Please help me exorcise these phantom smells.
January 4, 2013 3:49 PM   Subscribe

First it was urine, then feces, then smoke, now it's mold. I swear, my new house is trying to drive me away with foul odors no one else can smell. What can I do about it?

This actually started in our old apartment with the wood smell and the mold, but ever since the onset of cool weather, when we started closing the windows, I've been bombarded with foul odors from our new house. My fiance sometimes will say that he smells "something" but to me the place absolutely reeks with stench. I mean reeks to the point that I have to cover my nose and mouth. Sometimes to the point where it will trigger an asthma attack.

I haven't been able to find the source of any of these odors. My honey smokes, but only in a closed room in the back of the house, and the smoke I'm smelling isn't cigarette smoke. It's either wood smoke or chemical smoke, and it's always in a certain area of the house - the sun room and the back hallway. The urine smell is also in a certain area of the house, and nowhere near the cat litter box or the bathrooms. I thought it was coming from the air ducts, but it appears to be coming from nowhere, and I'm just smelling it when the heater comes on, and only in the living room. It's the same with the other odors, I smell them in areas of the house that make no sense - mold from the fireplace and feces in the kitchen.

Believe me, I've looked for the sources and I've cleaned EVERYTHING. I bleached the entire kitchen to try and get rid of the smell. I could hardly smell the bleach over the feces smell, but my fiance had to leave the house until it dried. We had a company come in and check the place for critters - there aren't any. The guy who came in also said he could smell "something" in the kitchen but said it didn't smell like feces to him and didn't smell that strong.

I looked up "phantom smells" on the internet, and I'm fairly sure that I don't have a brain tumor. I know I don't have epilepsy because they checked me for that when I developed migraines way back when. However, I do take anti-seizure meds for my bipolar, which are also supposed to help these things (they're also supposed to help with migraines too, but they don't), and these smells aren't connected to my migraines that I can tell. I don't even know if they are phantom smells or if I'm being hyper sensitive to smells that are already in the environment since other people can smell "something".

I'm at the end of my rope. It's really starting to drive me buggy. There isn't a day that goes by where I'm not smelling at least one of these odors for at least an hour or two -- sometimes longer. It doesn't make life pleasant. Is this something I should bring up with my psychiatrist next time I see her? or is this a physical thing I need to see my doctor (now that I have one) about? I guess I'm looking for ancedata and possible solutions until I can get an appointment with either one doctor or the other. I'm so tired of smelling foul odors. If bleach couldn't cover up a smell, I don't know what else could help. I tried Vick's Vapor Rub under my nose, and that helped a little, but I don't want to smell Vick's forever either.

Scented candles are useless in this battle, as is febreeze.
posted by patheral to Health & Fitness (42 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Why are you sure you don't have a brain tumor?
posted by Jairus at 3:56 PM on January 4, 2013 [5 favorites]

I would recommend talking to your doctor, just because if it's a physical, medical issue, anything else you do won't have any effect, and further efforts would probably just stress you out more when they don't work.

I have an unusually strong sense of smell, and am more bothered by smells than most people, but I have never experienced something as persistent and troubling as what you describe.
posted by Safiya at 3:58 PM on January 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

Cat pee shows up when you turn a black light on it in a completely pitch black room, and black light bulbs can be purchased inexpensively online. Perhaps you can try this to see if there is lingering urine from a previous owner?

There are mold remediation people you can bring in to look for mold.

You may also want to see if you can leave windows open for a few hours every few days, if it's not too terribly frigid, to keep the house aired out.

But if you can't find evidence of a cause and the smell doesn't dissipate with ventilation, it does start looking like this is a problem that starts with you and not your house.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 4:05 PM on January 4, 2013

When you say 'new house', do you mean new to you or newly constructed? Do you have anything like newish carpet, paint or furniture that could be off-gassing?
posted by AnnaRat at 4:06 PM on January 4, 2013

If the cause is medical, it doesn't have to be something as drastic as a brain tumor. This NIH site has a short list of possible issues, including sinus and dental problems (scroll down to "What causes smell disorders?").
posted by evidenceofabsence at 4:15 PM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

I could hardly smell the bleach over the feces smell, but my fiance had to leave the house until it dried.

I can see someone not smelling something that someone else can. But this makes no sense when you think it through:

1: Your SO can't smell what you can. So you can argue that you have a more sensitive nose.

