Anosmia or Loss of Smell from Brain Injury

Question: 

My friend had a brain hemorrhage from a blow to the head 10 years ago and has completely lost his sense of smell. Apparently, the part of his brain that controls his sense of smell was permanently damaged.

Is it possible that even though the brain does not recognize or register any kind of smell, the effects of that smell still be experienced? For example, even though he can’t smell coffee or lavender, could he still get stimulating effects of the coffee aroma or the relaxation effects of the scent of lavender?

Answer: 

Smell loss following traumatic brain injury is often overlooked as doctors tend not bother to ask about or test for loss or change in smell — or taste for that matter. Many times, people with brain injury first report changes in taste when they lose or notice a change in their ability to smell. Typically, complete loss of smell — or what is called anosmia — will be quite noticeable to a person following a traumatic brain injury and may affect numerous aspects of their life. Unfortunately, there is no good treatment cure for post-traumatic anosmia. Typically, if a person doesn’t regain his ability to smell six months after the injury, the loss will likely be permanent.

Because of the complex mechanisms involved in olfaction — a person’s sense of smell — it’s difficult to determine the reason for the loss. Problems with smell loss can result from craniofacial trauma, specifically damage to nasal passage ways, shearing injury of the olfactory nerve, or injury to primary or secondary smell centers in the frontotemporal regions of the brain. There are also other non-traumatic causes for smell impairment including Alzheimer’s disease and smoking, to name just two. This is why it’s important for people with this type of problem to seek out appropriate evaluation by a doctor familiar with post-traumatic smell loss.

If your friend is truly anosmic, that is, he has totally lost his sense of smell, then he would probably not recognize or register any kind of smell since the olfactory nerve is responsible for scent recognition. Therefore, your friend would not benefit from smelling any substance. That said, we don’t have a lot of research on this. Some people have anecdotally described “blind smell” similar to blind sight (a phenomenon in which people who are perceptually blind in a certain area of their visual field demonstrate some response to visual stimuli), and it wouldn’t hurt for your friend to try and experiment with smells.

 

Posted on BrainLine September 20, 2010

Nathan Zasler

Nathan Zasler, MD is CEO and medical director for Concussion Care Centre of Virginia, Ltd. as well as CEO and medical director for Tree of Life Services, Inc.  He is board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation and fellowship trained in brain injury.

Comments

I was in a horse accident in 2008 that led to major brain injury and hospital time. I cracked the left side of my skull, with most of the internal brain injury on the right side of my brain. I had many side effects such as memory loss, inability to spell basic words correctly, awful headaches, anger, and loss of taste and smell. I remember that my taste and smell were nonexistent for a good 6 months, and the doctors told me that it would never return. A little after 6 months I started to regain some taste, but it wasn't correct from what I remembered. Anything tomato based tasted bitter and awful, artificial or actual fruit tasted rotten, pepsi tasted like bile. The list goes on. I remember thinking how cruel it was to get my taste back wrong, and no smell at all. I was so angry. But about a year after that I was hauling hay and got a wiff of it, and smelled the hay for the first time in over a year. Since then my taste and smell slowly returned to almost normal, with a few exceptions. My smell still goes away for brief periods of time, but has always returned. In the recent years though, I've realized that I get 1 specific phantom smell, which is so strange because I've only ever heard of phantom smells with complete loss of smell. And it's the worst! All I smell for at least a day is second hand cigarette smoke.
Anyways, all that aside, has anyone ever run into other issues that were caused during the same time as your brain injury that went undiagnosed? I recently went to a doctor for blood work and she mentioned that there is a part of the brain located near the parietal lobe that can be damaged at the same time, that effects things that present themselves like thyroid issues. Such as hair loss, fatigue, infertility, weight loss or gain. I can't remember what it was called though! Has anyone else experienced this??

