Loss of sense of smell? When should you see a Rhinologist?
Loss of sense of smell, or anosmia, has a significant impact on quality of life. Not only does it affect our ability to detect odours, but also impairs our ability to determine flavours. It is common and affects approximately 19% of the population. There has been increased awareness of anosmia due to the recent link of COVID-19, and loss of sense of smell as well as other symptoms such as burning sensation in the nose.
Airborne viruses enter the nose as we breathe and can affect the function of the olfactory receptors. Viruses bind to the receptors and this can lead to their dysfunction. It may be that the receptors can no longer bind, or that the binding odours no longer send signals to the brain to recognise the smell. Parosmia is a distortion of your sense of smell. It can be a sign of recovery and is thought to be due to an imbalance of active receptors or altered signals due to viral damage.
Post viral anosmia and parosmia can improve with time and there are things you can do to help including sinus rinsing and smell training. If you have had a diagnosis of COVID-19 and have a loss of sense of smell for more than three months, it is recommended that you see a Rhinologist. If the loss of smell is not associated with a COVID infection and more than 4-6 weeks with or without nasal symptoms, it is important to exclude other conditions that can affect your sense of smell such as allergic rhinitis, rhinosinusitis or nasal polyps. These conditions are associated with nasal blockage and discharge, lasting longer than 4-6 weeks. A consultation with Nasendoscopy to examine the nose and possible imaging to determine what treatment either medical or surgical may help.
Miss Shamim Toma
Miss Shamim Toma is a Consultant Rhinologist ENT Surgeon at One Ashford Hospital, specialising in:
- Rhinology (nose and sinus surgery),
- Nasal plastic surgery (Rhinoplasty)
- Sinus disease
To learn more on Miss Toma, please click here
To book a consultation or learn more about the services we provide, contact the hospital direct on 01233 423 303 or email here
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