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strange smells
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Catspaw57 posted:
I've recently noticed when at work or at home, I smell odors that aren't there. Sounds crazy but I don't understand where it's coming from. It's either the smell of a fireplace (not burning), the old smokey smell, or the smell of cigarettes. I've never been a smoker.... husband isn't either. I work at an animal hospital (no smoking, oxygen in use) and these are the 2 places I seem to notice it more. I start sneezing and eyes burn. Goes on for a few days then disappears. I don't even know how to search for a topic on this. Can anyone shed some light on this???
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kate1156 responded:
Let me assure you, you are not crazy. Dr. Moser can address this more thoroughly, but believe it or not, there is actually a name for what you're experiencing but I can't remember what it is called. Dr. Moser will probably respond with a link to a website for you to check it out. I too, at times experience the same smells. It's a strange phenomenon and not much is known about it. Wouldn't it be nice to be smelling something nicer than smoke. What's up with that.???.....lol

Kate
 
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Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
You work in an animal hospital and notice "strange smells"? Most of my patients are children and babies now, and I sure smell some odd things too! However, there can be a medical explanation for this....

These are called "Phantom Smells" or phantosmia, and can have a variety of sources including neurological disorders, such as brain tumors, migraines, or epilepsy....or something as simple as sinusitis. Please don't start thinking you have a brain tumor, but it would be advisable for you to consult a neurologist to see if there is a reason for this possible olfactory hallucination.
 
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Catspaw57 responded:
thanks for reassurance I'm not crazy. I just didn't know which direction to go as far as "doctoring". ENT, neurology, psych?? Dr. Moser did respond. Am going to see my neurologist next month (I have chronic migraines (2-3-4 a month) so will approach her on that subject. Thanks again.....

Tammy
 
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Catspaw57 responded:
thank you for your response. I do suffer from migraines and in fact am going to my neurologist in February. I've never had these smells before and it's driving me crazy even though I don't have it all the time. Usually hits in the late afternoon and into the evening. thank you again for pointing me in the right direction. WebMD is great!

Tammy
 
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gaby362 responded:
Hi there. I have suffered from this disorder for 15 years now. I just recently found out what it was; Phantosmia. I had done numerous searches in the past and never found anything, NO doctor could help me (I had every test under the sun, including a very painful sphenoidal EEG), so I eventually gave up. Just a few months ago, I decided to try once more. Low and behold, I found something!!! First off, I finally knew the name of my condition; I wasn't crazy; I wasn't the only person on earth with this! It was such a huge relief! I found a doctor that specializes in phantosmia that is located in Chicago, WI. I am planing to see him soon. Very excited. To give you a background of my syptoms, it began in 1995 after a pretty bad car accident. I should be dead, but there was an angel watching over me. No broken bones, no bleeding, no anything............except what I began calling "my smell". It began only in my right nostril. I can't even explain the odor, but it was putrid. I would get it (and still do) every day at least 10 times. I couldn't eat, drink or do anything while I had this "smell". It was dibilitating. It would last for hours sometimes. I was so fed up, I just started bawling one day (it was Thanksgiving). Shortly after the crying, the "smell" went away. A couple of weeks later, I noticed that gagging made it go away. I tried both of these options when I got the odor, but they were never full proof. And you cant really do any of that in public. About 3 years after the first episode, the phantosmia showed up in my left nostril and was a completely different, and worse smell, than the right. As time went on, I figured out how to get rid of the smell. Don't remember how I stumbled on this, but it works for me. I have to bend WAY down, grab my ankles and put my head between my legs. While bent in this position, I "push" really hard with the back of my throat and, well, basically grunt and push and grunt until it goes away. Sometimes all I have to do is bend over for a few seconds and it's gone. Other times it's much harder and I have to push so hard I'm dizzy. The results of this have not been so great. I have ended up with many permanent broken blood vessles on my chest, neck and face. Also, at one point it was so bad, I was down trying to rid the smell most of the day several days in a row. This caused my left eye to bleed beneath the outter layer and both eyes hurt and felt like they were going to explode. Seems like it wouldn't make sense to do all these things, but the smell perception I receive when my Phantosmia occurs, is worse than those two outsomes for me. I hope this gave you a some insight into this little known dissorder. If you have any questions, feel free to respond. It's great knowing I'm not the only one. ~ Marie
 
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nikalou replied to gaby362's response:
am experiencing phantosmia - 3 years after this post, did the doctor in Chicago help you?
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to nikalou's response:
This is not a common condition. I hope that the original poster provides you with some updated information. Unfortunately, he/she will not be able to post the NAME of the doctor in Chicago.

If you do live in large metro area with a university-based medical center, this would be a place to be evaluated. This is not an easy medical condition to manage......
 
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cpl1992 replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Interesting. I'm an RN, BSN and work in clinical research managing study protocols for a cardiology practice. Over the last few days I have noticed the strong smell of smoke in my office although this is a non-smoking facility and I quit smoking over 10 yrs ago. Immediately I became concerned with this having a neurological source so I found your site. I was rear ended last year and did suffer some cervical spine issues but it's been manageable with valium and NSAIDs. Of course a tumor is a frightening possibility. I think I will ask my PCP for a neurology consult just to be safe. Glad to see I'm not imagining this phenomenon!
 
