Symptoms and causes

Symptoms and causes


You may experience various symptoms such as:

  • complete loss of the sense of smell
  • reduced sense of smell
  • perceiving smells as foul odours
  • perceiving smells that are not there
  • changes in the sense of taste


The loss of smell can be caused by the following:

  • Swelling or congestion in the nose itself, which prevents the smell from reaching the olfactory fibres (e.g. due to common cold, nasal congestion, nasal polyps, sinusitis and a benign or malignant tumour in the nose).
  • Damage to the nerve fibres themselves: after a viral infection (e.g. Covid-19), a benign or malignant brain tumour, smoking, certain medication, an accident, poor position during birth and the onset of dementia.

Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosis and treatment


The diagnosis is made based on a clinical exam with a nasal endoscopy, smell testing and a CT and/or MRI scan.


Given that there are various causes for the loss of smell, your physician will prepare a tailored and individual treatment plan for you. A cortisone nasal spray and/or smell training are customary treatments.

Treatment centres and specialisations

Treatment centres and specialisations
Ear, nose, and throat diseases (ENT)

Latest publication date: 29/08/2023
Supervising author: Dr. Vermeiren Judith