2: But the smell of the bleach is so strong to your SO that they have to leave the house until it goes.

3: The smell of faeces (something that almost everyone is sensitive to more than most smells) overpowered the bleach smell for you.

So they can't smell something at all that is, to you, more overpowering than a floorful of bleach? Does that seem even remotely likely to you?

Honestly, I think this may be an issue with you medically somehow, rather than the house. As difficult as it will be for you to believe or accept, perhaps, the mechanics of the various smells in various places makes no logical sense. The bleach story is just... unlikely. It pretty much negates the 'my nose is more sensitive than my SO' possibility, to my mind.
posted by Brockles at 4:19 PM on January 4, 2013 [7 favorites]

First thing I did was turn on the black light. And I found nothing. The house is new to us, it was build in the '70's and had one owner who had no pets. He died shortly before we bought the house. The disclosure says that the carpets and the rest of the flooring are about four years old. Can't say about the paint, but the paneling and all of the cupboards are original to the house (I'm guessing their varnish is too from the looks of them.)
posted by patheral at 4:20 PM on January 4, 2013

You say they are odors which "no one else can smell" but the only person you mention is your fiance, who is a smoker. Have you asked anyone with a fully functional sense of smell if they notice this?
posted by ActingTheGoat at 4:25 PM on January 4, 2013 [14 favorites]

It is time for you to see a neurologist.
posted by elizardbits at 4:25 PM on January 4, 2013 [5 favorites]

If the previous owner had undisclosed animals that were not housebroken or poorly managed incontinence, those smells can seep deep into wood and carpet and require serious remediation. That's also the case if there was a localized fire. In some cases like this, floors, subfloors, and sheet rock need to be replaced. If someone did a "good enough" job of it just to get it sold or rented, but didn't deal with it completely, you could be smelling the results of that half-done job. If the above are not in the realm of possibility, a medical work-up would be a very good idea.
posted by quince at 4:26 PM on January 4, 2013

My sister had the thing where you smell random weird smells because she had epilepsy. It was a different thing than you describe. It wasn't place oriented. All of the sudden, sort of from nowhere, things would start smelling like eggs/sulfur for example. This is not to say that there may not be at least a partly medical aspect to this, but my personal experience points in a different direction. I have a bit of an anxiety problem and my issue is noise. I am certain that there are noises happening, noises that will keep me from sleeping. This makes me do weird things, especially when travelling. Things like asking for a new room in a hotel (one away from the ice machine or elevator) or things like listening intently with my ear against the wall to see if my neighbors have their TV on. This reminds me of your description, since I both can't really hear the TV but also somehow it's making me crazy. Usually at the point where I have my ear against the wall I sort of have an "aha" moment and take my anxiety medicine and go to bed. But I also have a white noise machine and ear plugs.

So, to speak to your specific issue...

- Is it possible to even somewhat mask the smells or have some sort of calming or pleasant smell overlapping them?
- Have you moved the appliances in the kitchen to check behind/around them? [one source of terrible smells I found was the drop tray under the fridge]
- Have you pulled up carpets? In the one house where I have spent time that had a pet urine problem [of only a few years but it made one of the rooms unlivable] everything was focused on one carpeted area

I find that, in my life, there is usually a root thing [i.e. there is a smell of some sort] but that usually my anxiety is what is making it A Thing and an overwhelming problem. There is no reason NOT to talk to your psychiatrist about this as you pursue other mitigating and calming strategies.
posted by jessamyn at 4:31 PM on January 4, 2013 [8 favorites]

Pulling up the carpets is on our list of "things to do" but we can't afford to lay new flooring at the moment, so it's on the back burner.

I've talked to several of the neighbors since we moved here, and they all said that the previous owner (singular - he bought the house new) was an extremely neat man who kept the house in excellent shape, which appears to be true. From what I've gleaned, he died of old age a bachelor (his niece sold the house) and had no pets.

We have moved several of the appliances (and checked the drip tray in the fridge); we've even replaced a couple. I'm not sure what to do about the chimney. I'm the type of person who tends to rearrange the furniture every few weeks or I get cabin fever. It keeps the floors underneath clean as well.

I'm sure that my mind is blowing this all out of proportion and the place doesn't really reek. But it does. It really does, and it's driving me nuts.
posted by patheral at 4:47 PM on January 4, 2013

Well, first of all, as my brother says, "check your bells and whistles." I have cats and they don't always go in the right places. So urine: that's one place that could be messing you up.

