Why does women's sense of smell become more acute?

Causes of a heightened sense of smell

The sense of smell is a kind of boundary that is responsible for filtering odors coming from outside. If for a certain reason a failure occurs at some stage, the development of olfactory dysfunction is observed.

The key reasons for an increased sense of smell include the following:

A situation in which a person says “I smell strongly” can be triggered by long-term use of certain medications. These include, in particular, amphetamines and thiazides. If you exclude the use of such means, you can restore your sense of smell in a short time.

Sometimes smells are irritating in mental disorders. Hyperosmia may be the first sign of such anomalies:

  • schizophrenia;
  • depression;
  • hysteria;
  • neurasthenia.

A sharp increase in sensitivity to various aromas can be a symptom of chronic pathology. The main diseases that cause the appearance of this symptom include the following:

  • diabetes;
  • hepatitis;
  • Turner syndrome;
  • hypothyroidism is a diffuse toxic goiter.

Sensitivity to all kinds of aromas changes significantly throughout the day. Doctors note that there is a minimum level of perception. When it is reached, a certain level of aroma molecules causes a reaction from the analyzer.

Men have lower sensitivity to fragrances. They extremely rarely experience a condition in which Fr. Representatives of the weak experience hormonal fluctuations much more often. Therefore, they are much more susceptible to hyperosmia.

Experts also note that children have a much lower threshold for smell perception than adults. Therefore, babies react quite sharply to various aromas and much more often complain about unpleasant or pungent odors.

In some situations, a feeling of increased smell appears during pregnancy

. This condition is caused by hormonal changes that occur in the female body. After childbirth, balance is gradually restored. This helps completely eliminate acute sensitivity to odors.

Also, women's reactions to fragrances can change significantly throughout the menstrual cycle. This is due to normal fluctuations in hormone balance. Most often, an exacerbation of the sense of smell is observed before the onset of menstruation. Also, the cause of this condition can be the onset of ovulation.

Often, increased sensitivity to aromas results from the use of oral contraceptives. Also, a provoking factor in the development of hyperosmia can be hormonal treatment.

The sense of smell and its pathological disorders. Hyposmia, hyperosmia, anosmia. Symptoms, causes, treatment

A bouquet of fresh roses, a cup of black coffee, freshly baked bread... These words alone evoke the pleasant aromas of flowers, coffee or pastries. And for many, it may not even occur to them that the sense of smell can cause problems. Or rather, not the sense of smell itself, but its pathological disorders.

Unfortunately, a person may have increased or decreased olfactory sensitivity

, or live without a sense of smell at all.
Such olfactory deviations are called, respectively, hyperosmia, hyposmia and anosmia

The symptoms for each of these pathologies differ, as do the causes and their treatment.

Hyperosmia – heightened sense of smell

Heightened sense of smell

which can become painful is called hyposmia.


. A person suffering from hyperosmia perceives all aromas more acutely. Many detect even very faint odors, imperceptible to people with a normal sense of smell. It would seem that you can be happy about this and boldly go to work as a perfumer or sommelier.

But still, more often the perception of odors is painful: that is, a certain aroma can cause

migraine, mental disorder, dysfunction of internal organs, emotional deviations.

Most often, hyperosmia causes depression and irritability, with sharp and strong odors.


. The main sign of hyperosmia is the formation of a diffusely toxic goiter in the patient, which can be caused by neurological disorders.

People suffering from frequent depression, hysteria, and mental disorders are most susceptible to exacerbation of the sensitivity of olfactory receptors.

Changes in hormonal levels can also cause hyperosmia

, which is why pregnant women react so sharply to certain odors.

Treatment with folk remedies

. A heightened sense of smell is treatable, and often, when treating it, doctors prescribe restorative therapy and endonasal novocaine blockades (especially for severe pain). At home, you can try to be treated with folk remedies.

You can reduce goiter, which is a source of discomfort during hyperosmia, in the following ways:


External treatment. Fill a saucepan with young willow leaves and fill them with cold water. Put on fire and boil. The leaves should yield a juice that resembles resin. The water will boil away and the juice will concentrate at the bottom of the pan. It is removed and lubricated around the thyroid gland before going to bed. There is no need to rinse off in the morning. Apply until the goiter begins to shrink.


Internal treatment. Mix 200 g of honey with crushed walnuts and buckwheat. The resulting honey paste should be consumed throughout the day. Repeat the dose after three days, then after 6 and 9 days. The next course should be carried out after 3 months.

Clinical picture (symptoms)

With the development of hyperosmia, all odors seem very strong and intense. A person begins to smell aromas that other people with a normal sense of smell cannot sense. At first glance, it seems that such opportunities should be encouraging. However, in reality everything is not so simple.

In fact, hyperosmia often causes various problems. The main disorders include the following symptoms:

  • dizziness;
  • headache;
  • pain in the sinuses;
  • psychological instability;
  • migraine;
  • dysfunction of some organs;
  • psychical deviations.

Thus, instead of unique abilities, a person gets a depressed and irritable state. Many people with this diagnosis experience an irresistible desire to plug their nose and lock themselves in a sterile room.

Traditional Treatments for Increased Odors

If your sense of smell has increased, you should immediately contact a qualified otolaryngologist. This diagnosis is made by a specialist based on a visual examination using a mirror. Thanks to this, it will be possible to determine the width of the olfactory zone. Specific tests are also required to determine the level of smell.

In addition, consultation with specialized specialists is often required. If hyperosmia is suspected, the patient must be referred to a neurologist and psychiatrist.

  1. Treatment for this condition is selected depending on the provoking factor, since exacerbation of the sense of smell is not an independent pathology, but only a symptom of a certain illness.
  2. If the development of the disease is caused by an infectious lesion of the respiratory system or nasopharynx, restorative treatment is indicated. It should be aimed at normalizing respiratory functions and improving air circulation in the sinuses. Chronic pathologies, such as sinusitis or cysts, require conservative therapy or surgical intervention.
  3. If the provoking factor is emotional instability or neurological abnormalities, effective drug treatment is prescribed. It involves the use of sedatives. There may also be a need to use psychotropic drugs. In addition to drug therapy, methods of influencing a person’s psycho-emotional state are often used. For this purpose, you should contact neurologists and psychiatrists.

