Knowing Phantosmia, Olfactory Hallucinations Disorder

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Knowing Phantosmia, Olfactory Hallucinations Disorder
Knowing Phantosmia, Olfactory Hallucinations Disorder

Phantosmia is a condition when a person can smell something, but other people don't smell it. The reason is, the smell or object that causes the smell is not real. This condition is included in the symptoms of olfactory nerve disorders

Phantosmia or olfactory hallucinations often make sufferers feel confused and uncomfortable, especially when interacting with other people. In fact, in certain cases, this condition can also make the sufferer lose his appetite due to the unpleasant smell or foul smell he smells.

Recognizing Phantosmia, Olfactory Hallucinations Disorder - Alodokter

The bad smell can be smelled from one nostril or both. Sometimes, this smell can linger throughout the day or come and go at certain times.

Knowing the Causes of Phantosmia

Phantosmia occurs when there is a disturbance in the olfactory nerve in the nose or the part of the brain that functions to process stimuli from the sense of smell. This condition of olfactory hallucinations can occur for several reasons, including:

  • Head injury
  • Epilepsy
  • Migraine, usually in migraine with aura
  • Infection of the sinus cavity
  • Nasal polyps
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Brain tumor
  • Dementia, for example due to Alzheimer's disease
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia
  • Stroke
  • Side effects of drugs, such as nasal drops

In addition to the various things above, several studies have revealed that phantosmia can also be caused by respiratory infections, such as COVID-19.

This can happen because Corona virus infection can cause a person to experience olfactory nerve disorders, resulting in symptoms of loss of smell (anosmia), lack of sensitivity to smells (hyposmia), or misperception of certain smells (parosmia).

Phantosmia Diagnosis Steps

If you feel the symptoms of phantosmia, you should consult a doctor so that the cause can be identified. Thus, the doctor can provide the right treatment according to the cause.

To find out the cause of phantosmia, the doctor will perform a physical examination and supporting examinations, such as:

Nose endoscopy

Nasal endoscopy or rhinoscopy is done by inserting a special instrument into the nose to see the inside of the nasal cavity more clearly and determine whether there are problems that can cause phantosmia, such as polyps or tumors in the nose, and allergic rhinitis.

radiological examination

Radiological examinations, such as X-rays and head CT scans, can also be done to detect whether there are abnormalities in the nasal cavity and brain that can cause phantosmia complaints, such as tumors in the nose or brain, dementia, and Parkinson's disease.

Electroencephalography (EEG)

This test is done to evaluate the electrical activity in the brain. The reason is, when you feel the symptoms of phantosmia, the electrical waves in the brain will show a certain pattern and this can be detected through an EEG examination.

Usually, this test is done when the doctor suspects that the phantosmia is caused by an abnormality in the brain, such as epilepsy or migraine with aura.

In addition to the above examinations, the doctor will also perform other tests, such as blood tests and PCR tests, if phantosmia is suspected due to COVID-19.

How to Treat Phantosmia

Phantosmia treatment needs to be tailored to the underlying cause. For example, if phantosmia is caused by epilepsy, your doctor may prescribe antiepileptic drugs to treat the condition. Meanwhile, phantosmia caused by brain tumors can be treated with surgery or chemotherapy.

To overcome the phantosmia caused by COVID-19, the doctor will give antiviral drugs to eradicate the Corona virus and corticosteroids to treat inflammation in the olfactory nerve.

Although not life-threatening, phantosmia can affect the sufferer's quality of life. If left untreated, this condition can lead to decreased appetite or even dehydration and malnutrition.

Therefore, if you feel the symptoms of phantosmia, especially if this complaint has been felt for a long time or has recurred frequently, you should consult a doctor for proper examination and treatment.

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