Home HealthTopics Health Centers Reference Library Research
Join us on Facebook Join us on Facebook Share on Facebook

Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Treatment for no sense of smell

12/28/2009

Question:

Hello! There is a father of a 12 yo girl calling t see if there is any treatment for someone with no sense of smell. She has all the "right nerves" according to an MRI done at the outlying ENT office. She also had a flexible laryngoscope done which showed no abnormalities. An adult ENT told the father that some people are just born like this and she can just live with it. Dad is wondering if there exists any treatment for his daughter. Thanks for your response in advance!

Answer:

If this 12 year old girl has never been able to smell, ie has no recollection of ever detecting any odors, then she may indeed have a congenital loss.  This is usually due to incomplete development of the olfactory bulb, a structure that serves as a collecting terminal for olfactory input at the base of the brain.  This may not show up on an MRI.  If this is the case, then unfortunately there is no available treatment.  Sometimes such a loss can be associated with other congenital abnormalities, so discussion with the child's pediatrician would be appropriate. 

For more information:

Go to the Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders health topic, where you can:

Response by:

Allen M Seiden, MD Allen M Seiden, MD
Professor of Otolaryngology, Director of Division of Rhinology and Sinus Disorders, Director of University Taste and Smell Center, Director of University Sinus and Allergy
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati