If you have anosmia, you have lost some or all of your sense of smell. This makes it hard for you to enjoy the taste of foods. There are several causes of anosmia.

Cold or Flu Causes

One type of anosmia is caused by a cold, flu or other infection. These can swell the mucous membranes in your nose. This type of anosmia generally goes away on its own.

Air Flow Causes

Another cause is from having the normal air flow in your nose blocked. This may happen after an injury. A polyp, growth, or tumor may cause a block. Or, the passages in your nose may be shaped incorrectly. This stops smells from reaching the nerves in your nose that sense them. Anosmia from these causes usually goes away when the problem is fixed.

Nerve and Brain Causes

Loss of smell can also be linked to problems with the nerves that send signals from your nose to your brain. Or, it can be a problem with your brain itself. Tumors, aging, or many other conditions such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease can damage these nerves or brain cells. This type of anosmia is often permanent.


Your anosmia may be sudden, or it may be so gradual you don't notice it happening. You may have a hard time tasting foods. And, you may lose interest in eating.


Treatment options depend on the cause of your anosmia. For some people, the condition goes away on its own or after a medical problem is fixed. Your healthcare provider can create a plan that is right for you.