Distorted sense of smell

Patient

Q: For the past 3 years, every now and then my sense of smell will just flip, suddenly everything will have a weird tainted smell to it. It usually last a good few hours. It is so yuck. Ive mentionned it to my doc a while ago, he didnt seem to think anything of it but maybe he wasnt really listening? During my pregnancy it never happened, im now 3 weeks post partum and yesterday it started happening again, it even affects how things taste. If I block my right nostril everything smells and tastes normal, but as soon as I unblock it the weird smell thing comes back. (Weird huh?) Has anyone herd of this or what it could be? The closest thing I can describe the smell to is flucloxacillin capsules, ive never taken them but I know their smell from working in a pharmacy.

Doctor

A:   Having an altered smell is actually quite common. Your symptoms suggest that you have dysosmia (distorted sens of smell). This may be caused due to your brain registering an odor when none is present in the environment or that you have become more sensitive to an odor that doesn't bother other people. When this occurs, the odor is usually described as an unpleasant one. If your symptoms are effecting your day to day activities, see your otolaryngologist. Local nasal or sinus conditions if present can be managed with saline lavage, decongestants, antihistamines, antibiotics, and/or nasal and systemic steroids, if applicable. Endocrine disturbances may be addressed by administration of the deficient hormone, as with hypothyroidism. Sometimes people with depression, anxiety, or other psychologic disturbances can have an altered sense of smell.

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