Hey all, 4 years after my TBI, my smelling is like 80% back more or less. Like most, hit my head very hard (April 2013) was in intense care, had to get the right side off my skull off for almost a month cuz of the brain swelling that was gonna take place). I wasn't able to smell coffee at all or perfume/deodorant or anything really. About a year+ i noticed i can KINDA smell some stuff, as time went by it kept improving. I asked one of the docs and she told me that there's these little connection in the head, that with the impact they can either tear off or get stretched/damaged. So if after a while u can KINDA smell, they might only be damaged and will come back with time :)

I had a traumatic brain injury from falling 20ft onto my head in April 2009. That caused me to damage nerves in my brain. I lost my vision in my right eye and my smell and it caused me to have epilepsy. It took a while for me to get used to lose sight in my eye, but I have good vision in my left eye so it didn't bother me too much, I was more upset at losing my smell. I was told that my smell wouldn't come back if it hasn't come back within the first six months and it didn't so I just had to accept that and get used to it. I did still have some taste though so that was good, it was just a bit weaker. I'm saying was instead of is because my smell happened to come back seven years later in 2016. It was the best day of my life!!! My nose did pick and choose what it could and couldn't in the beginning, but after some time my sense of smell has become very good. It has made me appreciate smelling things so much. I am always smiling to myself when I can smell things, especially when I have smelt things for the first time that I haven't smelt since I lost it. So if anyone who is reading this has lost their smell from a head injury, then don't give up hope in ever getting it back completely, it could still come back after six months, it did for me anyway, so I'm sure it could for other people to.

Worst thing that happened to my life. 2 months till now since I hit my head and I can't smell a thing. It is a living hell to wake up everyday and can't smell a thing. I would rather die and not live like this the rest of my life. What an unhappy low quality life due to this stupid Anosmia.

About 3 1/2 months ago I apparently fainted while shopping, fell, cracked my skull/concussion and woke up in the hospital 12 hours later.  After they let me out of the hospital 3 days later I realized I had lost my sense of smell.  I can still taste OK but it's definitely "not the same" without the scent aspect.   

I've not really researched this until now because I've been waiting for this to get better over time.  Sometimes I can very faintly smell things, but I wonder if it's just an associated/remembered faux sense, instead of reality.   But I do know I did smell the very harsh chemicals I was using doing some cleaning in a somewhat closed space a few weeks ago.  But overall, I can't smell anything.  And that's not a totally bad thing, as a lot of smells bugged the heck out of me (tobacco smoke and strong perfume/cologne are the main ones) but I find myself wishing I could smell the herbs, spices, and peppers I put in/on the foods I eat. 

My hearing was also impacted by this injury, and that DID get better over time.  I was hoping the same for my nose... but reading some of the stories here I suspect I've lost it for good.  

I completely lost my sense of smell 18 years ago due to brain damage. I m 47 now and I ve come to realize that despite our invisible disability, we can still move forward.. Take that extra shower if it makes you feel better.. We think we must smell bad but in reality we probably don t.. If you drink sugarless coffee try putting a spoonful in it.. you will notice the difference. Vice versa if you have a sweet tooth try doing without.. you may wince! Try loving foods for their texture not their taste. Mashed potato and squid work for me. Spicy foods we can feel so eat eat eat. They say they can embellish our serotonin levels and lord knows we need a bit of happiness. Please don t get too despondent. It s about adapting and reacting to our situation. It aint easy but it s possible to live with this. In solidarity Hilary xxx Stay strong

After a brain injury through a motor bike accident, I lost my taste and smell 34 years ago. So there are sad things that go with that. I had a third child, I have never smelled him. I already had two daughters, who were 18 and 16 when my son was born, consequently they have given me grandchildren, also I haven't smelled them! but I could see them. At first I wouldn't have flowers in the house because I couldn't smell them. After several years I started to get them again to see the beauty of them. On the taste side of things, I can tell the difference between sweet and savory. I don't tend to eat things that I didn't use to like! I have to have sugar in my tea because it makes it smoother. The texture of food is also very important as is the presentation.

I cannot believe I am not the only one! So glad I found this site. Ok...my story...I fell from our pool ladder (about 6 feet or so?) 3 and a 1/2 years ago, hitting the back of my head on concrete. A few weeks after the fall, I noticed that my smell and taste were pretty much gone. At first, I thought it was because I'd had a bad case of the flu, but now, I believe it had something to do with the fall. I smell things, but they all smell the same...terrible, kind of like burning pine cones (for lack of anything else to describe it). My taste is gone also, or not really gone, but everything tastes the same, again terrible. Some things "taste" better than others. For instance, chocolate has a strong taste (not good) where something like green beans taste like everything else, but not strong, but yet the same "flavor," which is basically what I smell. Does that make sense?  It's weird and I don't know how else to describe it. As for eating, I am overweight and actually thought that the "no taste" thing would be a good thing in helping me with weight. It has not. I find that I eat almost anything just "hoping" that it will taste the way it used to. It's very frustrating! Also, cooking has become a problem.  My husband says that my cooking has become "bland." It is hard to cook when you can't taste what is missing! I miss smells also. I would love to be able to "smell" my newborn grandson. Smells make memories and that was so important to me. 

Sometimes I think I can taste or smell something briefly, but now I am beginning to think they are phantom smells and tastes and not real. 

My daughter saw a video on YouTube where someone had the same symptoms I have and they went to a Chiropractor. The doctor was able to help. I have never been to one and am anxious about trying it. Has anyone ever heard of a Chiropractor being able to help with this problem? 

It is very depressing! Is there nothing that can be done? I even had an MRI last summer to see if anything else was going on. According to the MRI, everything was normal.

Are there other groups for this?

A month back I blacked out at my kitchen and fell down on the marble tile hitting my head and having a concussion where I stayed in the hospital for a week, I had 10 stitches at the back of my head, I have lost my sense of smell and taste since then, I can only taste basics in the tongue (sweet, sour, salt, spicy), this has been very depressing to me and doctors don't seem to know much about it here and all they say is wait few months, I would like to hear from others if it is possible to regain my sense of smell back ??

To: "I'm 16 and I recently got into a car accident with my mother..."

My mom had a car accident last November and was in coma for one week. She had multiple hematoma in her brain, her spine was broken in four different points and had to undergo a 5 hours operation to fix it. She is very lucky that she could recover very well, but her sense of smell is probably gone forever. All in all a small thing if you think about all the possible consequences she could have had. I'm telling you this just to say that things can always be worse, your mom is alive, healthy and she has a good son/daughter who cares for her. This is what really makes moms happy. Don't be too hard on yourself, everyone makes mistakes. Take care M

I was very physical, remodeled/restored houses, construction, landscaping, lots of volunteer work, etc. I had severe TBI due to passing out from flu and fracturing my occipital bone, subdural hematoma, subarchroid hematoma, temporal lobe tissue scarring, frontal lobe scarring, etc. Completely lost my ability to smell. I love to cook, love working outside, perfume, etc. It's greatly missed but I am thrilled to be alive since my chances of death were near. I have other issues with TBI, dizziness, room spins, headaches, balance, gait, weakness, chills, wheelchair bound I get to be with my husband and my 20 year old daughter. Always been an optimist and know I may never recover to my previous life. At least I am alive. Opportunity is what you make of it and I plan on still contributing somehow.

In response to the post made January 7th by the gal that got into the accident with her mom in the car.  Don't blame yourself for things.  Please remember that things could have been much worse.  Be joyful and happy that you have your mother to share your lives together.  And you can help her along the way.  I suffered a TBI in a motor vehicle accident 6 years ago and have no sense of smell/taste....but I am alive and I know it could have been worse.  I treasure each and every day, and hold on closely to friends and family.  Please don't beat yourself up, the outside world will try to do that.  Take pride in yourself and your mom.

"I'm 16 and I recently got into a car accident with my mother. My mother hit the back of her head on the sidewalk and she hasn't been able to smell or taste since then. I was driving so this is all my fault."

I also lost my sense of smell and taste six months ago, after I fractured my skull falling down a flight of stairs. I can honestly say that after a period of adjustment, it really isn't affecting my quality of life much at all and if your mother has forgiven you, there's no need to be so hard on yourself. Accidents happen, and I feel lucky that this was the worst that came of it. Of course I'd like regain the sense of smell and taste, and I will be seeing a ENT specialist in a few weeks to see if there is anything that can be done, but I've accepted it isn't likely and I'm okay with that. Also your mum isn't trying to make you feel bad when she gets you to taste or smell things during cooking, I do the same thing as I try to re-work out what is what with the very limited sense I still have, and if anything it's kind of fun, it turns every new meal into a new experience again. 

This has been with me for twelve years now, and IMO I think I still have gauze from my original bleeding following a motorcycle wreck. No helmet, at an estimated 70 mph based on the skid marks at the scene. I have amnesia about the entire ride. 

I was brushed off and sent out the door ASAP after I got to the hospital. I'm told I was out for about 3 days. There was a terrible looking scar across the back of the crown of my head. 38 staples. I could smell in the hospital. I could smell the burn cream I had to put on my road-rash. 

I started developing headaches and I had no recourse for physical therapy - two busted legs. I've crawled through the hell of recovery, but still a decade plus later I'm having phantom smells, sometimes bad tastes in my mouth, but rarely, once in a blue moon, I'll smell something real. 

