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Can’t Smell or Taste? Here’s What to Do.

Many of our posts talk about awesome ways to caress the senses with lovely colors, music and scents. However, it’s almost impossible to appreciate the benefits of these sensual stimulants if you have no perception of them.

This post is for our goddesses who can’t smell or taste.

First a small definition: Your sense of taste is located on your tongue. Tastes include salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami*. Flavors are what allow us to differentiate one food from another such as a lemon from a lime. When you say can’t smell or taste, you probably mean you can’t smell or know the flavor of foods.

*Umami is a Japanese word loosely translated into “delicious.” It comes from a receptor on your tongue that is responsive to organic compounds like glutamate like that found in meat and in MSG flavor.

Why you can’t smell or taste

There are a variety of reasons including:

  • Injury to your head
  • Medications
  • Sinus problems including allergies
  • Respiratory infections
  • Smoking
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Chemical exposure
  • Dental problems
  • Nasal polyps and tumors
  • Brain tumors
  • Depression – Studies indicate the cause is an autoimmune response
  • Age – Usually associated with diminished sense of smell and flavor.
  • Diabetes
  • Genetics

Here’s what to do when you can’t smell or taste

Step 1

  • The first thing to do is figure out why you are suffering from anosmia (loss of smell). Sometimes it will be obvious sometimes not so much.
  • If you get a cold or suffer from nasal allergies, you may well lose your sense of smell or taste until the cold goes away or the allergy situation is resolved. Also, just as a word of warning, you can permanently lose or diminish your sense of smell and taste (flavor) with persistent nasal infections.
  • If you fall down and bump your head. You may lose your sense of smell. How long before you get it back is determined by the extent of nerve damage.
  • If you smoke and notice the roses don’t have near the aroma they used to, in addition to the many other reasons, you may want to quit.
  • If you’re on a medication, check with your doctor to see if that might be the problem.
  • If you find the scent of your perfume isn’t as intense as it once was or food doesn’t taste quite the same, you may be suffering from a treatable medical condition. It’s time to see your doctor.

Step two

Once you’ve identified why you can’t smell or taste, the treatment might be obvious. You quit smoking, change medications, clear up your allergy symptoms, treat nasal infections, etc.

In addition, there are some things to help improve your sense of smell. They include:

  • Take 200 mg lipoic acid three times a day. One study showed marked taste and smell improvement in a human trial.
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Humidify the air in your home in the winter
  • Keep your nose unblocked with nasal spray
  • Wear your seatbelt to avoid head injuries
  • Avoid really bad odors, they numb your sense of smell

Important note – Don’t take Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel or Nasal Swab. These two products have been associated with anosmia.


If you are a goddess who has lost her sense of smell and there’s little chance of getting it back or you are waiting for it to come back, there is still much to make your spa day a great experience. You can enjoy the wonderful effects of music and colors. And don’t forget that oh so soothing bath and the luxurious softness of your towels and linens.

Now go have fun and relax.

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116 Comments on Can’t Smell or Taste? Here’s What to Do.

  1. Guest

    I lost my sense of smell and taste almost 2 years ago. Had surgery for removal of nasal polyps about 12 months ago but it made no difference to my anosmia. I am desperate and cannot understand why I cannot get cured when medicine and doctors are successfully treating desperate conditions that not so long ago were killing people…I have spent a lot of money visiting ENT Specialists who seem to submit me to all sorts of tests,scans,mri’s,nasal photographic investigative sessions – all of which have cost me a huge amount of money for absolutely nothing. Unfortunately, I have formed the opinion that I am being financially bled without an ounce of hope in sight. Surely, is it that difficult an issue to treat? Do I have any hope left? I would sell my soul to the devil to regain my two senses and be able to enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures – nice cup of coffee, a beautiful mango or simply a nicely prepared dinner.i am 57 years old, male and my nose always seems to be producing mucous and affecting my ears with unbearable pain and discomfort as well as compromised hearing.this has always been so, even when I was being probed and x rayed by the specialists – before and after the surgery. Whatever treatment provided never stopped this problem. I also had close on 35 sessions of acupuncture administered by my very own G P at his suggestion – but apart from the effect of the heavy cost involved , nothing came out of it in terms of treating my anosmia.
    Please help as I am now absolutely distressed by the condition now.
    Ps – I have also been put on Prednisone, Nasonex, antibiotics, two types of drops prepared by a compounding chemist,Nasal irrigation, Inhalation, slept with a room humidifier, tried the Apple cider vinegar treatment, drops of Castor oil in the nostrils – none of this has made an ounce of difference either.
    I am prepared to try ANYTHING NOW.
    Many thanks and I will be eagerly watching for an answer.. Cheers.

    • SpaFromScratch SpaFromScratch

      Hi there Guest,

      So sorry you’re having such a time of it. First let me say I I think you’re ENT specialist is being very thorough. You want that in a doctor. I take it that s/he has found nothing abnormal outside of the polyps.

      It sounds like your doctors are now treating the symptoms without actually finding the cause. I’m assuming they cultured and did the blood work to rule out a chronic infection. You didn’t mention whether you have been tested for allergies, one of the most common causes of chronic sinusitis and chronic rhinitis.

      I’m no doctor, but if it were me, I’d want to know what the cause of my chronic runny nose (rhinitis). I would research these two terms online: “chronic rhinitis” and “chronic sinusitis”. I would also search for the terms “chronic rhinitis research” and “chronic sinusitis research”.

      While I was investigating, I’d avoid nasal sprays and cortisone treatments. In your case, they don’t seem to help anyway and they have been associated with permanent anosmia.

      To get you started, I’ve included a couple of links to sources I have found to be reliable in the past. I’m also not shy about calling researchers with questions.

      This helpful article appeared in the Chicago News Tribune:

      From John Hopkins, I found this interesting article complete with the contact information for the researcher. Apparently, standard allergy tests may turn up negative, but an allergen may still be the culprit. In this case allergen specific tests are needed.

      This information is on the Mayo Clinic website:

      If you need additional help with your research, let me know and I’ll step up. We don’t like our friends to have problems.

      Love you,

      Mama Vic

  2. Guest

    I lost sense of smell and taste almost a week now due to heavy flu runny nose and fever after I eat salty food before my sense of taste gone I try to take fruits and vitamins but not working and still not coming back after that my period follow after is there a way on how to bring back my senses?

  3. Guest

    i have never smelt anything!

  4. Guest

    Just had surgery last week on the 5th and now I can’t smell or taste anything,I wish I would of read this stuff before my surgery also the doctor should of said something bout losing you’re sense of smell and taste this is kinda bull shit on his part all they care bout getting there money and having these headaches in the back of the brain is not feeling good at all,any movement makes theses sharp pains

    • SpaFromScratch SpaFromScratch

      Hey there Guest,

      If I were you, I wouldn’t be angry with my doctor until I had the full story. I would start by calling my doctor to discuss all of my symptoms including the headaches, lack of sense of smell and any other symptoms I may have.

      Symptoms will tell the doctor if there is anything to be concerned about. It might be that the symptoms are expected and will go away with time.

      If I wasn’t satisfied with the answers I got from my doctor, I would then get a second opinion from another physician.

      Be sure and get back to let us know how you’re doing.