What are olfactory disorders?
They are affectations of the olfactory capacity that can be due to the nasosinusal pathology, or also to the affectations of the olfactory nerve. It is one of the sequelae of infection by COVID-19.
Prognosis of the disease
COVID-19 has left us with a series of sequelae that have to do with smell and taste. This raises a number of questions such as, for example, can smell be recovered? This is a matter of general concern.
We can currently state that 1 out of 5 people recover their taste in one week; 1 out of 3 people need between 1 and 2 weeks to recover it; and 1 out of 5 take between 2 and 4 weeks. The remaining 80% recover it in a maximum time of one month.
In addition, there is a small percentage of people who lose taste and smell in the long term. By training the sense of smell for 6 months we can get 33% of this small percentage to recover it.
Symptoms of olfactory disorders
The symptoms are the loss of smell to a lesser or greater extent. There are three main types of affections:
- Parosmia: smells are confused or some already known smells become unpleasant.
- Hyposmia: it is a desensitization of the sense of smell that prevents or hinders the identification of usual aromas.
- Anosmia: is the complete loss of smell.
Medical tests for smell disorders
Medical tests performed to diagnose and detect smell disorders, whether from COVID-19 or another cause are:
- Nasosinusal endoscopy.
- Imaging tests if necessary.
- The European validated Sniffin Test.
What are the causes of olfactory disorders?
There can be several causes of olfactory disorders:
- nasal inflammations derived from acute and/or chronic rhinosinusitis processes.
- Viral infectious, such as COVID infection.
- Neoplastic causes: tumors of the skull base or the olfactory bulb can produce alterations of the sense of smell.
Can they be prevented?
Maintaining good nasal health, in terms of nasal and mucosal permeability, as well as rehabilitation and treatment with omega 3 supplements that favor and strengthen the sense of smell.
Treatments for olfactory disorders
Treatments for patients with olfactory disorders include:
- Treatment of the cause if it exists, for example.
- Treatment of rhinosinusitis.
- Directed rehabilitation in cases in which the affectation is neuronal as in the case of COVID.
Medications for olfactory disorders
The most commonly used medications and products to treat olfactory disorders are:
- Nasal washes.
- Topical nasal corticosteroids.
- Omega 3.
- Essential aromatic oils.
Which specialist treats it?
The specialist in charge of treating olfactory disorders is the otolaryngologist.