The first time that happened was about ten years ago. Walked into a roommate's puff of smoke and could totally smell it. Of course, as I'm writing this, I also smell it. 

Anyway, it's nice to see how many other people are going through this with me. Here's hoping we all get our smell back again. 

When I was 4 I hit my head and loss my smell. Since I was so young I do not remember the smell of anything. I taste just fine I think but I guess you never know if the taste would be a lot better if I could smell. For the parents worrying about their children who can not smell... They will be okay. It does suck that I can't smell gas or smoke/fire but there are gas detectors that can be put in and smoke detectors as well. I have gotten used to not smelling because it is all that I know. It does suck sometimes because I'D love to be able to smell flowers/perfume/food but it is also awesome to not smell the bad things in life. I have two kids and so changing their diapers was just fine for me lol :) We are alive so we should be thankful for that. For those of you who can not taste as well I am so sorry that must really suck :( I hope they can find a way to get it back for you so u can enjoy that simple pleasure. 

This is for the 16 yr old girl. I read your post and it breaks my heart that you feel it's your fault with what happened to your mom. It's not your fault. Trust me when I tell you this. If it's one thing that I have learned in my life is that there is a reason for things that happen to us. I have seen it in my life and others. We may not understand it now but in time you may. I fell on some black ice 2 wks ago. I have a fractured skull along with a brain bleed. I've lost my smell and taste which my neurosurgeon says will never come back along with horrible dizziness. At first I blam med myself and then questioned why me. I know now why. I have a special needs son with epilepsy, and an older son. They don't see each other much. My oldest never knew how hard its been for me. I've been praying for some time that they would get to know each other again because when i die his brother will have him. Since the fall they have been together getting along. My son has found out how stressful it is to care for his brother. It took the fall to have my prayers answered. I'm sorry for all of my story but I wanted to share this with you. There is a reason for everything really.

To the person who told about the car accident he and his mother had. I am the person who lost her sense in July. I was on my bike, while pregnant, and someone made a terrible mistake in traffic. 

I also loved to cook. Don't feel guilty! It's terrible for your mother but mistakes are there all the time. Unfortunately in your mums and my case the human body in general isn't strong enough and the olfactory nerve fibres shear off. It's unfortunate that your mother has to adjust her life. And although I hate it too, I know I will be as happy as before just doing other stuff. There is soo much out there to enjoy.

I had an accident in 2006 and lost the ability to smell completely. I took the medication for one year with no result. After stopping the medicines after one and half years I gradually regained my ability to smell. Now I can smell different things but perfumes are a big problem. I can't recognize them but I smell them. Another disaster is that I can smell the body odor of others very clearly. My concern over food has increased because most of the dishes I used to like are not favorable for me now. Now I like less spicy, less hot dishes but I enjoy them very much. One thing more, I can't smell cooking gas and I fear a lot about that. I wish someday I will get back what I lost.

Oh my goodness, I have this horrible taste in my mouth because I smell a stronger phantom odor in my nose so potent that I feel sick all day. I so wish it would go away. Since my truck accident in 2013 DX TBI I can't smell. I think at one time, in therapy I could smell this awful camp fire wood burning smell very strong for weeks night and day, then it just went away. Now I get this perfume smell that comes and goes, makes me ill. Does anyone else get this? Boy this accident has messed me up. grr!

I blacked out 6 days ago, falling backwards on to our ceramic tile floor. Fractured occipital skull and concussion. I have lost all smell and taste capabilities, and have bright light flashes to the left of my left eye. Hoping to see my neurologist this week, as he was NOT the attending that treated me in the E.D. when I fell. (He has been my spinal surgeon for 3 years, and also specializes in brain issues. I trust him.) I'm a retired Medic, and had never heard of anosmia or loss of taste, post head trauma. How long have you had it?

I'm 16 and I recently got into a car accident with my mother. My mother hit the back of her head on the sidewalk and she hasn't been able to smell or taste since then. It's been 5 months and I'm scared it's permanent. I was driving so this is all my fault. I feel awful everyday as she brings up small things like "can you smell this or taste this for me". I ruined my mothers life. She only gets to live half of it now since she loved cooking and everything like that. I don't know why I wasn't injured at all. I deserve some sort of punishment! Maybe this is it, I watch my mom suffer for what I've done. I don't know how to cope with any of this as I'm the reason why she can't smell or taste. She forgives me but I can never forgive myself. If anyone has any advice or just wants to say something to help, please do. I check this everyday so I'll be patient.

