Phantom Smells

Or olfactory hallucinations, whatever you call them, they suck!  I started to read this new book at the library about a woman who started to lose her sense of smell the same way I think I'm losing mine-- caused by an OTC nasal spray product starting with a Z.  This eventually leads to complete loss of smell sense, but along the way, you can get phantom smells, usually really nasty ones.  In my case, I faintly smell a 'bomb 'dropped in the cat's litter box all the time.  Or sometimes food smells a little like rotten meat.  I'm usually able to overcome it and eat anyway.  Other times, it's like I have the olfactory version of red-green color blindness.  Several types of smells which should all be distinctive, end up smelling like the same bad smell.  It's weird, and I wish I'd get normal back, but I have little hope of it.
mrmoo1231 mrmoo1231
46-50, M
2 Responses Aug 8, 2010

Thanks for your comment. For me, context is what I rely on, for instance if I just bought some apparently decent quality fresh hamburger at the grocery store and am cooking it up for some manwich or whatever, I'm going to assume my nose is not a reliable guide when I smell a rotting dead animal under the house!

I lost my senses of taste and smell as the result of a concussion and although they never did come back for a while I could rely on memory to remind me of smells and tastes. At some stage memory failed me and I completely forgot all of it, but for a short period of time thought my sense of smell was returning when I thought I could identify the smell of burnt electrical wiring. I immediately called my neuro surgeons office and was told it was a phantom smell and that many people who have lost this sense claim to smell the same odor. At the end of the day my advice is to accept your new sense of normal but beware of bad food which you cannot identify by smell. Ask someone you trust to smell it for you and keep dates on refrigerated food. Trust me. You'll be glad you did, or more so regret it if you don't.