ZocdocAnswersWhy can't I smell or taste anything?

Question

Why can't I smell or taste anything?

I haven't been able to smell or taste anything since February and I went to my doctor and she said I had a sinus infection and prescribed me medication for it. When I wake up I sneeze continuously and the mucus and everything that comes out is clear or white. Sometimes really thick mucus is stuck in the back of my throat and soughs out with blood streaks. I can smell faintly once in a while but not close to normal. When I smell something, it only smells rotten, as if there was a rotten egg inside of my nose. I have tried Mucinex, Sudafed, Zyrtec, nose sprays, neti pots, saline solutions, and breathing in steam. I have headaches all the time and feel a lot of pressure. I have searched into surgery for opening the sinuses. However, I came across nasal polyps. I have never heard of them until now and thought that could be what is wrong with me as well. I have searched for costs of surgeries for that but was wondering about this topic as well.

Answer

It sounds like you have had a terrible few months at this point, and should be seen by an otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon (or ENT, for short). He or she would best be able to diagnose the cause of your lost sense of smell and other complaints. This is important, because the longer the sense of smell is gone, the less likely you are to get it back. That is because unless you use that sense, you lose it. As it has already been some months, I would suggest being seen sooner rather than later. He or she will likely use a camera to diagnose what is going on. This small camera would allow him or her to look into your sinuses and determine if there is an infection, and then to see if there is a cause for continued drainage from them. Also, they would see if there are any nasal polyps. These polyps often come in response to allergies or other sinonasal inflammation, and often need surgery to be removed. The cost of surgery would be very dependent on your insurance and the coverage that you have and other variables. Please speak to your ear nose and throat surgeon as soon as possible.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.