If there are hormonal problems - primarily hyperthyroidism - appropriate therapy is indicated. Conservative treatment consists of using special medications that help destroy hormones produced by the thyroid gland. The radical approach involves the action of radioactive iodine. In difficult situations it is not possible to do without surgical intervention.

During pregnancy, you should avoid contact with sources of strong odors.

- using new cosmetics, visiting crowded places, eating spicy foods, etc.

If severe hyperosmia is observed, which causes pain, migraines and other serious manifestations, it is recommended to install a blockade. For this purpose, a solution of novocaine is injected into the nasal cavity. .

Before performing these manipulations, the mucous membranes must be anesthetized. The procedure is carried out both in a hospital setting and in a clinic. But in any case, in the first half hour after using the solution, the person should remain under the supervision of a doctor. This is required in case of developing an allergy or individual intolerance to the drug.

Allergy to smells

Such a problem as an allergy to smells is not such a rare guest in society. Increasingly, people began to complain of itching, rashes and runny nose when in contact with flowers during the flowering period, with the aroma of perfumes or household products.

Before proceeding with the treatment of this pathology, it is worth understanding its root cause, because sometimes it is the key to proper treatment.


Allergies to smells manifest themselves in the same way as any other.


  • Nasal congestion;
  • Clear discharge from the nasal cavity;
  • Tearing;
  • Itching of various parts of the body;
  • Hyperemia of the skin and rashes on them;
  • Choking.

For chemical odors

The smells of varnishes and paints, household chemicals - all this can provoke a pathological attack in an allergy sufferer.

In addition to the above-mentioned manifestations, these drugs can cause:

  • Headache;
  • Dizziness;
  • Attack of nausea;
  • Increased secretion of mucus from the nose;
  • Peeling of the skin, swelling, redness;
  • The appearance of blisters on the surface of the skin.

If irritating factors regularly affect the body, this can subsequently lead to diseases of the skin (eczema), respiratory tract (bronchial asthma), and cardiovascular system (acute heart failure).

For strong odors

There is a category of people whose bodies react violently to strong aromas. The reaction manifests itself in the form of profuse lacrimation, difficulty breathing, and runny nose.

However, many experts argue that the supposed cause of this “behavior” is not an allergy, but an existing vasomotor rhinitis. Thus, a strong odor is just a catalyst for the appearance of mucus in the nasal cavity.

Discomfort and unpleasant symptoms are relieved with the help of medicine in the form of sprays - Cromohexal, Atrovent.

Reasons for appearance

There are several reasons why a person experiences the symptoms we have discussed:

  • Allergic nature, when immunological mechanisms are included in the body’s reaction;
  • Not of an allergic nature, when immunity is not related to these manifestations.

Another note concerns the difference between odor intolerance and odor allergies.

The first expresses the individual (subjective) attitude of an individual to the aroma without involving the immune system, but with the same symptoms arising at the subconscious level.

Heredity, changes in environmental conditions, diseases of the immune and respiratory systems are the factors that provoke susceptibility to allergies.

Therapeutic measures

If you notice the slightest manifestations that resemble an allergy, you should immediately seek advice from a specialist - an allergist.

In addition to standard tests (urine and blood), they will be prescribed a number of allergy tests to identify the pathogen: standard skin tests, IgE detection.

At the first stage of therapy, it is the elimination of the etiological factor of the disease that is half the success in the fight against the disease, if not the greatest.

A person suffering from allergies, at the beginning of treatment, needs to direct all methods and means to strengthen the immune properties of his body (hardening, taking vitamins C, E).

Plus, the patient needs to cleanse the body of waste and toxins.

Nutritional adjustments and especially a hypoallergenic diet can help with this. Thus, the diet should contain minimal amounts of dairy products, red vegetables and fruits (apples, currants, tomatoes), sea fish, and black tea.

You will have to completely give up strawberries, chocolate, exotic fruits, coffee, and refined sweets.

Drug treatment

Specific actions for allergies will be taking medications - antihistamines to eliminate unpleasant symptoms after the fact.

Among these, the following are widely used:

  • "Diphenhydramine";
  • "Zodak";
  • "Diazolin";
  • Telfast;
  • "Claritin."

All these means have a complex effect and are prescribed by the attending physician on an individual basis, depending on the severity of the clinical case.

To eliminate local symptomatic manifestations (on the skin, mucous membranes), it would be appropriate to use antiallergic ointments, sprays or instillation solutions.

Traditional medicine recipes against allergies

Effective remedies against the symptoms of the disease “among the populists” are:

  • A solution prepared from 1 tablespoon of honey and a glass of water. This simple drink is taken before bed.
  • A solution of apple cider vinegar in the amount of 2 tablespoons and half a glass of water will help prevent allergic attacks. Use twice a day (morning and before bed) for about 2 weeks.
  • Infusion of celandine leaves. The product in the amount of 20 g is poured into a glass of water and brought to a boil. Next, you need to leave it in a dark place for 40-60 minutes. The resulting liquid is drunk three times a day, 1 tablespoon.
  • Infusion of marsh wild rosemary herb. The plant is crushed, a teaspoon is poured with 2 cups of boiling water. Next, the solution is infused for an hour and taken in this regimen: three times a day in an amount of 70 ml.

It has long been no secret that honeycombs, just like honey, have beneficial properties. Therefore, using them as a kind of chewing gum can reduce the severity of allergy symptoms. It is recommended to use them twice a day, chewing for 7-10 minutes.

What to do if you are allergic to smells

If your child is allergic to garlic , then it is necessary to exclude this product from the diet partially or completely. In most cases, heat-treated and well-fried garlic does not cause a negative reaction, so in this form it has a place on your table even in such a situation.

