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What Is Parosmia?

Do you suffer from parosmia or know someone with the issue? It was more common for some time due to COVID-19, however it has other causes.

Last actualisation: May 29, 2023

Parosmia is a change in the conventional perception of smells. It occurs after we smell something that’s familiar to us and that we often like, but actually it becomes unpleasant to us.

There has been a distortion of the smells we used to love. It can turn the smell of coffee within the morning right into a disgusting stench that results in nausea.

Olfactory is included within the list of probably the most common olfactory disorders, together with the next:

  • hyposmia: Weakened sense of smell.
  • no sense of smell: Inability to perceive smells.
  • Imagination: Sniffing something that won’t really there.

In most cases, a change within the sense of smell is accompanied by a taste disorder. Recently, there have been greater repercussions regarding its link to COVID-19, although coronavirus infection will not be the one cause.

What is occurring within the brain of individuals with parosmia?

To understand slightly more about this condition, it’s vital to grasp how the sense of smell works. The ability to smell begins within the sensory neurons of the sense of smell, that are positioned within the upper inner a part of the nose. From there, they connect the stimulus to the brain.

Each olfactory neuron has a receptor that’s stimulated by molecules released within the environment. The message reaches the brain and the smell is identified there. This identification includes subjective issues reminiscent of memories. It differs from purely chemical identification, which takes place, for instance, within the food or perfume industry, because it informs University of Veracruzana.

What happens to an individual with parosmia? The process will not be entirely clear and is dependent upon the cause. However, experts agree with the belief that there’s a partial lack of olfactory neurons, leading to incomplete perception of smell.

AND study published within the journal ENT showed how the brains of individuals with parosmia function otherwise than those that normally smell. This discovery raised doubts in regards to the peripheral origin of the issue. Perhaps in some patients the issue lies within the brain.

For this hypothesis, A publication in Laryngoscope showed that olfactory training helps to regain lost functions, so it will be possible to create latest “corrective” neuronal connections.

One way or one other, probably the most common symptom is all the time an unpleasant change within the perception of smells.

The scents we liked are perceived as rotten or burnt. A rose or flower may smell like feces. We can also think that what we cook is burnt.

Learn more: Hyperosmia: hypersensitivity to smells

Causes of parosmia

Currently, there are greater than 100 causes of parosmia. Let’s discuss probably the most common ones, in response to information from the US National Institutes of Health:

  • Smoking
  • Nasal polyps
  • Hormonal changes
  • Craniocerebral injuries
  • Radiation from cancer treatment
  • Exposure to chemicals or drugs
  • Upper respiratory tract infections reminiscent of sinusitis
  • Disorders affecting the nervous system, reminiscent of Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease
A woman with parosmia.
Respiratory infections could cause a short lived change in your sense of smell.

Parosmia attributable to COVID-19

Recently, COVID-19 has been added to the list of causes.

Analysis published in journal Nature states that 47% of individuals with the condition have associated changes in smell and taste. Of this percentage, 23% claim to have suffered from parosmia.

In Great Britain a questionnaire was carried out on patients who had overcome the disease 6 months earlier. The results revealed that 43% of them lost their sense of smell, and after they regained it, they suffered from parosmia. This happened on average 2.5 months after COVID-19 discharge.

But what causes parosmia attributable to coronavirus? Initially, it was thought that this was since the virus attacked the olfactory neurons. However, studies on it revealed that it will not be.

The olfactory neurons are connected by supporting cells that contain a protein called ACE2. The virus attacks these cells since the protein acts as a code that enables SARS-CoV-2 to enter and damage them. This can also be the explanation for the anosmia attributed to the coronavirus.

Once infected and the virus enters the cells via the ACE2 protein, scarring and attempts by the respiratory tissues begin to repair. During this process, latest and erroneous neural connections are formed that ultimately cause parosmia.

Read more: Is lack of smell a possible symptom of coronavirus?

Is it curable?

There isn’t any specific treatment to resolve this. Actually, the prescriptions are indicated in response to what’s speculated to be the cause that led to the issue.

The smoker will likely be instructed to quit smoking. If nasal polyps are present, they will likely be removed. Sinusitis will likely be treated with antibiotics.

The use of vitamins and minerals as supplements in treatment will not be all the time effective. According to testsimprovement is achieved if the person has a confirmed micronutrient deficit.

The influence of parosmia on on a regular basis life

The woman is sick.
People affected by parosmia for a very long time may experience a decrease in quality of life attributable to the accompanying feeling of disgust.

Parosmia is a disorder that causes problems in people’s day by day lives. It prevents people from going about their normal routine and even attending social events.

Food can smell rotten, people can smell sweat even after they are clean, and disinfectants may be absorbed in feces. Even the body odor itself may be disgusting.

The sense of taste and smell are interconnected. So patients often change their eating habitsbecause food becomes unpleasant attributable to its smell. Some people experience weight reduction because they’re unable to bear food and reduce their day by day caloric intake.

Remember that the sense of smell is a survival tool. It helps us determine if we’re at risk. For example, within the event of a gas leak or outstanding chemical products that might intoxicate us.

This is why we shouldn’t let time pass if we expect now we have parosmia. We should seek the advice of an authority and begin proper research to find its origin.

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