Second of all, you're in a new place so you don't know the ins and outs, despite what other people say. You can only know your own nose. I've gotten the smelly anxiety before, sure, but sometimes it's right, so who's to say, eh? Maybe a skunk or a rat or squirrel died up in the eaves or the walls and you're smelling it.

We have mice that come in 'round the chimney. I mean, there could be some dead rodent around that's causing the stink. How long was it before you moved in? Is it possible a mouse or rat got in and it's blasting around in the vents or walls?
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:55 PM on January 4, 2013

since you say this started at your old apartment i'd guess that it is something with you physically. do get checked out by a doc.
posted by wildflower at 5:02 PM on January 4, 2013 [7 favorites]

The people who said they could smell "something" could easily all be humoring you. Especially the hired guy, who's potentially selling you a service. So far, no one has seemed to smell what you're smelling.

Get yourself checked out.
posted by BE ADEQUITE at 5:08 PM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

You should totally get yourself checked out. But in terms of cheap fixes that involve an impartial nose: do you have a friend who might bring their dog over to your house? Because if your house had feces or dead-animal smells going on all the time, even mild ones, my dog would be all OH HELL YES IT IS OVER HERE LET'S ALL SMELL THE DEAD THINGS.
posted by deludingmyself at 5:19 PM on January 4, 2013 [12 favorites]

Recently I had some kind of rhinovirus and the result was very mild flu symptoms that lasted for almost three months. The main symptom was that everything smelled like crap. Almost literally like crap. My internal saliva smelled like crap to me. I saved a bunch up in a cup and asked someone else to smell it and they didn't smell anything abnormal. Whatever I was smelling was an illusion of some kind, internal to me. Thank god it finally went away. I talked to someone else who just had the same experience.

Wikipedia, rhinovirus: "As the virus replicates and spreads, infected cells release distress signals known as chemokines and cytokines"

It also says there that these things can persist for a very long time.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:19 PM on January 4, 2013

these smells aren't connected to my migraines that I can tell. I don't even know if they are phantom smells or if I'm being hyper sensitive to smells that are already in the environment since other people can smell "something".

Are you sure it isn't migraine related? Migraine auras can take various forms--they're often visual, but it's not uncommon for people to experience olfactory auras. Sometimes they are phantom smells, but sometimes the smell is real but distorted--there is a real odour, pleasant or neutral to others, but to you it smells unpleasant.

I suffer from olfactory migraine auras, as do two of my close friends and my own physician! And it is possible to experience a migraine aura without the accompanying head pain (lately mine have been visual and olfactory auras with no headache). I'm with everyone else who's encouraging you to bring this up with medical professionals.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:19 PM on January 4, 2013 [4 favorites]

Is this a joke? You already have a neurological condition (migraines). Not only is it completely clear that no one else smells this stuff (the boyfriend-bleach anecdote), but you already know that this experience isn't tied to the house (previous apartment).

If this is a legitimate question, I'm literally worried that your tumor/migraine/stroke/epilepsy/??? is physically affecting your judgement. Doctor. Seriously. Tomorrow.
posted by cmoj at 5:24 PM on January 4, 2013 [4 favorites]

Coming back in to say that my dog could also produce a lot of false positives, because admittedly, he gets excited about all kinds of stuff. So, even if you do consult Doctor Puppy, I'm echoing the neurologist comments.
posted by deludingmyself at 5:25 PM on January 4, 2013

Jessamyn: It wasn't place oriented
And that's the thing here; we don't seem to be talking about phantom smells at all.

People have different sensitivities for smells. I smell more stuff in this house than my s.o. too.

So, let's assume that you're more sensitive to this kind of smells than other people. That doesn't mean that there's something wrong with your house: clearly there is no single cause for these diverse smells, only a single cause for your smelling them. (...and still... it can't hurt seeing a neurologist, even if it's sensitivity for real smells).

First things first, then: many of the odors that you're smelling are, even though they are a reality for you, likely harmless, if that makes you feel any better.
But no matter whether you're asthmatic or not, please don't put your nose close to bleach for too long. I lost my sense of smell for a couple of months two summers back because of cleaning my flat in the UK before leaving. You don't want that, believe me.

And now smell by smell:
"wood smoke or chemical smoke, in a certain area of the house - the sun room and the back hallway."
Many houses in the US emit a faint smell of whatever was used to treat the wood against bugs; actually that smell can be quite strong for people who come from abroad and aren't used to it.
A wood smell is caused all the various kinds of oak and pine that are used for building. When the cold season starts, more happens than that the house is closed up: stuff dries out, leaving cracks where in the summer there are none, air circulates differently (often in reverse), things are heated up that have accumulated dust over the summer. Sometimes this creates smells like burned dust, sometimes, you get an intensified almost smoky hot-old-wood smell. For the dustiness of the matter: vacuum cleaner, and patience. If "smoky" smells persist, make sure that your electrical wires are okay.

"The urine smell is also in a certain area of the house... it appears to be coming from nowhere, and I'm just smelling it when the heater comes on, and only in the living room."
So some historical cat had a habit of peeing somewhere close to that heater. No mystery really. (random story: my basement smells like dog at a certain humidity, otherwise not at all. I've lived in this house for almost 13 years, the dog of the previous owner that used to lie there and chew on an old brush is long dead).

"The other odors, I smell them in areas of the house that make no sense - mold from the fireplace." More likely the smell of old brickwork. But there are specialists that can test whether there's mold in the house somewhere.

"feces in the kitchen." What kind of feces, is the question.
Like leaky plumbing? The kitchen sink might suffer from some type of burpiness, or the waste water pipe is not tight, or the odor of another leaky pipe below comes through the floor.
Like mouse droppings? That's mouse droppings.
Like freshly stepped-on dog poo? Not likely.

"Is this something I should bring up with my psychiatrist next time I see her?"
Yes, I think so. Your perception that faint nasty smells severely interfere with your well being deserves a closer look and perhaps some strategies.
posted by Namlit at 5:30 PM on January 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

Also see an ENT. Various respiratory infections can produce phantom smells. I constantly smelled a combo of pee and burnt popcorn with one horrific sinus infection.

Your house appears not to smell. You appear to be smelling things. That's your cue to see doctors.
posted by Sidhedevil at 5:32 PM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

Can you go and stay at a friend's or relative's house for a few days to see if you're haunted by smells there, as well? This might help to differentiate between whether the issue is in your house or in your brain, so to speak.

An aside: I've suffered from olfactory hallucinations off and on since I was about 14. Mostly it manifested as menthol cigarettes, though there's been more variety and less frequency as I've aged. These smells always seem really, really real. I didn't work out that they weren't until I was in my mid 30s.
posted by Andrhia at 5:53 PM on January 4, 2013 [2 favorites]

Bring it up with your psychiatrist, definitely. I have an exceedingly strong sense of smell, but it's not a mystery. I can always find the source of offending smells and mitigate it, even if it takes a while. Your awareness of smell seems to be unrelated to a specific source and it does bother you more extremely in that you can't forget about it. There is a reason, but it might be related to your own makeup and not the new house.

Moving is a big stress, as well, even when it's good - so I wouldn't put aside the idea that your body is flagging and overreacting to normal, new sensations and raising extreme levels of alarm about rather normal environmental phenomena that are just newer to you.
posted by Miko at 6:44 PM on January 4, 2013

Echoing that a visit to a neurologist is in order.
posted by insectosaurus at 6:44 PM on January 4, 2013

There are a bunch of really sensible answers above and lots of serious recommendations that you see a doctor, which I agree with.

What I have to say might be less sensible, but I wonder whether it's a combination of BOTH psychological factors (anxiety) and that you really are smelling something. Your husband and the company that came in said they could smell something. So, maybe something is really producing an odor, but it's not necessarily feces, smoke, urine or mold. It could be a smell your brain does not recognize, but categorizes as 'yucky' and fills in the uncertainly gap by turning it into those offensive 'danger' smells you've listed. For example, I can recall cupboards in a former apartment (after just moving in) having a 'poo' kind of smell - which I knew wasn't poo and figured was something like the paint + the wood + unfamiliarness.It quickly diminished as I broke the place in.

I don't know how you could do this, but if there really is a smell and you could determine what it is (oh, it's the cleaner they used on the furnace! the stuff cementing the fireplace bricks! the carpet cleaning fluid! it's damp floorboards! it's the linolium when heated!), then your brain could rest and stop thinking it's smelling dangerous biological stuff. It's like you really need a good friend with a preternatural smell ability + an huge smells database in her brain who could spend a lot of time with you figuring out exactly what the weird smell(s) is/are.