I had a 15 minute seizure and fell from a standing position and hit concrete. Cracked my skull. major brain trauma to the cerebellum part of my brain. There was a 3 inch crack in my skull and the hospital should have put a plate in my skull but did not do it. Then a piece of my skull broke off and went into the frontal lobe of my brain and as a result I too lost my smell and taste. It has been 9 months and they said I would never get it back. People just understand how bad it is and how depressing it is to not be able to smell flowers or taste good food. I would love to be able to talk to someone else who is experiencing and going through the same thing that I am. God bless anyone else that is going through this. Like the old saying says, "you don't know what you got until it is gone."

I slipped and fell hitting the back of my skull so hard that it broke the eye sockets! I spent 3 days in ICU. They wouldn't let me eat or drink for two days because I may have needed surgery. I remember saying to myself that the food had no taste. I got home and realized the food at home was bland too, so I called the nurse and she told me it was most likely anosmia. No treatment, no cure. I lost my will to eat! I would take a couple bites and get angry that I could not taste the food. While I can still "sense" spicy, sweet, salty, I can't smell. The up side is water and air smell and taste the same, and that I have lost 13 pounds in three weeks! Don't try it at home, I would grab a hammer and go to town if I could get my smell to return! My jokes about myself is the only way to cope, no offense offered.

Hi there, two years ago I was putting some stuff away under the sink in my bathroom I stood up and blacked out and fell backwards fracturing the back of my skull. I vaguely remember waking up at some point of time sweating profusely then passed out again. When I came to again I was in my bed in which I don't remember getting off the floor at all. I got out of bed walked around the corner to see a stranger sitting on the couch. She asked if I was okay and I replied who are you, where am I, who am I? I then passed out again. The stranger turned out to be my wife. She then got me to the emergency dept and I woke up five days later in intensive care from a drug induced coma. Days later I realised I didn't have smell or taste. I get the phantom smell every now and then so strong it makes me vomit. The smell is the smell of the smoke that comes off matches when you first strike it. I would like to know if anyone has this dilemma of always feeling hungry even when you have just eaten a huge meal. I was told because my brain doesn't register smell or taste it doesn't register eating therefore telling me I'm hungry. I was diagnosed with depression but have refused to take any antidepressants prescribed because I just don't want to go down that road. I always had a good memory but now I find large chunks of memories have been erased like my 21st birthday party. Its frustrating but life goes on. I'm alive and thankful for that. 😊

I lost my sense of smell (and taste) in an accident about four months ago (slightly fractured skull, heavy concussion and some bleeding). I was also 33 weeks pregnant. Everything healed and have a beautiful baby girl. But smell and taste....Occasionaly have some phantom smells. Apples give me a soapy taste in the mouth. Stuff with a lot of sugar give me metallic tastes in the mouth. I am still hoping for some recovery. Smells I don't really miss (perfume, cleaning detergent). But smells and tastes of food and drinks I do miss. I still enjoy food, but I am sad that the taste is so weak compared to when I could smell. I like fruits, yoghurt, cereal, spicy food, pizza and burgers. Smoked salmon. Tomatoes.Goat cheese. Sushi.  But I want to enjoy everything again! I am so happy to read stories of people who's sense came back after a year or ever longer...

I lost my sense of smell after falling off a horse at the age of 10. I had a concussion. I didn't know it at the time that my sense of smell was gone. It was in 1974. I remember telling my friends I couldn't smell after that. I had a MRI at the age of twenty that confirmed the injury to that part of my brain. I suffer from depression and have always had a hard time concentrating. Losing your sense of smell takes a lot of pleasant things away. Like all the good memories it could trigger. Also I don't get excited about a lot of things people with smell do. The smell of foods baking or flowers and perfumes. The good thing is I can maintain a good weight because I'm not tempted by the smells of certain foods. It has effected my sense of taste.

Hi I'm Jake,

I haven't been able to smell since 1997 TBI Skateboard accident. Looking for solutions not sob stories. How do we fix it? How do we regenerate nerves?. 

interesting to read the amount of people with anosmia.  I had elective surgery for cancer, which resulted in the removal of my olfactory nerves.  And with it my sense of smell.  Its been about a year, and every so often i have those phantom smells.  Pretty much always the same one.  I'm lucky in that its partially sweet in odor.  Really sucks not being able to smell, and you don't truly miss something until its gone for good.  I find that i can now cut onions at will, and i have no fears of using public restrooms.  But the loss in taste really isn't cool.  Though in some ways i'm rediscovering foods that i didn't like previously, since my taste has changed.  I also find that i fear left overs, maybe more so than fire.  with left overs, i never know if something is bad so i tend not to eat them ever.  Thank you for sharing your information, it was enlightening to see the different experiences of so many.  Best of luck to everyone as they learn to live with anosmia.

