The smell is very important for our life, largely to capture the aromas of food, drinks and other times for the fragrances of the environment around us. But there are highly delicate smells. Unlikeanosmia (loss of smell), caused by covid 19 and other conditions, there are other disorders of great importance.

In this sense, in the following article we will address one of those disorders known as hyperosmia, a very curious alteration of smell, where we will explain its causes and the treatment to cope with it.

What is hyperosmia?

Hyperosmia is a rare disorder that involves the sense of smell. It is an alteration, where the smell of patientsbecomes highly sensitive to various odors, this means that the olfactory thresholds are much higher.

Although it does not seem dangerous, this disorder is able to capture all kinds of odors, both pleasant and unpleasant, which can affect everyday life, since the hypersensitivity of smell causes dizziness, fainting and even vomiting.

Note: A medical study mentions that “This picture usually appears during menopause and pregnancy. It has also been described in pathological conditions such as Basedow’s disease”. (1)

What causes hyperosmia?

Hyperosmia has a set of key causes, which must be of great knowledge. We present the main ones:

1. Neuronal and olfactory nerve alterations

These alterationsmay be related to the central nervous system, the result of diseases or genetic alterations. In addition, it affects the nerve endings, which link to the olfactory nerve affecting the function of common smell and causing sensitivity. This occurs directly in the nasal epithelium or olfactory epithelium.

Note: Olfactory nerve alterations can be various, such as: alterations in smell detection and olfactory identification.

2. Addison’s disease, Basedow and cystic fibrosis

They are considered to be genetic causes, diseases such as Addison’s produce low amounts of the hormone cortisol, causing dizziness or fatigue. Others, such as Basedow’s or Graves-Basedow’s disease, arethe cause of thyroid enlargement , affecting the face and its surroundings.

On the other hand, cystic fibrosis is a genetic mutation located in the lungs and since it affects this organ, mucus clogs the airways, altering the perception of smell.

To highlight: A medical study mentions that “Cystic fibrosis is an autosomal recessive disease that preferentially affects the population of Caucasian origin.” (3)

3. Migraines and pregnancy

Migraine is a very intense headache, usually in stressful situations. But it affects the immune system, it is said that before a migraine attack, key symptoms such as olfactory hypersensitivity occur.

During pregnancy it is different, since it occurs due to hormonal changes and other symptoms such as dehydration and vomiting, during the first months or after nine months.

4. Vitamin B12 deficiency

When there is low consumption of vitamin B12, a great reduction in red blood cells can occur (such as anemia), which directly affects the nervous system, as well as the olfactory system where it can cause breathing problems, accompanied by fatigue.

Note: According to a medical study “Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep neurons and blood cells healthy. In addition, it contributes to the elaboration of DNA, the genetic material present in all cells”. (4)

5. Use of amphetamines

The use of amphetamines, drugs with a framework of two types, legal and illegal (when there is no prescription), can cause changes in the body if consumed excessively and without prior knowledge.

They are stimulant drugs that increase, in an exaggerated capacity, the sensations of the body, they are used mainly for obesity or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

How is hyperosmia cured?

Fortunately there are effective ways to cure hyperosmiatag. Here we present the most common:

1. Dopamine-inhibiting substances

These substances contain dopamine,which is a fundamental neurotransmitter for the brain (and its most important functions). It is normallyused in the form of drugs , for disorders such as depression and other mood states such as attention deficit.

Important: These substances must be used exclusively with a medical prescription.

2. Avoid crowded places

A person or patient with this olfactory disorder should avoid to a certain extent crowded places where a large number of people gather, which can prevent intimate and personal discomfort due to the number of odors that are found (such as cigarettes or alcohol ).

3. Avoid strong odors


Key Findings

  • Hyperosmia is a disorder of smell, where the sensitivity of the olfactory nerve is excessively increased.
  • With this disorder it becomes difficult to tolerate a large number of odors.
  • It can be caused by hereditary or genetic diseases and low consumption of foods rich in vitamin B12.
  • The use of drugs such as amphetamines can also aggravate the central nervous system and increase the perception of odors.
  • There are several adequate and easy-to-apply treatments to alleviate the situation of hyperosmia.

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