How can you Treat Phantosmia?

Initially, the experience of unpleasant smells will resolve when you fall asleep. Others try to gag, use the Valsalva’s maneuver, intranasal instrumentation, or force themselves to cry, to stop the sensation of unpleasant smells. With time, these strategies prove to be ineffective.

Watchful waiting: In many cases, the distorted smell perception may decrease and wane away with time, without medications or surgery.

Other ways to treat phantosmia include:

Drugs: Medications, eg. antidepressants, antiepileptic drugs or sedatives, have been prescribed, with limited relief. The dose has to be increased over time, and patients are unable to deal with the side effects. Cocaine and nasal saline drops can temporarily relieve people from undesired odors.

Surgery: Removal of the olfactory cells or epithelium, eliminates the perceived odors and retains the normal sense of smell. When the olfactory bulb is removed with bifrontal craniotomy, the perceived odors disappear but the intensity of smell perception is reduced and surgery-related risks increase.

How do you Prevent Phantosmia?

You cannot prevent phantosmia. However, once you are affected, you can identify the potential cause and resort to initial preventive strategies (eg. watchful waiting, Valsalva’s maneuver, etc). If needed, surgery or medications are recommended.


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