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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Loss of Sense of Smell

05/18/2010

Question:

It seems that I have lost my sense of smell. In 2005, I stopped treating my nasal polyps with the prescribed Flonase after I was removed from my mother’s insurance. How I can get my sense of smell back?

Answer:

If you have nasal polyps, then your loss of smell is most likely due to obstruction of the olfactory cleft.  This is a very narrow area along the roof of your nose where lie the nerve endings that receive odors and allow us to smell.  Your best bet is to see an ENT physician who can recommend appropriate treatment for these polyps.  This may require appropriate medications (usually more than just flonase, such as a brief course of oral or systemic steroids, topical medications mixed with salt water rinses, antibiotics) and/or surgery.  Appropriate therapy should enable you to recover your sense of smell.

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Response by:

Allen M Seiden, MD Allen M Seiden, MD
Professor of Otolaryngology, Director of Division of Rhinology and Sinus Disorders, Director of University Taste and Smell Center, Director of University Sinus and Allergy
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati