It is not uncommon for people to have problems smelling from time to time. These problems may be caused by colds or allergies. Typically, these situations are written off as minor annoyances that will pass in time.
However, some people are born without the ability to smell. Known as “congenital anosmia,” this is a very rare condition that can be caused by two different problems. It can be an isolated problem, which possibly happens due to a genetic mutation, or it can be linked with another health issue, such as Kallman syndrome or structural abnormalities of the face.
Besides eliminating the sense of smell, congenital anosmia can also:
- Dull the sense of taste
- Lead to unplanned weight loss, due to a lack of interest in food
- Decrease quality of life
- Lead to depression
It is important to consult a doctor if you are having trouble smelling. In some cases, patients believe their lack of smell is permanent, but it’s actually related to a separate (sometimes treatable) issue that has gone unnoticed.
Congenital Anosmia: Is There A Cure?
For congenital anosmia that is caused by a genetic defect, there is no known cure available today. However, researchers have successfully used gene therapy to restore mice’s sense of smell, so there are signs of promise for future treatments to be developed for humans.
For now, a doctor can offer advice to make anosmia symptoms more manageable.
As your sense of smell can be used as a warning sign for dangerous or unhealthy situations, the following lifestyle changes can help make your home life safer:
- Installing several smoke alarms
- Using electric appliances (since dangerous leaks from gas appliances are often detected by smell)
- Checking food expiration dates and marking dates to throw out leftovers (so you don’t have to check for the foul odor of spoiled food)
If you are having trouble smelling, we are here to help. Call us for a consultation, or fill out our anosmia questionnaire to get started.