Officially called anosmia, the loss of smell can deprive you of the everyday joys of great cooking or your favorite walk outdoors. Some degree of loss in your ability to smell comes with age, other times it can be temporary if related to nasal congestion or allergies.

Symptoms & Causes of Loss of Smell

Finding the cause of your smelling loss is important to reaching a solution. The common cold, hay fever, rhinitis, certain medications, and tumors of the nose or brain could all be the culprit behind your loss of smell. Consult a doctor if your degree of smelling loss worsens or it doesn’t go away after a couple weeks. If you have other inexplicable symptoms your condition could be much larger than smelling loss.

Diagnosis & Treatment

Your visit to a doctor will be able to rule out the more serious conditions that could be causing your problems. Your physician will look at your medical history and ask you questions related to your loss in smell. He or she might recommend a CT or MRI scan, a nasal endoscopy or possibly an x-ray of the skull. Based on the outcome of your visit with the doctor you may be prescribed decongestants, antihistamines or the use of a humidifier. Another solution may be increased vitamin A supplements.


There is no way to prevent or treat the loss of smell due to aging. To prevent the loss of your senses due to a viral or bacterial infection avoid germs by washing your hands, avoiding those who are sick and keeping your body healthy with fresh foods and by drinking lots of water.

Further Reading

Mayo Clinic