But such a harmless plant as hyacinth can also cause a bunch of unpleasant sensations. Therefore, it is necessary to work with these flowers with gloves and a protective mask so that their pungent odor does not damage the nasal mucosa and skin.

If you have a painful reaction to the smell of bleach , then this substance should be removed from use forever. If the smell is still present in the room, then it is better to ventilate it.

Allergies can be either isolated or systematic. The more carefully you listen to your inner feelings and promptly seek qualified help, the healthier you and your loved ones will be!

Source: https://bezallergii.info/vidy/bitovie-allergeni/zapahi

How to determine if you are allergic to smells

How does an allergy to various odors manifest itself? First of all, you need to know that predisposing factors to this type of allergy are disorders of the nervous and endocrine systems, as well as injuries to parts of the brain. A fairly important factor that can provoke allergies is psychological, that is, a person is not inclined to perceive the environment or simply reacts negatively to everything that happens around him.

An allergy to odors manifests itself in almost the same way as a regular allergy to anything else.

Symptoms of an allergy to odors include itching and rashes on the skin, nasal congestion and frequent clear discharge, and sometimes even suffocation.

Residents of large cities are the most sensitive to various odors, since megacities affect the bronchial mucosa with their internal structure.

In the photo: Allergens in the environment

Do strong odors cause allergies?

Severe allergies to strong odors are very common. So what are these pungent odors? These are odors that immediately cause a person to experience watery eyes, clear nasal discharge, and difficulty breathing.

Despite the very common symptoms of this allergic reaction, it is not so easy to determine, since they are inherent in vasomotor rhinitis, which has nothing to do with allergic rhinitis.

In such a situation, it is not recommended to use vasoconstrictor drops, which can cause chronic nasal congestion.

Allergies to strong odors are treated with a course of intranasal blockades or using laser therapy.

There is no specific list of products that have strong odors, since everything depends on the body’s predisposition to a particular product and on how each person’s immune system perceives a particular smell.

Can paint cause allergies?

Cases of allergies to the smell of paint, varnish or fresh plaster have become very common. This is provoked by the rapid development of the modern world in the technological direction. Many manufacturers are developing environmentally friendly paints because conventional ones are no longer in great demand, as they cause frequent allergies among customers.

Paint may cause you:

  • nausea;
  • headache;
  • dizziness;
  • lacrimation;
  • suffocation, as well as severe runny nose.

Long-term exposure to harmful paint substances will cause eczema, bronchial asthma or acute vascular insufficiency.

An allergy to the smell of paint is easy to identify: itching and flaking of the skin, redness and swelling of the skin, blisters and a red rash. The most dangerous is anaphylactic shock, which can lead to disability and possibly death. Therefore, it is very important to quickly and accurately identify the allergen in order to avoid such unpleasant consequences.

Are perfumes allergens?

Allergies to perfume odors have become a very common phenomenon in the modern world. Why is this situation happening? The fact is that perfumers began to use artificial substances to create even better perfumes, which cause such an allergic reaction in the human immune system.

Symptoms of an allergy to the smell of perfume may include:

  • itching;
  • an unpleasant feeling of irritation in the throat;
  • sneeze;
  • headache;
  • swelling of the mucous membrane of the nose and throat.

In the photo: Headache due to allergies to the smell of perfume

How to counteract allergies to perfume odors? First of all, you need to destroy contact with the allergen, and also wash your body with water, and also take antihistamines.

It must be emphasized that before taking medications, you need to first consult with an allergist, who will accurately determine your predispositions and the characteristics of allergies specifically for your body.

What to do if you are allergic to smells

A person suffering from such an allergy needs to direct all his efforts to strengthen his own immunity, as well as to cleanse his body of toxins. In case of allergies to odors, a very effective hypoallergenic diet is recommended.

To understand the allergies to which odors the reaction occurs, you will have to consult with an allergist.

Treatment of allergies to odors

The first step is to establish the causes of the allergy in order to prescribe the necessary set of medications to eliminate the symptoms. Like any other disease, allergies must be treated with medications and traditional methods.

After consulting with a doctor who specializes in various types of allergic reactions, specific actions begin. Treatment of allergies to odors begins with the body’s reactions to perfumes, with the innate tendencies of the human body to all types of allergies, as well as with the body’s reaction to cosmetics.

The following remedies are prescribed individually:

  • diazolin;
  • diphenhydramine;
  • claritin;
  • zodak;
  • Telfast, etc.

To relieve local symptoms, ointments, drops, and sprays are indicated for allergic reactions on the skin and mucous membranes.

Folk remedies to help

For advice from an allergist, you may be prescribed a course of treatment for odor allergies using folk remedies, which will also be effective in such a situation:

  • infusion of marsh wild rosemary herb (take three times a day);
  • chewing honey chewing gum (ten minutes up to five times a day);
  • solution of comb honey with water (use at night);
  • apple cider vinegar (for exacerbations and for prevention, twice a day: morning and night);
  • infusion of celandine with water (take a tablespoon three times a day);
  • infusion of hemp seeds with water (drink a tablespoon three times a day).

: Allergy, spring exacerbation

Source: https://pro-allergiyu.ru/allergiya-na-zapaxi.html

Causes and features of manifestation

Experts have proven that the human olfactory system perceives aromas of substances with a molecular weight in the range of 17–300 g/mol. In this case, the body does not evaluate the substance as dangerous by smell. If the molecular weight exceeds the specified range, then protective functions are activated, and the body begins to perceive the smell from the position of the antigen.

Allergies are caused by excessive sensitivity of the body. Experts note the duality of the process of development of the disease, which can be:

  • allergic, previously embedded in the immune mechanism;
  • non-allergic, which does not involve the involvement of this mechanism.

The provoking factor that activates the immune system is usually a strong, pronounced allergen. This could be any cosmetic product, plant pollen, or perfume.

