The sense of smell and taste are closely linked. The taste buds in the tongue help in identifying the taste and the nerves of the nose sense the smell. Both these sensations are transmitted to the brain and processed there so that the flavors may be recognized and relished. Sometimes, there may be impairments in smelling and tasting as many people are born with such disorders. Loss of smell and taste is also common in ageing.
However, these disorders may be indicative of underlying diseases or health issues. Obesity, diabetes, hypertension, poor nutrition and neurological diseases and multiple sclerosis are some such ailments. Though the problem may not be life-threatening always, it is important to identify the right cause associated with it. One of the premier ENT Hospitals in Kenya that precisely treats this condition is Prodigy ENT. As a renowned specialist treatment center, we have a team of extremely skilled ENT doctors to deliver high-quality treatment.
Causes of Smell and Taste Disorders
The symptoms of smell and taste disorders may vary from person to person. While some people experience total loss of these senses, others may have reduced ability to smell, taste and relish various kinds of foods. In some exceptional cases, even pleasant odours and taste may become unpleasant and unappealing.
Types of Smell and Taste Disorders
The ENT specialist does a complete physical examination and also examines the medical history about the symptoms. Further investigation may be done if required by doing tests like CT scan, MRI scan, brain x-ray and nasal endoscopy to check for the presence of abnormal blockages and growths.
Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the anosmia. If it is due to a cold or sinusitis, the problem is likely to clear on its own within a few days. However, if it persists, doctors may recommend prescription medications like steroid nasal sprays, decongestants, antihistamines, steroids and antibiotics for bacterial infections. Lifestyle changes like cessation of smoking and decreasing the exposure to nasal irritants and allergens can also be helpful. If a prescribed medication is causing the loss of smell, patients may discuss with their physicians to substitute it with other treatment options. Surgical intervention is essential to remove the obstruction if polyps or tumours are present. It is advisable to follow environmental safety recommendations and install proper chemical detectors at home for identifying dangerous gases like carbon-monoxide if a permanent loss of smell is experienced.
The treatment of hyposmia is along the same lines as anosmia. Doing nasal rinses, smell restraining therapy and certain health supplements like Vitamin B12 may also be beneficial. Foods like fish, meat, eggs, cheese, milk, yogurt and chicken can also help in improving the sense of smell.
If ageusia is due to allergies and infections, doctors may prescribe relevant medicines to clear the condition and relieve the symptoms. In some cases changing certain medications or stopping them may be necessary. If ageusia is caused by ageing, it is likely to be permanent and cannot be reversed completely. In such cases, treatment involves teaching coping strategies like preparing foods with more spices and safe colours to make them delicious. Quitting the smoking habit can improve the taste significantly. Besides, maintaining good oral hygiene helps in regaining better taste. A customized treatment plan is needed if the problem is caused by head injury or mental ailments.
The treatment approach is similar to ageusia. Intranasal sprays and vaporisers are sometimes used in treating hypogeusia. Using aromatic herbs and ingredients of different textures can help in better managing this disorder. Vitamin D and zinc supplements are beneficial too.