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Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to cpl1992's response:
A neurologist will often dismiss a brain tumor as a possible cause phantom smells, so you may have to educate him/her. Good luck.
 
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Mobystar replied to cpl1992's response:
I also experience a smoky smell from time to time. Sometimes more metallic like very old smoke, but sometimes like a full ashtray. I'm a reformed smoker and thought this made me extra sensitive; my husband wanted me to search this phenomenon because of my condition. Last year I was diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia and about 20 years ago I had an accident whereby a car drove into the rear wheel of my push-bike launching me into the air, I landed flat on my face. I didn't break a bone but couldn't open my eyes for days. My nose bone is still getting wider every year (sunglasses confirm this change). I had an MRI to confirm the diagnosis of Trigeminal neuralgia and no tumour was found. Next time I visit my neurologist I will mention I smell smells that aren't actually real, let's see what he has got to say. Thankfully I'm not mad like my husband lovingly likes to suggest.
 
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Talyn04 replied to Mobystar's response:
I'm having a similar issue. I've had a bad cold for nearly a week, and just last night I began smelling a constant cigarette ashtray smell. Like someone literally shoved an ashtray up my nose.

It's important to note that I don't get sick often, and I don't even remember the last time I've even had a sinus infection. So it's a little unsettling since I'm a pretty healthy person that's getting this phantom smell.

Also important to note that I'm looking for good home remedies, I'm an unemployed student with no insurance or really any money for doctor stuff. So anything to help this smell go away as cheaply as possible would be ideal.

Thanks.
 
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Tigger615 replied to Rod_Moser_PA_PhD's response:
Hi, I just found this board...obviously...

I have a confirmed & thought to be benign brain tumor on my right Trigeminal nerve (at the intersection of 2&3 & resting on my right carotid artery - I believe is how they put it - which they said makes it basically inoperable unless they absolutely had no choice) that has been stable in size for nearly 2 years now. I have smelled the cigarette smoke thing (have never smoked in my life nor has my husband) for quite some time (since we moved into our current home in 1999); however, about 3 weeks ago I started receiving a new smell.....a very super sweet floral smell; it lasts different lengths of time, has no specific location, nor can I seem to find a specific trigger. I guess my question is; should I move up the date of my next MRI or are they just going to think I'm being a paranoid hypochondriac?
 
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mt2013 replied to Tigger615's response:
Hi Tigger615,


The only thing I have heard of that is connected to a sweet floral smell is epilepsy. But I'm guessing you would probably know if you had that. It's better to tell the doctors I think I'm shocked to hear you have a brain tumor. so the doctors think this is why you have phantosmia?

I too suffer from phantosmia. I am not formally diagnosed, because my ENT doc had no idea what I was talking about. But I know what I have. I usually smell the smoke/putrid smell most of the time, but from time to time I smell a sickeningly sweet smell too.

How do you deal with your phantosmia? You have had this disorder for such a long time. I will tell you what I do and maybe we can share notes.

My only remedy, though it lasts only briefly, is the netipot rinse. Specifically the bottle rinse. I hate the actual pot! I have to use the rinse anywhere from 2-20 times a day to make the smell go away. I irrigate my nose and then I blow my nose with my head right side up and then upside down. I repeat as much as necessary. Then after I am done this I cough, to the point of gagging, with my head upside down. This action seems to keep the smell away for a few hours.

I have one symptom, however, that does not seem to match anyone else's. I feel like I can feel something drop down in the back of my throat with the smell comes on. It's a subtle feeling, but it's there. Also, sometimes I get a whiff of the offending smell briefly before it even sets in. I also can test if I the smell will come on by holding my nose and blowing forward. If I can smell the smell when doing this, then I know I have to use the netipot rinse asap.

Sorry for the lengthy response. I really have no one to talk to about this. It's hard for the people around me to understand, because they can't experience it for themselves.
 
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Tigger615 replied to mt2013's response:
No, the cigarette smell & the brain tumor are not related for sure; I've only had the brain tumor for just over 2 years now approximately; we are unsure exactly as it was found by accident looking for something else but while following with MRIs learned it doubled in a 6 month period SO, did a week of radiation with the Cyber-Knife (VERY cool technology that I am blessed to have available to me) & now it is monitored. We have been doing 6 month intervals so I suppose waiting until the next one is no big deal, but that was supposed to be my last 6 month one as the radiation halted the growth (YAY!) & I'd get to go to 1yr after that for a while a couple years, then....etc. I was checking yesterday & my next one is supposed to be some time next month. If this new sweet smell has potential to be something though... Guess I need to make some calls & make sure it's scheduled for sure though.....

Regarding remedies; the cigarette smell doesn't last that long & is not that strong & I'm not quite sure what to make of the sweet smell yet although I'm going to look into what you mentioned. I will keep your solutions in mind though should I need to use them, thanks for the info.

I have a great support system, but, as you say, it's hard to make people understand who haven't experienced what you are trying to describe. I think they think I'm nutts.


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