Smell and Taste Disorders

Smell and Taste Disorders

Smell and taste disorders are usually not life threatening, but they can affect your quality of life. Your senses of smell and taste are linked, if a disorder affects one, it will usually affect the other sense as well. If you're suffering from impaired taste, don't worry too much, as it's rare to lose your sense of taste completely, and it will usually return to normal. Losing your sense of smell can be temporary, but it can also be permanent. Read on to learn more about smell and taste disorders.

Impaired Taste

Losing some or all of your ability to taste can be caused by a variety of other underlying issues, most of which involve your respiratory system. The most common conditions that can cause impaired taste include:

  • Common colds or flu
  • Sinus infections
  • Salivary gland infections
  • Throat infections

Other, less common causes of impaired taste can include:

  • Head or ear trauma
  • Deficiencies in your diet and nutrition
  • Medication, such as thyroid or cancer treatment medications
  • Smoking
  • Conditions affecting the gums, including gingivitis or periodontal disease

Impaired Smell

Anosmia is a condition that causes the partial or complete loss of your sense of smell. It is frequently caused by underlying conditions that irritate the lining in your nose, such as allergies or colds. More severe causes of anosmia include conditions that affect your nerves or brain, such as trauma to the head or brain tumors. Old age can also cause anosmia.

Diagnosis of Smell and Taste Disorders

Smell and taste disorders are usually diagnosed and treated by an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Diagnosis will usually involve your doctor asking you questions about your symptoms, and examining your nose, mouth, and throat. They may also perform imaging tests such as an MRI, CT scan, or X-ray.

Treating Smell and Taste Disorders

Once your condition is diagnosed, your doctor can begin to select the best treatment method. If it's caused by an infection, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter medication, or they may prescribe medication. Treatment may also involve lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, or improving your dental hygiene.


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