I had a head injury in December 2015 it's now September 2016 and I lost my sense of smell and taste. Is there anything that I can do to regain my senses back?

Hello. I suffered a fractured skull, concussion and subdural hematoma after having a seizure and falling off a fork lift and landing on a concrete floor at work. I was unconscious for a few hours and awoke in a hospital bed. The accident occurred on June 15 of this year. Two months later, I still have complete anosmia. I have noticed only a slight difference in my taste. I hope that it is not permanent but, I have accepted it and feel fortunate that the injuries were not worse!

My bf was in a severe car accident in 2013 and luckily we both survived but he unfortunately suffered a tbi and has now fully recovered. He noticed very quickly during recovery that his taste and smell was not good and his taste did come back with time but smell did not. Sometimes he can tell an odor is strong like cleaning products, bleach, etc but if I held up lemons he couldn't tell me what the scent is. He used to be a police officer and wants to go back but it worries me they won't let him if they know, or is this discrimination? Out of all the doctors you all have seen has anyone said any kind of treatment? I am curious and as a nurse I don't really think there is since its nerve related but I'm just curious. Nice to see he isn't alone

Hi, i wonder if anybody has got any advice for me, i haven't been able to taste or smell anything for 7 weeks, it all happened after a had an endoscopy the day after i came down with a really bad case of sinusitis followed by a chest infection, has anybody else had a similar experience, i know mine isn't due to an head injury but as u can imagine its quit stressful not been able to enjoy something so simple in life like the smell of flowers or your favorite chocolate bar, everything's so bland, the drs i've seen have treated me we antifungal medicine as they thought i had oral thrush which is no longer the case and has now after all these weeks referred me to see ent, which i haven't got an appointment for 6 weeks, i duno how else to cope its making me very anxious n depressed. Please if anybody has any advice its very welcome. Thanks

I have this also! Through a sheared olfactory nerve from a bang on the head. Then i hear on the news olfactory nerves grow back and im like 'what!?' Makes no sense to me. Strange thing is no smell equals a very limited taste palette. Strangely i cant remember the sensation of smelling. Funnily though i sometimes do get a sensation up my nostrils 2 or 3 times a year that always seems to trigger a thought of a burnt match. Its all a very confusing malarkey!

Lost my sense of smell and taste due to slipping in bathtub.

Hit the right side of my head. That was a year ago this month. Doc said may come back, may not. I'm betting it won't. Just have to learn to live with it.

Hey My son had an accident he was 3 nearly 4, may 2014, he had a depressed skull fracture, Bassline skull fracture, nose and orbit roof fractured, and frontal lobe damage. We noticed his sense of smell had gone august 2014, he can't smell a thing. He can taste but not smell, I'm so sad for him that I know it will never come back, how do you guys go about day to day with out sense of smell? I'm worrying for when he's older about him living on his own! I know it's a fair way off xx

I'm so glad I'm not alone. I was in a vehicle collision two months ago and had whiplash, a concussion, and other injuries. (5th whiplash in 5 years, 2nd concussion in 3 years. Eight not-at fault vehicle collisions in 5 years.) As the weeks went on after this most recent collision, I realized I couldn't smell my vanilla body spray, coffee, or the smell of bacon cooking. And then I realized I couldn't smell anything at all. There was one exception--a pizza delivery guy was walking past me with a huge bag of hot pizza, and all I could smell was the faint scent of dry dog food. Disgusting. As far as taste goes, I can only tell if something is sour, sweet, or spicy, but I can't tell what kind of food it is since there is no flavour. When I eat jalapeños, I feel a sting in my mouth but no flavour. When I brush my teeth, I feel a tingle in my mouth but no taste. Drinking coffee is like drinking hot water. I hate it. I'm trying to compensate by using fresh herbs and colourful veggies, and just generally trying to make food look a bit like art so that I can get at least some enjoyment out of it. The other day, I had to ask my maintenance man if the raw meat I had sitting in my freezer for a while was still good since I couldn't smell it. I feel awkward if I'm a guest at someone's house for dinner. I don't know what to say because I can't say the food tastes great, because I really can't taste it at all. Can anyone who has had whiplash or a concussion relate? As much as I would like to fix this, I don't know how. I am going to be grateful that since food is no longer interesting, I will be dropping some extra weight. I will finally be able to quit drinking coffee. I will buy meat and cook it while it is fresh then freeze it in single servings so I won't have to worry about it going bad. I will only buy exactly the food I need for a week and use it up right away. I will skip going out to eat and save money, since there's no more attraction to do that if I can't taste the food anyway. Since the concussion, I never leave home without ear plugs and sunglasses, a notepad and a day planner. I wish there was a how-to formula on how to fix these things or a time frame for how long it takes to recover from a concussion. If anyone can direct me to a "helpful things that you can do or tools to get to compensate for a brain that is not working properly" forum or website, I would be so grateful. Thank you!