I am over-reactive to smells myself, and this is what informs my theory here. If I catch a whiff of valid mildew from something (ie. a facecloth), I can't get that smell to go away for hours. In the summer, my fridge developed a huge amount of mold and I could smell it for several weeks, long after the complete bleaching, driving my husband crazy trying to get at the internal parts, getting others to smell it and having them tell me it smelled completely normal. I was so freaked out about the fridge I posted a question about it here; I thought it moldy all through the inside. After about 3 weeks, I guess my brain calmed down because the smell finally went.

Tldr; you need smell identification (if possible, and it may not be possible), but even more importantly, get your mind off the 'smells' and give it some time. Distraction, and time. And do see a doctor.
posted by kitcat at 7:02 PM on January 4, 2013 [3 favorites]

If your new place has wall-to-wall carpeting I'd bet a tidy sum that "there's your problem", so to speak. Your partner is an unreliable smell witness due to being a smoker, so you definitely can't take their word for whether or not there is or is not a foul stench.

Of course if you have chronic migraines or whatnot, "get treatment" should go without saying. But to me it seems plenty likely that the smells you perceive are real. Carpeting (and the padding beneath it, and the subfloor...) can harbor...whatever was spilled/poured/crapped on it basically forever. If a fresh spill is properly treated this can minimize future stench-phantoms, but if the previous owners were not sticklers for cleanliness or prompt responses...well, basically whenever the humidity changes, or the heater goes on, or the wind blows a certain way, you are going to get a nice whiff of OH HAI I AM CRAPSPER THE UNFRIENDLY POO-GHOST.

I should probably disclose that I HATE wtw carpeting with the burning hatred of everything that is hate (mainly due to my allergies) and if you have a sensitive nose, I think that when you can afford it you will be far happier with hardwoods/marmoleum/tile/cork/whatever-your-preference. But in the meantime, I actually second the dog idea someone suggested. If you can borrow a pooch for a few hours, s/he could localize the stinkspots, which you can then attempt to treat with an enzyme cleaner designed for "pet messes". Nature's Miracle and Anti-Icky-Poo are good brands but if you go to a pet supply store you should be able to find quite a nice selection. Get a big container of the stuff and *soak* the suspected stink-area with it, and once it dries, vacuum the spot well. That can't hurt and it could help.
posted by aecorwin at 7:45 PM on January 4, 2013 [1 favorite]

For everyone saying that the smoking partner is an unreliable witness to the 'stink phenomenon,' I think you are drastically over-estimating how much sense of smell you lose due to smoking. There is no way that a person with normal smelling capabilities, smoker or not, could miss a smell that was so intense that the OP had to cover both mouth and nose and got and asthma attack. They would not miss a smell of feces so vile that it overcame straight bleach.

The OP also says that it started in the previous apartment - so barring some cruel and really elaborate practical joke perpetrated by the SO, this has to be either psychological or neurological.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 8:45 PM on January 4, 2013 [5 favorites]

I also want to point out that I have two dogs (both housebroken) and they're not acting in any way as if there's something dead in the walls. I've gone over the carpets with a black light, just in case and we have the enzyme cleaner because they were new pets once -- but the black light showed nothing. Also, as I mentioned before the previous owner (singular - he bought the house new and died shortly before we bought the house) was scrupulously clean and never had pets. I have that on several good authorities. This is an incredibly established neighborhood. They were very fond of this guy and knew him well, and I have no reason to doubt them.

Replacing the carpets is on our "to do list", it's just not feasible right now. I also hate wtw carpeting with a fiery hot passion that will never die. Luckily, only the living room, hallways, and bedrooms are carpeted. I do vacuum often though, very often.

I'll call my doctor on Monday and see if I can get an appointment with her soon. Maybe she can do something about the tinnitus while she's at it... because that's driving me buggy too.

I see my psychiatrist on the 15th.
posted by patheral at 9:50 PM on January 4, 2013

Agree with The Light Fantastic, though I would add "or physiological" because the smells could be coming from inside patheral's sinuses.

Good luck with the doctors, patheral!
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:29 PM on January 4, 2013

I know a lot of people don't believe in ghosts or hauntings, but if I were you, I would start burning sage and plenty of it.
posted by melangell at 11:59 PM on January 4, 2013

Don't think that hasn't crossed my mind, melangell... But sage STINKS!