Potential irritants are vapors from paints and varnishes, polluted air, and the aromas of fish products. Such special odors lead to increased hypersensitivity of the body.

At the same time, many experts say that the pathogens that provoke symptomatic manifestations are protein molecules, and not the components that produce aroma.

The nature of allergic reactions to odor can be psychosomatic. A person's negative attitude becomes a cause of inflammation when hypersensitivity is present in the patient. Allergies can occur in patients who have suffered a brain injury or suffer from ailments of a nervous or endocrine nature.


The body's allergic response is dangerous due to its spontaneous nature and severe clinical manifestations. For patients who exhibit an allergy to odors, promptly identified symptoms and adequately prescribed treatment are important.

Signs in adults

Adult patients suffering from an allergic reaction to odors most often complain of the following symptoms:

  • worsening nasal breathing, swelling;
  • severe rhinitis accompanied by sneezing;
  • change in skin color, appearance of a red tint;
  • itching and burning in the nasal passage;
  • rash on the skin;
  • eye lacrimation;
  • breathing problems, feeling of suffocation;
  • general deterioration of health, dizziness, headaches, nausea with vomiting.

The most severe manifestation is anaphylactic shock. Although it occurs in rare cases, immediate attention to specialists is required at the first sign of it. In the absence of adequate therapy in this case, death is possible.

Signs of illness in children

The reaction to smells in babies is very bright and strong. This feature is due to the high level of permeability of the mucous membranes.

It is much easier for an allergen to penetrate the body, and therefore the response in the form of diathesis is very common. As the baby grows, this reaction often dulls, and over time there is a possibility of complete disappearance.

The complexity of the situation is that the symptoms are visible not only on the mucous membranes, but are often localized throughout the body.

The main signs of an allergic reaction to fragrances in a child are as follows:

  • diathesis;
  • manifestations of eczema;
  • the occurrence of diaper rash on the body;
  • skin lesions with rashes;
  • deterioration of mood, frequent moodiness, irritability in behavior;
  • problems with appetite;
  • digestive disorders;
  • cold-like rhinitis.

Diagnostic features

Standard allergy tests performed in medical centers will help identify the disease. In particular, skin type tests are performed and specific IgE is determined. During the examination, additional consultations with an endocrinologist, neurologist, and gastroenterologist are required, since odor intolerance may be associated with other pathologies of the body.


Adequate and effective treatment for an allergic reaction to odors is possible only in accordance with the prescription of a specialist. That is why timely consultation with a doctor is required.

First aid

If an allergic reaction occurs suddenly and its manifestations are quite severe, continued contact with the allergen should be avoided as quickly as possible.

Exposure to chemicals can have serious consequences, so it is advisable to rinse the nasal passages with boiled water and give the victim an antihistamine. If there is a risk of suffocation or anaphylactic shock, call an ambulance immediately.

An antihistamine will help if the patient is conscious. Then it should be laid on a flat surface and excess clothing should be removed.

In the process of providing first aid, it is necessary to clear the respiratory channels for easier passage of air. In case of vomiting, the victim is placed on his side, and in case of cardiac arrest, resuscitation is carried out.

Traditional treatment

If you have been diagnosed with an allergy to odors, treatment will require taking medications, which will help relieve symptoms and slow down the progression of the disease. Complex therapy includes:

  1. Antihistamines. Experts recommend using Claritin, Diazolin, Zodak, Cetrin or Erius.
  2. Hormonal drugs, which are presented as sprays or drops against allergic rhinitis.
  3. Enterosorbents that allow you to effectively and quickly remove toxins from the body.

During the treatment process, it is necessary to normalize nutrition, so following a diet is an important factor in recovery. Allergenic foods should not be included in the diet. But vitamin complexes help activate the immune system, strengthen its protective functions, which increases the effectiveness of complex therapy and prevents recurrence of the disease.

Ointments with an anti-inflammatory effect will help remove skin manifestations of allergies. Gels with a restorative, calming effect are also prescribed. Often the reaction is due to psychosomatic reasons. In this case, consultation with a psychologist is required.

As the clinical picture weakens, symptomatic treatment begins to eliminate additional symptoms. Since the disease is associated with inflammation in the nose and runny nose, medications with a local effect are prescribed.

For example, you can use Kromofarm and Oxymetazoline. Sometimes patients are prescribed a course of immunotherapy with the introduction of an allergen into the body, which will allow it to adapt.

The effect is manifested in addiction and subsequent relief from allergies.

Folk remedies

Traditional medicine recipes help increase the effectiveness of conservative therapy. After consulting with your doctor, you can use the following remedies:

  1. Infusion of marsh wild rosemary. Should be taken three times a day.
  2. Chewing honey ruminant components – up to 5 times a day for 7-10 minutes.
  3. Honeycomb in a solution of water - taken before bed.
  4. Apple cider vinegar helps during exacerbations in the morning and at night.
  5. Celandine with water in solution - 1 tbsp. l. three times a day.
  6. Infusion of hemp seeds in water – 1 tbsp. l. three times a day.


To exclude the possibility of an allergic reaction, provoking factors should be avoided:

  1. Eliminate cosmetics containing fragrances from your daily routine.
  2. When cleaning the house using chemicals, you must use a respirator and provide ventilation.
  3. Avoid visiting closed spaces with a lot of odors.
  4. Strengthen your immune system, take vitamin and mineral complexes.
  5. Choose an effective hypoallergenic diet for yourself.

If the allergic reaction is associated with pollen during the flowering period, then it is advisable to limit spending time outdoors in areas where vegetation is concentrated. Individual sensitivity to odors can cause serious reactions in the body. Only correct diagnosis and treatment of the disease can eliminate symptoms.

Source: https://allergy-med.ru/v-bytu/allergiya-na-zapahi

Effective folk remedies

Such recipes should be used depending on the provoking factor for the appearance of this symptom. One of the most common causes of pathology is diffuse toxic goiter.

