  • Free access to the  inspired air to reach up to olfactory area. Because, if there is swelling in mucous membrane or polyps or growth, they will obstruct the inspired air reach there, thus hampering the sense of smell.
  • There should be sufficient thin mucous for dissolution of inspired air for stimulation of nerve endings of the olfactory area. So, in a dry nasal cavity the sense of smell is always less.
  • The olfactory nerve should be healthy.
  • The olfactory area of brain should be normal.
  • In cold or flu, usually there is mucosal edema (swelling) and viral neuritis (inflammation of the nerve) . Thus, these two factors are responsible for hyposmia.
You are now in the recovery phase and you will recover soon.

Consult an ENT otolaryngologist online for further follow up -->

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