I'm pretty sure I may have found the source of the mold smell. Just after Xmas, I made a pomander. I like to make them around this time of year, and give them away to freinds. Anyway, I'd checked it before by smelling it close and could only smell cloves, but just to be sure, I removed it from that room to another and it seems the smell is gone. Strange that it would mold though. They never have before, not even in Mississippi, and it's way drier here...

Of course, that doesn't explain the other smells...
posted by patheral at 12:27 AM on January 5, 2013

When my sinuses are playing up they sometimes seem to magnify and change certain smells, particularly otherwise faint biological smells - things like bathroom mold, or sweat. It's possible that something in the house is triggering something in your sinuses that's messing with your sense of smell.
posted by BinaryApe at 6:17 AM on January 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Nthing telling the psychiatrist. However, a minor note contra Brockles: keenness of smell is not unidimensional, i.e. person A can be more sensitive than person B to smell X, yet less sensitive than person B to smell Y. (mrs_goldfish has a preternatural sensitivity to rancid oil, yet my nose outflanks hers when sniffing for cat pee or human armpits.)
posted by feral_goldfish at 4:34 PM on January 5, 2013

I was wrong. The pomander was not the source. The mold smell is back and as strong as ever.
posted by patheral at 5:19 PM on January 5, 2013

Are you on Lamictal? It can make your sense of smell wacky. I was on it for awhile and had other side effects, so I read a lot about Lamictal side effects and saw the sense of smell stuff.

I had this happen with Klonopin; I could smell everything, like a bloodhound. I could smell the arugula in the trash can all the way across the house, and a low odor of dog poop (we have a dog). I only took Klonopin that one time, so it was weird and fascinating; I could imagine it being pretty awful over the long term.

A neurologist could go over your med list and tell you if any of them could cause the smell issue (and also rule out any neurological issues).
posted by hotelechozulu at 9:52 AM on January 6, 2013

I'm on Welbutrin, but I've been on it for years and years, same with my other meds. If it were a side effect, I'm sure it would have manifested before now. Right?
posted by patheral at 10:36 AM on January 6, 2013

No. I'm not specifically sure about Wellbutrin, but there are side effects that can come from long-term use of medications. My only personal experience with this is from ADHD meds, and it snuck up on me such that it took me months of confusion to figure out what was going on.
posted by elizardbits at 10:41 AM on January 6, 2013

I used to have sinusitis, and sometimes would smell horrible smells that I think were coming from... inside my head. So here's another vote for talking to an ENT or similar.
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:11 AM on January 6, 2013

Oh, hey -- do you still have your tonsils? Are you familiar with tonsiliths? They are the most disgusting things in the known world (don't look them up on Google unless you're feeling very brave and have one eye closed).
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:11 AM on January 8, 2013

In case anyone is still watching this. My honey and I sat down and figured out that I am actually probably smelling things that are already in the house (as others have suggested). We figure that the smells are existing but they're just amplified. I've had friends over to the house and they, like my fiance, smell "something" but they're not overwhelmed by them like I am. And one of the friends I asked about them is usually sensitive to smells.

The urine is most likely from the cat box even though it's in the mud room, way in the back of the house and behind a curtain, but the smell is the same. We figure that the cat might be carrying it out on his paws.

The fecal smell is probably residual odor from our second dog's accidents when we first got him several months ago. Even though we've cleaned those spots in the carpet several times, the smells I'm smelling smell just like fresh dog feces.

Mold? Well, it's a house. I'm sure there's some kind of mold around here somewhere.

The thing is, these smells are so amplified that they're unbearable to me. I haven't been able to get to my doctor and talk to her about them. I did talk to my psychiatrist about them, but she seemed unconcerned. She's concerned about my fatigue and hypothyroidism and is more interested in addressing those than phantom smells. It takes a while to get into my doctor's office though.

Anyway, that's the follow-up. Just thought I'd let y'all know.
posted by patheral at 7:52 PM on February 4, 2013 [3 favorites]

Really late follow-up. Seems that my phantom odors were caused by a side effect of a medication I took during that time (caused some weird coughing too). Once I stopped taking the med -- Gabapentin for anyone who's interested, the coughing stopped and the smells just disappeared. Weird, I know, but there you have it.
posted by patheral at 11:39 AM on December 15, 2013 [8 favorites]

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