In this situation, you should use this recipe:

People who decide to use folk remedies should take into account that this therapy tactic can cause serious harm. Thus, there is a threat of developing allergies, increased sensitivity to aromas, or, conversely, a complete loss of smell.

Sometimes folk recipes provoke damage to the digestive system, inflammatory changes in the nasopharynx and other undesirable changes.

Hyperosmia, or heightened sense of smell, is a fairly serious disorder that can lead to unpleasant symptoms. To cope with this condition, it is very important to establish the reasons for its development. To do this, you need to conduct a detailed diagnosis. Based on its results, a qualified doctor will be able to select adequate therapy.

Treatment for deterioration of smell depends on the cause that caused it.

Complete loss of smell is called anosmia, partial loss is called hyposmia, and changes in the perception of smells are called parosmia and dysosmia. One type of dysosmia is cacosmia, a sensation of unpleasant odor that occurs during acute sinusitis, treatment with tetracycline or streptomycin, restoration of the sense of smell after anosmia caused by influenza or traumatic brain injury. Parosmia, or olfactory hallucinations, occurs in schizophrenia and temporal lobe epilepsy.

The essence of pathology

The olfactory analyzer is responsible for the analysis and recognition of aromas. It contains a special type of epithelium that includes different types of cells. These include supporting, basal, and olfactory.

Thus, olfactory cells are localized in the structure of the nasal mucosa. On their surface there are olfactory cilia that capture fragrant molecules. All cells are attached to nerve fibers. They are united into special bundles called axons.

These structures transmit impulses to certain areas of the brain. They are instantly analyzed. By determining the key characteristics of the odor - intensity and quality - its classification is carried out. The aroma can be pleasant or unpleasant.

Exacerbation of odors is called hyperosmia. This term refers to high sensitivity to aromas that are present in the environment. If a person's sense of smell becomes acute, he can detect and recognize even the faintest odors.

In addition to hyperosmia, there are several other types of perception of aromas. These include the following:

  • hyposmia – is a decrease in the sense of smell;
  • anosmia - in this case, a person is not able to perceive aromas at all;
  • cacosmia - in which the patient constantly feels a stench;
  • parosmia - implies a distortion of the information received, which is interpreted by doctors as a kind of olfactory hallucinations.

Symptoms, causes and treatment methods vary significantly depending on the clinical picture. To choose the optimal therapy, you should consult a doctor who will conduct a detailed examination. Based on its results, the specialist will be able to choose adequate treatment.

Article on the topic - how to restore the nasal mucosa.

Causes of deterioration of sense of smell

Deterioration of the sense of smell can occur with any disease in which the flow of air to the cribriform plate of the ethmoid bone is disrupted. This anosmia is called respiratory or transport anosmia. Thus, the sense of smell often deteriorates with nasal polyps and severe chronic sinusitis.

Unilateral anosmia usually goes unnoticed.

Anosmia in the absence of obstruction of the nasal passages can be caused by damage to the olfactory epithelium (receptor anosmia) or the central part of the olfactory analyzer (central anosmia). Common causes of complete loss of smell are respiratory viral infections and severe traumatic brain injuries, as well as poisoning with certain industrial poisons (for example, formaldehyde) and lead, vitamin A deficiency, smoking and radiation therapy.

Sometimes the cause of slowly increasing anosmia is meningioma of the anterior cranial fossa. Rare causes of anosmia are diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism, Addison-Biermer disease, and amphetamine use.

Partial loss of smell (hyposmia) that occurs during pregnancy disappears after childbirth.

Congenital and hereditary causes of anosmia include Turner syndrome, pseudohypoparathyroidism, and Kallmann syndrome. The sense of smell often weakens with age.

If no changes are detected during examination of the nose, the cause of anosmia can usually be determined based on anamnesis, x-ray and laboratory tests.

Increased sensitivity to odors: causes

The sense of smell is a kind of boundary that filters aromas coming from outside. And if for some reason a failure occurs at one of the stages, then olfactory dysfunction develops.

An increased sense of smell may be a consequence of:

  • depression;
  • schizophrenia;
  • neurasthenia;
  • hysteria.

One of the chronic diseases can affect a person’s sensitivity to odors:

  • hypothyroidism (diffuse toxic goiter);
  • diabetes;
  • hepatitis;
  • Turner syndrome.

The sensitivity of the same person to different aromas changes throughout the day. There is a minimum threshold of perception at which a certain concentration of odorous molecules provokes an adequate reaction of the olfactory analyzer.

Thus, men have a lower sensitivity to odors; they rarely complain about a heightened sense of smell. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to experience hormonal changes throughout their lives and are more susceptible to hyperosmia.

It has been noted that a child has a lower threshold of olfactory perception compared to an adult, so children react sharply to unpleasant aromas and more often show emotions in relation to odors.

Increased sensitivity to odors during pregnancy is associated with changes in a woman's hormonal levels. In this case, irritation can be caused by both individual aromas (partial, selective hyperosmia) and absolutely all odorous substances (complete hyperosmia).

After the birth of a child, when the balance of hormones is normalized, acute sensitivity to odors disappears without a trace.

In completely healthy women, the reaction to odors changes during one menstrual cycle. This is due to natural hormonal changes.

Most often, women have a heightened sense of smell before menstruation or during ovulation (in the middle of the cycle). The acuity of smell also increases when taking oral contraceptives or undergoing hormonal therapy.

Treatment of impaired sense of smell

Anosmia that develops after respiratory viral infections goes away on its own. Recently, it has been proposed to prescribe oral zinc supplements for persistent anosmia, but their effectiveness has not been proven.

It is very important to advise the patient to install a fire alarm in the apartment, not to overuse perfumes and colognes, take showers more often, use deodorants and pay attention to the expiration dates of food products.

Prof. D. Nobel

“Deterioration of the sense of smell and changes in the perception of odors” and other articles from the section

The sense of smell is the ability to distinguish odors from each other. Unlike men, women have a more acute sense of smell. It is especially aggravated during a hormonal surge in the body, for example, during pregnancy or ovulation. Impaired sense of smell occurs due to inflammatory processes in the nose and injuries to the mucous membrane. This pathology can be caused by vitamin deficiency, head injuries and intoxication of the body. Allergies and genetic mutations are common causes of loss of smell.

Smell disorders

The acuity of smell in healthy people varies widely, which may be due to local or hormonal factors, as well as age.

Olfactory disorders are usually divided into quantitative and qualitative

Quantitative pathologies of the sense of smell are hyperosmia, hyposmia and anosmia. Hyperosmia
is increased sensitivity to odors.
is a reduced ability to smell.
is a complete loss of smell.
Qualitative pathology of smell is divided into cacosmia, dysosmia and parosmia. Cacosmia
is a subjective sensation of an unpleasant odor (usually it actually exists), usually caused by organic pathology.
is a distorted perception of smells.
is the sensation of smell in the absence of a stimulus. Women, compared to men, usually have a more acute sense of smell, which becomes even more acute during pregnancy and ovulation. Hyposmia usually progresses gradually with aging, and hyperosmia occurs with fasting, nausea, and obesity. Some professional fields, such as perfumery or cooking, require a very keen sense of smell, which is usually innate and not acquired through training.

Types of pathology

Olfactory impairment is a pathological condition in which the access of any aromatic substances to the olfactory neuroepithelium is difficult, a special receptor zone is severely damaged, or the central olfactory tract is damaged.

Smell impairment can be of three types. Each of them has its own characteristics.

  1. Transport. This type of disorder occurs due to severe swelling of the mucous membrane. This condition is typical for rhinitis, sinusitis, deviated nasal septum and various tumors in the nose. Viral and bacterial infections can cause swelling of the mucous membrane. Disturbances in the production of mucosal secretions can also lead to such a pathology. In this case, the cilia of the epithelium are literally immersed in a viscous secretion.
  2. Sensory. This disorder occurs due to the destruction of the neuroepithelium by various pathogens. Pathology can occur when toxic substances are inhaled and radiation therapy is performed on areas adjacent to the head.
  3. Neural. This type of disorder occurs with head injuries when the base of the front of the skull or the cribriform plate is damaged. Neurosurgery and head tumors can also lead to this.

In addition, a decrease in the sense of smell is differentiated by the ability to detect odors. Based on patient complaints or examination results, doctors identify the following disorders:

  • Complete anosmia - in this case, the patient does not distinguish odors at all.
  • Partial anosmia - the patient perceives some aromas.
  • Partial hyposmia is reduced sensitivity to certain odors.
  • Dysosmia - in this case, a person cannot normally identify odors. The sense of smell is perverted.
  • Complete hyperosmia - the patient has a very developed sense of smell.
  • Partial hyperosmia - in this case, special sensitivity is observed only to certain odors.

Only a doctor can determine the type of pathology in a particular case.

For this purpose, a complete examination of the patient is carried out.

Impaired sense of smell cannot be called a serious symptom, but sometimes it indicates serious pathologies of the central nervous system.

Test your sense of smell

If you doubt your ability to distinguish odors, do a short smell test . Smell the alcohol, valerian and soap one by one. If all odors are normally distinguished, then the sense of smell as a whole is in a normal state.

A more difficult test is to try to distinguish the smell of sugar from the smell of salt. If this is all right, go to the next level: place in front of you perfume or fresh flowers, onions or garlic, chocolate, instant coffee, turpentine or solvent, an extinguished match. Close your eyes and ask someone to select three objects from this set and bring them to your nose, one at a time. Were you able to accurately recognize the smell of each of them? Congratulations, your sense of smell is great!

Tatyana GOIDINA City "Stoletnik" No. 18, 2014

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A change in the sense of smell may be due to pathological disorders in the nasal cavity, as well as pathologies of the central nervous system. The sense of smell is impaired during colds, because the nose swells greatly and odors cannot reach special olfactory receptors. Since the perception of smell also affects the perception of taste, this explains the tastelessness of food during a cold. Sometimes the olfactory cells are damaged by viruses, so a person does not smell or taste for several days after complete recovery.

Sometimes the loss of smell lasts for months or becomes irreversible. Cells can be severely destroyed by frequent viral infections or radiation therapy.

The main causes of impaired sense of smell in people include the following pathologies and conditions:

  • Taking medications that affect the ability to correctly perceive odors. These include amphetamines, zinc-based drugs, some hormones and nasal drops for long-term use.
  • Respiratory and allergic diseases.
  • Blockage of the nasal passages by polyps and other neoplasms.
  • Deformation of the nasal septum.
  • Endocrine disorders.
  • Neurological diseases, including Alzheimer's disease.
  • Lack of vitamins and nutrients in the body.
  • Injuries to the skull and nose.
  • Surgical intervention in the nasal cavity.
  • Consequences of radiation therapy.

The most common cause of smell disorder is considered to be traumatic brain injury, which often happens in car accidents. In this case, the fibers of the special olfactory nerve, which comes from the center of smell, are torn in the area of ​​the ethmoid bone, which separates the nose and the cavity of the cranium.

Sometimes there are cases when a person is already born with an impaired sense of smell. This indicates congenital neurological pathologies or genetic predisposition.

Causes of hyposmia

Some people may lose some of their sense of smell for a number of reasons.

Possible causes of hyposmia are:

  • allergy;
  • traumatic brain injury;
  • infections such as influenza;
  • small growths in the nose or maxillary cavity known as polyps;
  • displaced nasal septum.

Long-term problems with the nasal cavity, turning into chronic ones, including sinusitis, are also associated with a decrease in the sense of smell. When the sinuses remain blocked, swollen, and filled with mucus for more than 12 weeks despite treatment, prolonged inflammation can significantly damage the cells that support the ability to smell.

Doctors who specialize in diseases affecting the nasal cavity support the idea that reducing inflammation can improve the sense of smell. At least 250 different medications can also affect the ability to perceive taste or smell, and some of these medications cause hyposmia.

The following are just the main ones:

  • antidepressants, such as amitriptyline;
  • antibiotics such as ampicillin and tetracycline;
  • antihistamines such as loratadine.

In addition, long-term exposure to certain harmful chemicals, smoking tobacco, or using drugs such as cocaine can cause hyposmia. Age is another major factor in the partial loss of smell. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Division of Head and Neck Surgery, the ability to detect odors is greatest in people between 30 and 60 years of age. And then gradually decreases. Therefore, the degree of hyposmia most often occurs in adults, and 39% of them are approximately 80 years old.


To test a person’s sense of smell, they resort to various products and substances with a strong odor. Essential oils, some soaps, and aromatic spices such as cinnamon or cloves can be used. In addition, they check how correctly the patient determines taste. Sugar, salt, lemon juice and aloe juice can be used for this.

The doctor will carefully examine the nose and the surrounding area. To clarify the diagnosis, the following studies may be prescribed:

  • CT scan.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging.

In addition, the doctor carefully collects anamnesis. It is clarified for the patient when the disturbance in the sense of smell became noticeable and under what circumstances this occurred.

When diagnosing a pathology, the doctor must pay attention to whether the patient has oral diseases that are accompanied by a lack of saliva.


Depending on the cause that caused this pathology, the doctor prescribes treatment. If the disorder is associated with taking certain medications, they should be discontinued. After suffering from a respiratory illness or flu, you should wait a couple of weeks. If during this time the odors are still not felt, then you need to consult a doctor.

In most cases, such disorders are reversible. To quickly restore your lost sense of smell, you must follow these recommendations:

To restore normal sense of smell, you need to quit smoking.

It has already been proven that the disturbance in the perception of smells in heavy smokers is reversible; the restoration of the sense of smell occurs, albeit slowly, but surely.

It is worth understanding that it will not be possible to completely restore the sense of smell in older people. The sense of smell in 80-year-olds is half that of a 30-year-old.

Restoring the sense of smell

heightened sense of smellIf the ability to recognize odors is lost, it should be returned.
According to statistics, most often the lack of sense of smell occurs due to colds, a deviated nasal septum, and the presence of polyps. In a word, when a mechanical obstacle appears that prevents you from enjoying the aromas. Based on the reason, a decision should be made on how to restore the sense of smell. For diseases of the mucous membrane, doctors act as follows:

  • Eliminate all factors that caused the loss of smell.
  • Medications are prescribed on an individual basis.
  • Physiotherapy is prescribed.
  • If necessary, surgical treatment is used.

What to pay attention to

If a person does not smell and taste food, then this is not a problem. What should be alarming is that a person often learns about impending danger by recognizing odors. If the perception of odors is persistently impaired, you must adhere to the following recommendations:

If a person cannot recognize odors after suffering a respiratory illness, then there is no need to worry about this; after a week everything will be restored without any treatment.

With respiratory diseases and flu, the sense of smell is almost always impaired. This is due to severe swelling of the mucous membrane and the inability of aromas to reach special receptors in the nose. This condition is reversible and does not require treatment. With head injuries, the impairment in odor recognition may be irreversible. Age-related changes in the nose cannot be corrected either.

Changing the sense of smell is a fairly serious problem for humans. Loss of sensitivity to present odors significantly affects mood, appetite, and causes discomfort when a person is in any environment. The pleasant aroma affects the taste buds, provoking the secretion of gastric juice. If this does not happen, quite serious digestive problems can arise.

If there are toxic substances in the air, a person who has lost sensitivity inhales them, causing enormous harm to health. To understand how to cure a pathology, you need to understand its symptoms and causes.

Olfactory disorders cause diseases such as parosmia, cacosmia, hyperosmia. All varieties of the same pathology can manifest themselves differently.

For example, with anosmia, an absolute loss of smell is possible, cacosmia causes a sensation of the presence of unpleasant odors, hyperosmia is characterized by an exacerbation of the sense of smell.

The pathology can be either a congenital anomaly or an acquired defect. Congenital pathology manifests itself when the respiratory tract, nasal cavity is underdeveloped, or the functioning of taste buds is disrupted.

Acquired impairment of smell may be of a peripheral or central nature. With a peripheral nature of origin, the pathology is localized in the nasal cavity. Central anosmia is characterized by damage to the central nervous system.

Peripheral parosmia can be divided into 4 types:

  • functional
    (manifests against the background of the occurrence of infectious diseases, allergic reactions of the body). Characterized by the presence of swelling of the nasal mucosa. Often occurs during nervous breakdowns, hysterics, and resolves after eliminating unstable nervous conditions;
  • respiratory
    (characterized by the lack of working abilities of the olfactory analyzers when inhaling air with molecules of aromatic substances). In this case, the causes of hyperosmia may be incorrect anatomical structure of the nasal septum, inflamed tonsils, polyps, cancerous tumors;
  • age-related
    parosmia (observed with atrophic changes in the condition of the internal walls of the nose, leading to its drying out);
  • Essential
    pathology develops as a result of targeted damage to the olfactory organ. This can be injuries of various types, burns, atrophy of the mucous membrane of the nasal epithelium, etc.


Peripheral parosmia is characterized by a violation of the sense of taste in parallel with a decrease in olfactory abilities.

Before looking for methods to eliminate pathology, you need to know the general symptoms of the disease and the causes of its origin.

How does the human sense of smell work?

The olfactory analyzer, which consists of an olfactory epithelium consisting of several types of cells (olfactory, supporting and basal), is responsible for the perception and recognition of odors.

Olfactory cells are located in the mucous membrane of the nasal cavity and end on the surface with olfactory cilia, which capture odorous molecules.

