Our sense of smell and taste plays a crucial role in our daily life. It enhances our enjoyment of food and introduces us to pleasant aromas. Problems with our sense of smell and taste are called olfactory taste disorders and can affect our enjoyment of life.
What are olfactory taste disorders?
Olfactory taste disorders are a type of chemosensory disorder where there is a disruption or alteration of your sense of taste because of an impairment in the olfactory system. Despite taste and smell being two distinct senses, they are closely interconnected. Most of the time, what we perceive as taste comes from our sense of smell. An issue with the olfactory can affect your ability to detect flavours and odours.
What are the common types of olfactory taste disorders?
These are the four common types of olfactory taste disorders you may experience:
When you have anosmia, you will experience a complete loss in your sense of smell. Factors that cause this smell disorder include nasal congestion, head trauma, or viral infections. According to experts in Singapore, 40% of anosmia cases are caused by viral infections, like the common cold or flu. This smell disorder can significantly impact your quality of life as you may begin to struggle to detect aromas, enjoy food, or perceive potential hazards
Ageusia is the total loss of the sense of taste and can happen by itself or with anosmia. You might be experiencing ageusia because of certain medications or damage to the taste buds or receptors. Having impaired taste sensations will make it hard for you to identify flavours, resulting in a loss of appetite.
Hyposmia is the partial loss of your sense of smell, ranging from mild to severe. Factors that can lead to this smell disorder include nasal congestion, sinusitis, nasal polyps, or certain medications. If you have hyposmia, you may have difficulty detecting or distinguishing between smells.
When you have a hard time tasting anything sweet, sour, bitter, or salty, this could be hypogeusia. Like other olfactory taste disorders, you may experience hypogeusia because of an infection or certain medications. With this disorder, your taste buds become less sensitive. This will lead to difficulty detecting the nuances of flavours and require stronger or more intense flavours to stimulate your taste sensation.
Treatment for olfactory taste disorders
If you recognise some of the descriptions above, we suggest you seek medical support and access a general physician. There are many reasons you may have lost your sense of taste and/or smell and there are experienced professionals here in Singapore that may help.
1. Treating the underlying condition
Often, your olfactory taste disorder could be a symptom of an underlying health condition, like sinusitis or respiratory infection .Both these conditions are common in Singapore and your general physician will conduct tests to determine what the underlying cause may be to have meant the loss of taste.
2. Medication adjustments
If you’re taking certain antibiotics, like amoxicillin or ciprofloxacin, or blood pressure medication, like amlodipine and enalapril, this can affect your sense of taste and smell. When it is affecting your overall quality of life, we advise you to seek support from your private doctor in Singapore about adjusting your medication.
3. Nutritional support
Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet is still important, even if you are experiencing impairment in your sense of smell or taste. You can work with a nutritionist from a medical clinic in Singapore to ensure you receive the right nutrients for your condition. Additionally, they will help you explore different textures and temperature variations to enhance your eating experience.
4. Surgical treatment
In some cases, when conservative treatment is not effective, you may be recommended surgical treatment. This is typically considered for those with structural abnormalities in their nose or sinuses, which can contribute to the olfactory taste disorder.
Consult a healthcare professional at Osler Health
As a medical clinic in Singapore, Osler Health has a reputation for supporting patients through personalised care. Our general physicians will examine your health needs to determine the underlying cause of your olfactory taste disorder and come up with a personalised treatment plan. Book a consultation with our healthcare professionals today.
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