Will I ever enjoy the smells of fine wine?
June 20, 2008 8:10 PM   Subscribe

Olfactory Filter: My sense of smell is severely diminished, when it exists at all. I have known this for years but now I want to taste wines so I am wondering if there is any way to repair my sense of smell or is it lost forever?

I recall distinctly smelling things (particularly foul smelling things) as a child. However I have always had bad allergies and colds and was often congested growing up, still am often. But even when my nose is working at its best (best for me at least) my sense of smell seems quite dull or non existent

I have heard reports about neurological damage causing olfactory malfunction and surmise that could be it but don't know where to start to get that tested or (if possible) treated.

I have always told people that I have no sense of smell but that is not ENTIRELY true. Just the other day I could distinctly smell a bottle of Steak Seasoning my brother was using from across the room. Today I was trying to test myself by going through the refrigerator, spice rack and family perfume supply looking for strong smelling objects. I could faintly smell and identify concentrated lemon juice and even more faintly smell rosemary (in that I knew it was producing A smell). Perfumes and other spices had no identifiable smell for me, but now I have a headache.

HELP What does this mean?
posted by DetonatedManiac to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: ADDED NOTE: I also sometimes have what I guess you could call "Phantom Smells" that do not seem to be coming from the environment but persist for a number of days (and its not me, I take long showers and baths and ask others to smell me, they smell nothing)

posted by DetonatedManiac at 8:13 PM on June 20, 2008

You would really like listening to interview I heard recently on NPR:

Molly Birnbaum wanted nothing more than to be a chef. But one day she went for a run and got hit by a car. Her skull was fractured and her olfactory neurons were damaged. She lost both her sense of smell and all prospects of a career in the kitchen.
posted by HotPatatta at 8:32 PM on June 20, 2008

I don't have any helpful advice, but a term that might help your googling - "anosmia" or "anosmic".
posted by minus zero at 9:25 PM on June 20, 2008

I went to an ENT for exactly this. My sense of smell was greatly diminished when I was in fifth grade when I had severe allergies. I was tested and tested and found not to have polyps or a deviated septum. The doctor told me to take a zinc supplement, and it worked. In the end, though, I decided not to continue taking them. After twenty years of not having a sense of smell, I found being able to smell everything overwhelming and disorienting. YMMV, because my sense of taste wasn't affected all that much, or at least, not enough for me not to enjoy food and drink, but be prepared for that, if the zinc works for you.
posted by Ruki at 10:14 PM on June 20, 2008

You may have an undetected sinus infection or blockage. The phantom smell could be the smell of your own snot. A regular nasal lavage (description and video) will clear your nasal passages and sinus, improving your sense of smell considerably.
posted by Kerasia at 10:17 PM on June 20, 2008

posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:31 PM on June 20, 2008

Seconding the nasal lavage; I can smell stuff and breathe better in the hour after using a neti pot than at any other time.
posted by kimota at 8:17 AM on June 21, 2008

Not to freak you out or anything, but a friend of the family had gradually lost his sense of smell and it returned after having a brain tumor removed.
posted by electroboy at 12:15 PM on June 21, 2008

« Older ?   |   Stop the pee! Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.