Crazy!!!! I have the same problem I was in induced coma for 30 days, thanks to God and my mother in heaven and prayer chains in my honor I'm alive. But I owned a restaurant at the time and I would walk in the kitchen, one of my cooks put a sauce in front of my face.. He then asked me "does this smell bad " I replied naww I don't smell anything.. Then my brother walked in, I mentioned to him. I don't think I smell anything. He replies.. " oh yea I forgot they said you would loose your sense of smell or taste.. 💣 ... It's been since 2008 ... I get this feelings I can smell stuff randomly as well!!!!' What's really bad is sometimes they've left the burner knob turned on our stove and I can't tell or a bad gas leak on my vehicle.. Those are my fears... "Everyone who finds out .... First stupid question is always" (if I fart you won't know)

To the woman who posted in 2015 that she feels like she smells random odors even though she has anosmia, I have the same thing.

I lost my sense of smell about 15 years ago from a blow to the back of the head and I was concussed.  I didn't realize it until a few months later when I was clipping lilacs and couldn't smell them.  My MRI showed that my olfactory nerve was fried and the doc said if my smell didn't come back in a couple months then it probably wouldn't ever.

Well, I have those random 'smells' too and have for years.  I call them 'hallucini-sniffs' because most of them don't have a localized cause so I think my brain is just randomly throwing smell memories at me.

I'm wondering if anyone on here has other cognitive issues post-trauma?  I've started to notice some odd things like saying random words that aren't related to the conversation I'm having and not having any recollection of it, almost like turrets and I wonder if there is a correlation from the head trauma.

I fell down a flight of stairs and had bleeding on the brain and had to have emergency surgery. As soon as I woke up from the accident and the surgery was complete I had no sense of taste or smell. The accident happened in August of 2015. After a few months I started to have weird sensation of tastes and smells. Everything is starting to taste like something now, but not what it is supposed to taste like. It's very hard to explain but I hope that is a sign of the nerves repairing themselves. Has anyone experienced this? So hard to find someone to talk to about this. Thanks for your help!!

I had brain surgery February 29 I loss my sense of smell can't smell anything. Loss my taste of food but I have one smell in my nose on and off more on than off smells like a chemical drives me crazy and makes me feel dizzy I have to breath though my mouth to get a break from it weird how can I smell something if I can't smell noting confused

Like another poster below, I lost my sense of smell from a horse accident, in 1981.

I too, can taste things just fine but smell absolutely *nothing*.

My "neurologist" was furious when I told him I could taste food just fine.

My family blew it off and often makes thoughtless comments lke "Oh, skunk! You're lucky you can't smell!"

In the years that have passed, I have acquired crippling phobias, anxiety, panic attacks, depression and my life is a living hell.

Since I can not tell if something I'm near is 'dangerous' to me, I have come to assume ~everything~ is.

Life is so far beyond miserable, I have no words to describe it.

I cannot take care of myself.

I need someone to always check and recheck whatever I eat, drink, get near, etc.

Their efforts to comfort me no longer work.

I always think that just because a smell/chemical/etc won't hurt *them*, it might somehow still hurt me.

This anosmia has utterly devastated my life.

I was a very smart young woman, talented and expected to do big things.

Instead, I am a housewife, trapped in my own prison, terrified every time I go outside.

I do not work, due to fear of coming into contact with those "dangerous things" I can no longer smell.

I am a worthless creature, contributing nothing, cringing in fear, instead.

*Everything* is visually examined to the point that it takes me forever just to eat or drink anything.

If I see something "off", I freak out.

