About Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Smell and Taste Disorders - Diagnosis - Treatment - Reference

Last Updated on Apr 23, 2013
Font : A-A+


Smell and taste disorders are common chemosensory disorders that are capable of affecting an individualís quality of life.


We are able to appreciate the pleasures of life with the help of our senses including the sense of sight, smell, sound, taste and touch. Our ability to smell and taste enables us to enjoy the flavor and taste of food, allows us to appreciate the various fragrances around us and also protects us by helping us to detect the good from the bad.

The senses of smell and taste serve as an early warning system against spoiled food products, toxins, polluted air and smoke. Physiologically, the chemical senses facilitate normal digestion by triggering gastrointestinal secretions.

A change in the ability to taste and smell could indicate the presence of diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, malnutrition or neurological disorders.

Of all the chemosensory disorders, loss of the senses of smell (anosmia) and taste (ageusia) are the most common. Reductions in these senses are known as hyposmia and hypogeusia, respectively.


When a person develops a condition that affects his smelling ability, he may completely lose his sense of smell or he may smell things differently, while those who have a taste disorder may not be able to distinguish tastes or may end up tasting things that donít exist.

Taste and smell disorders are capable of affecting the quality of life of an individual; nevertheless, they are usually sidelined by the medical fraternity as something of less significance. What is of concern is that such dysfunction can have adverse health effects, especially in the elderly, and has been associated with malnutrition, weakened immune system, and weight loss. The affected persons usually indulge in excess use of sugar and salt in order to compensate for their taste and smell impairment. This is detrimental to health, especially to those with diabetes and hypertension.

There are many reasons as to why a person develops smell and taste disorder. Common reasons are head injury, cold, certain medications, certain sinus diseases, oral diseases, Bellís palsy, oral procedures or even appliances such as dentures. Age is another important contributing factor.


  1. Smell and Taste Disorders: A Primary Care Approach - (http://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0115/p427.html)
  2. Smell and Taste Disorders - (http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/otolaryngology/smell_and_taste_disorders_chemosensory_disorders_85,P00466/)
  3. Smell and Taste Disorders: A Primary Care Approach
  4. STEVEN M. BROMLEY, M.D., University of Pennsylvania Smell and Taste Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, New York
  5. Am Fam Physician. 2000 Jan 15;61(2):427-436.

Latest Publications and Research on Smell and Taste Disorders

Citations   close

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

  • APA

    Dr. Reeja Tharu. (2013, April 23). Smell and Taste Disorders - Diagnosis - Treatment - Reference. Medindia. Retrieved on May 19, 2022 from https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/smell-and-taste-disorders.htm.

  • MLA

    Dr. Reeja Tharu. "Smell and Taste Disorders - Diagnosis - Treatment - Reference". Medindia. May 19, 2022. <https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/smell-and-taste-disorders.htm>.

  • Chicago

    Dr. Reeja Tharu. "Smell and Taste Disorders - Diagnosis - Treatment - Reference". Medindia. https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/smell-and-taste-disorders.htm. (accessed May 19, 2022).

  • Harvard

    Dr. Reeja Tharu. 2021. Smell and Taste Disorders - Diagnosis - Treatment - Reference. Medindia, viewed May 19, 2022, https://www.medindia.net/patients/patientinfo/smell-and-taste-disorders.htm.

Do you wish to consult a General Medicine Doctor / Internal Medicine Doctor for your problem? Ask your question

Dr. Aloka Nanda Dalal
Dr. Aloka Nanda  Dalal
MBBS, C Diab
12 years experience
Teleconsult Now View Profile
View All

Post a Comment

Comments should be on the topic and should not be abusive. The editorial team reserves the right to review and moderate the comments posted on the site.

Health Topics A - Z

    Drugs for Smell and Taste Disorders
    What's New on Medindia
    Prevent Hacking of Medical Devices: FDA Sounds Alarm
    Black Water: Benefits and Uses
    World Hypertension Day 2022 - Measure Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer!
    View all

    Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

    Most Popular on Medindia

    How to Reduce School Bag Weight - Simple Tips Accident and Trauma Care Drug - Food Interactions Find a Doctor Find a Hospital Daily Calorie Requirements Color Blindness Calculator A-Z Drug Brands in India Pregnancy Confirmation Calculator Blood Donation - Recipients

    Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

    © All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

    This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use