Q. Is it normal to get decreased taste sensation following sinusitis?

Answered by
Dr. Shyam Kalyan N
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
Published on Jul 26, 2018 and last reviewed on: Oct 19, 2019

Hi doctor,

I am a 40 year old female, non smoker. I had a sinus infection as a result of cold nearly two months ago. I was put on Doxycycline for two weeks and then a steroid nasal spray when the inflammation in my nose had not resided. I can smell things quite clearly up close to my nose but cannot taste whatsoever. I am now on a course of Amoxicillin and Prednisone to try and get rid of the inflammation once and for all.

I had a CT scan which did not show any blockages just some mucous and inflammation. If I burp, I can taste my food. Does this mean I will get my taste back when everything clears up? How long should this take? I still feel some tightness in the bridge of my nose and one nostril still feels more blocked than the other. I am just so scared that my taste will not go back to normal and I have a constant nauseous feeling. I wonder if this is because I am so stressed about losing my taste forever. Thanks for your help.

Dr. Shyam Kalyan N

Allergy Specialist Otolaryngology (E.N.T)
#

Hi,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

We will help you alleviate the problem. I understand that you are a 40 year old otherwise healthy lady suffering from sinus infection. You perceive smells close up your nose but have decreased taste sensation. You are worried about when the taste sensation will return and what can be done to accelerate the return.

  • First, let me tell you, taste is composed of various nerve pathways which comprise pathways from receptors from nose also. The smells and sights of food play an important role in addition to signals from taste receptors of tongue when our brain perceives the taste and associates with some known food product.
  • The olfactory sensation (sensation of smell) will get hampered if there is nose block, which is why probably food products in mouth are unable to elicit the olfactory sense. Also sinus infection can cause constant post nasal drip which will interfere with appreciation of smells of foods.
  • This is not a grave problem and in almost all cases it resolves when your sino-nasal problem also resolves.

Next, I understand that you have taken a complete course of Doxycycline and now you are on a course of Amoxicillin. Also to relieve the inflammation the doctor initially gave you a locally acting steroid nasal spray. Currently, you are taking steroids (Prednisolone) orally.

I would suggest the following measures as well which if you follow will help you in a great way.

  1. You may take Xylometazoline 0.1% or Oxymetazoline 0.05% nasal drops. They are decongestant nasal drops which help to relieve the congestion and edema inside the nose. It decongests the vicinity of sinus ostia and improves the sinus drainage and ventilation.
  2. Instructions for using the drops: Lie down on the bed and take 3 drops inside one nostril. Rest with head down for 5 minutes. Now turn head 45 degrees to side of nostril and rest for 5 minutes. Now turn head another 45 degrees (so total 90 degrees) to side of nostril and rest for 5 minutes. Repeat the same on other side.
  3. Follow the above with steam inhalation. You may put menthol capsules in the steam for some added benefit. Take throat gargles with hot water mixed with salt. This helps remove any throat mucous and prevent post nasal drip.
  4. Proper nose blowing and hawking. Hawking is to suck the nasal secretions back into the throat. Thereafter you spit it out, avoid nose blowing.
  5. Take only hot fluids for drinking, 3 to 4 liters of hot water per day. Avoid cold foods/soda/aerated drinks/cold drinks/alcohol/spicy foods.
  6. Avoid going out in sun/dust/polluted areas/traffic snarls with smoke.
  7. Take nutritious food with vitamin supplements (supplements till you get better). Make sure you get your recommended daily allowance of all vitamins and minerals especially the B-complex vitamins and vitamin C. Minerals that are very required in this condition are iron, zinc, selenium, manganese, etc. Microelements like selenium and manganese will be available in vitamin supplements.
  8. When you use the decongestant drops stop the steroid spray. Also the steroid Prednisolone I would prefer you stop it temporarily. Take some antacid tablets before food to avoid gastric upset by the steroid. Say Ranitidine 150 mg or Pantoprazole 20 mg morning and evening before food.
  9. Do you have allergic symptoms? Because in that case the treatment will have to be slightly modified. Allergic symptoms comprise of itching nose/nasal congestion/running nose/sneezing/frequent throat clearing etc. Allergy related investigations can be done as well.
  10. Do you have any difficulty in swallowing? Do you feel giddiness or easy fatigable ot tiredness while doing routine work?

I reiterate that this loss of taste sensation is temporary and it will be restored as and when your sino-nasal infection resolves. For the same, I have suggested you various measures.


The Probable causes:

Nasal congestion.

Investigations to be done:

1. Diagnostic naso-endoscopy. The endoscopic viewing helps us to see the pathology and ascertain if the inflammation is indeed what we think or has some other pathology. It helps us to take samples for culture sensitivity and histopathology as well.
2. CT para-nasal air sinuses. Please attach the report as I see that you have already done the scan. Ideally, I would require the CT scan film that they would have given as a soft copy as well.
3. Serum IgE.
4. Absolute eosinophil count (investigations AEC and Serum IgE help us understand if you suffer from allergy).
5. Hemoglobin level, to check for anemia and rule out Plummer-Vinson syndrome also called as Patterson-Brown-Kelly Syndrome.
6. Total leukocyte count and differentiated leukocyte count.
7. Erythrocyte sedimentation rate.

Differential diagnosis:

1. Chronic rhino-sinusitis.
2. Fungal sinusitis.
3. Occupational rhinitis.
4. Allergic fungal rhino-sinusitis.

Probable diagnosis:

Chronic rhino-sinusitis.

Regarding follow up:

Revert back with the answers for the above questions and CT reports to an ENT otolaryngologist online.---> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/ENT-Otolaryngologist

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