It has given me a bizarre form of "bulimia", kind of.

No, I don't eat and throw up; I throw up on an empty stomach if I even *think* I may have breathed in anything 'scary', got too near something toxic or accidentally swallowed something 'bad'.

~That~ side-effect is killing me.

I cannot help it.

The fear of swallowing anything toxic is crippling.

God, I would give anything to be able to smell again.

It has destroyed me.

All of your stories break my heart.

I know how you suffer.

:(

I lost my sense of smell after being thrown off the front of a truck backwards and hitting the back of my head on the ground. It was gone for a solid 5 years and then I noticed that it started to come back and now, 10 years later, it's I'd say at 90% depending on the weather

I have a traumatic brain injury from a motorcycle accident in 2012 and I've basically lost my sense of smell but it seems to be a multiple level issue. Sometimes I can smell usually it comes at around 3am when I have to go to the bathroom and I am able to smell the bathroom. And on occasion I can kinda smell other stuff though most of the time I can't smell anything

i fell off a 4 wheeler 3 weeks ago, hit the back of my head  hard on the pavement lost  consciousness and was in the hospital two days, after i couldnt smell and my taste was at 20%, i can taste sweet, sour, but greatly diminished, i tried the home remedy of warm castor oil in the nostrils with head hanging from bed and i was able to smell bengay ointment slightly today, it is working! i will keep you posted but will also try  the chiropractor methods and acupuncture  as soon as i can, def recommend the castor oil remedy,
 

August 19, 2009... Haven't smelled a thing since. My taste is fine although for the first month or so after the injury it was gone too. It's sad, I miss it but I've accepted that it's never coming back so what the hell, hey? C'est la vie

I'm coming up on 1 year since I hit my head. Haven't been able to smell or taste since. I hit the back left side of my head. I've had an MRI and everything is fine except that I can't smell or taste, and it looks like it will never come back. I do actually smell one scent and it never changes and when something has a strong smell, that ONE scent becomes stronger, and I can't describe what that one scent is, but at least it's not a bad scent. Like others I can recognize sweet,sour,salty, and bitter and I think I have smelled things for a split second, like a cigarette once, and 2 times I think I tasted Dr. Pepper for a split second. It's actually pretty scary, but theres nothing I can do about it, so I deal with it. I'm just thankful that I lost the 2 least important of the 5 senses. I still have my sight, hearing, and touch.

I fell backward during a tennis game, fracture my  scalp and bled. Was in hospital for 10 days. My taste was fine while in the hospital, I can taste stinky pureed fish, caramel pudding, beef barley soup. But after I come home, I lost my sense of smell and taste. Can't even smell garlic. Can one lost the sense of taste and smell later 2 weeks after the brain injury?

I've suffered 3 rear-end collisions in the last 5 years, due to drivers texting or talking on their cell phones. My sense of smell was affected by all three accidents. After the second accident, I couldn't smell very well, only smells that are very strong. After each accident, I smell things that are not present; burnt taco shell smell after first accident and a musky smell after the third accident, especially when I am stressed. Doctors would merely shrug their shoulders when I complained about my inability to smell after the accidents. The insurance company with whom I'm trying to settle has humiliated me; opposing counsel's attorney insinuates that I am not injured (her client was traveling 55 mph when they hit me). I'm 56 years old and never filed an insurance claim for an injury, before the first rear-end accident when I was 50--if I was some low-life, trying to collect insurance money, I think I would have started this practice years ago. I truly feel sad for folks who suffer with the debilitating affects of an inability to smell and to constantly smell something that isn't present.

I lost my sense of smell when I was 16 (hit by car) 28 years ago. it can be frustrating but as in my case it has never returned and it will not now. You do get used to it over time, the worse part eventually is friends and family asking you to smell things, forgetting you can't. It seriously impairs your taste and you find yourself giving compliments on the food your eating (even though it tastes bland) I will say I saw some healers on TV once, healing people with the same condition and claimed to bring it back! I say it's best to just accept it.

I lost my smell 31 years ago after falling off of a horse.The back left side of my head hit the ground and I ended up in the hospital for 8 days. The doctors do not seem to believe me that I can taste but not smell. It has been very frustrating because I consider smell as important as sight . I fear fire a lot and have had nightmares of the house being on fire because of it.

There seems to be some hope. I can smell coffee from time to time, and I smell the cat poop for the first time since age 15. Other than that I have had to do without for some time  Hopefully the medical field will give us more attention.

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