Smell is crucial to the way we experience the world, whether it’s the garlic in that sauce simmering on the stove, a fully bloomed rose, fresh cut grass, or the familiar scent of your first love’s perfume. (Love the smell of old books? Find out why.) That’s why anosmia, the loss of your sense of smell, can be such a blow. This condition sneaks up on people more slowly than hearing or vision loss. Because sense of smell is controlled by sensors in the nose that connect to your brain, there are a variety of conditions that could be triggering the loss of this sense—with some temporary and others permanent.
If you suffer from chronic nasal congestion, you should rule out these potential causes. “The most common cause is sinus blockage and congestion due to the accumulation of inflammation and toxins in the sinuses,” says integrative neurologist Kulreet Chaudhary, MD. “Causes of poor digestion are multi-fold and involve excess stress, over-working, poor eating habits, imbalanced microbiome (gut flora), and over consumption of processed foods.”
If you are not simply experiencing cold or allergy symptoms, your congestion and subsequent loss of smell may be the result of digestive issues or stress.
“The best treatments involve improving digestion to relieve the accumulation of inflammation in the sinuses,” Chaudhary. Talk to your doctor or a dietitcian about ways to improve your diet and tame your sinuses.