As a result of the analysis of the main characteristics of the aroma (intensity, quality, identity), its recognition and classification occurs (pleasant, unpleasant, disgusting).

Signs of parosmia

The main symptom of hyperosmia, cacosmia, parosmia is a violation of the working abilities of the olfactory organ. With cacosmia and parosmia, a person may perceive the presence of aromas that are not actually there.

Moreover, impaired perception is characterized by a feeling of putrefactive, garlicky, hydrogen sulfide odors. In some cases, these sensations may occur in one nostril.

Hyperosmia is characterized by increased capacity of olfactory receptors. If a person perceives the aromas present excessively, it can be concluded that a serious illness is present.

A pathological change in the sense of smell is accompanied by migraines, mental state deviations, emotional experiences, dysfunction of internal systems and organs.

Hyperosmia in women

The development of an increased sense of smell occurs in women during pregnancy. The perception of many odors increases. This usually concerns the smells of chemicals, perfume, and other cosmetics. This can often be irritating and cause sneezing. Such changes are associated with hormonal changes.

The second condition is the development of menstruation. Typically, hyperosmia can form several days before the onset. Women should not be afraid if this phenomenon is not frequent and does not cause discomfort. In case of frequency and persistence, it is recommended to seek help from a clinic. There is a need to take hormone tests.

Hyperosmia can appear against the background of neurotic changes. We are talking about conditions such as schizophrenia, neurasthenia, hysteria of various origins.


The reasons for changes in the sense of smell are in the following situations:

  • the occurrence of a mechanical obstacle to the entry of odor on the way to sensitive receptors;
  • pathological change in olfactory receptors;
  • disruption of brain function.

Since the symptoms and treatment of parosmia are interrelated, after eliminating the causes of the pathology (deviated septum of the nasal cavity, swelling caused by rhinitis, allergies, purulent sinusitis), it is possible to completely restore the sense of smell


Other causes of pathology are:

  • air pollution with harmful impurities (tobacco smoke, chemicals);
  • pregnancy period (characterized by the manifestation of hyperosmia);
  • ovulation;
  • taking certain medications;
  • brain damage;
  • mental illness;
  • oversaturation of the body with vitamin A;
  • diseases of the oral cavity (caries, gingivitis, stomatitis);
  • intoxication of the body with alcoholic beverages, chemical reagents;
  • menopause period;
  • diabetes mellitus, HIV infection.


Treatment of smell impairment is carried out after a thorough diagnosis. The procedure involves a reaction test to ordinary odors, a pyridine test, and fluoroscopy.

Why does the sense of smell become more acute?

Increased sensitivity to various odors can occur for several reasons. The following groups are distinguished:

  1. Physiological. Associated with changes in the body that can lead to this condition. Occurs in a short period of time.
  2. Congenital. Caused by damage to the nose.
  3. Inflammatory. They occur with the development of a pathological process in the mucous membrane.
  4. Neurological. Associated with the work of the olfactory nerve. This group also includes brain damage and hemorrhages. Additionally, this includes personality disorders such as schizophrenia and hysteria of any origin.

Treatment options

The symptoms and treatment of cacosmia are quite interrelated. Depending on the causes and symptoms of smell impairment, different treatment methods are used.

If the pathology is caused by a swollen state of the nasal mucosa as a result of colds, rhinitis, flu, measures are taken to eliminate them.

To speed up the patient’s recovery, drug therapy is prescribed:

  • rinsing the nasal cavity with saline solution;
  • taking anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial medications;
  • taking corticosteroids;
  • physiotherapeutic measures.

Quite often, patients experience a persistent loss of olfactory abilities due to anatomical disturbances in the structure of the nasal cavity. In this case, treatment consists of surgery.

Impaired sense of smell due to a malfunction of the central nervous system is practically untreatable. In this case, maintenance therapy is carried out aimed at increasing the resistance of the nervous system to external factors.

Congenital cacosmia occurs due to a violation of the anatomical structure of the maxillofacial apparatus. This pathology cannot be treated.

In some cases, treatment of smell impairment using folk methods becomes effective. However, such therapy should be treated with caution. You can eliminate cacosmia yourself only if access to the olfactory receptors is impaired. At the same time, you should not neglect the medications prescribed by your doctor.

You can improve your sense of smell in the following ways:

  • rinsing the nasal cavity with special solutions (adding sea or regular salt to the water);
  • installation of an automatic air humidifier in the room;
  • adding zinc to the diet (found in walnuts, lentils, sunflower seeds);
  • limiting the use of household cleaning products with a strong chemical odor at home;
  • Frequent wet cleaning and room ventilation.

, gymnastic exercises for the face help well in the treatment of cacosmia, parosmia, and hyperosmia

  • taking short breaths for 5 – 6 seconds followed by relaxation;
  • pulling the upper lip down while simultaneously pressing the nostrils with your fingers, resisting the force of the wings of the nose;
  • placing a finger on the bridge of the nose while simultaneously trying to move the eyebrows.

How to treat exacerbation of smell

Therapy is carried out based on research results. A prerequisite is to identify exactly the cause of the development of such a symptom. When eliminated, the impairment of olfactory function will be restored. With the exception of physiological changes in women. In this case, you can get by with conventional methods of therapy. For diagnosis the following may be prescribed:

  • blood and urine tests;
  • MRI of the brain;
  • examination of the nasal cavity;
  • biochemical tests;
  • carrying out x-ray examinations.

The list will directly depend on the suspected cause. Depending on this, the list of medications will vary. Because of this, self-medication is prohibited, as this can only aggravate the emerging pathological process. Approximate diagram:

  1. In the presence of an inflammatory process, local moisturizers can be used. To combat respiratory infections, antibiotics and antivirals are used.
  2. Neurological reasons. In this case, therapy is selected depending on the condition of the patient himself and his underlying disease.

Any identified cause is treated. If it is not possible to eliminate hyperosmia with medication, then they resort to various surgical methods .

If left untreated, hyperosmia may become permanent.

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