Loss of Taste and Smell

Common Cold

Something We Take for Granted Until It Is Gone

Since I have suffered with seasonal allergies for most of my life, I didn’t give it a second thought when I became more congested. It was a few days after my husband’s attack of kidney stones, so I didn't want to complain about it.

It didn't take long to realize that I had a summer cold. The cold continued to get worse. First starting with my head feeling head-achy and stuffed up. Then working its way into my lungs, giving me those deep coughs that continued on when I wanted them to stop. This was the first cold I have had in two years. I had a few days where I felt like the living dead. Sure, I used my cold remedy and it did seem to help. But some things need to take their course.

With my allergies, my sense of taste may not be as strong as someone without allergies. This might explain my love of spicy foods. I like everything hotter and spicier than the rest of the family. But maybe my increase of spices tastes about the same to someone who uses less spice that doesn't have allergies.

Living with allergies my sense of smell is already off. Many odors, I fell to detect. While on the other hand, all perfume smells are heightened with spring and summer being the worse time.

But this is nothing compared to what have had to I experienced for several days with this cold. Complete loss of taste and smell. Sure with a cold, we lose part of this. Never have I lost it completely.

I could have eaten food that I totally detest. It didn’t matter. I could only feel the texture of my food. Needless to say, there were no cravings for chocolate. Perhaps a loss of taste is not such a bad thing if one wants to diet.

Knowing that this would eventually come back, I can only imagine what it is like for someone to lose these senses for life.

Thursday, July 29, 2010, after we visited the urologist and my husband was given a list to follow to help avoid kidney stones in the future, we went out to lunch. The lunch was uneventful to me. We both ordered the grand slam. I could feel the texture of the eggs, bacon and hash browns, but there was no taste to them. My ice tea could have been plain water. I brought home the pancakes for later.

Dinner time came. I heated up the pancakes in the microwave along with 100% maple syrup. I could smell the sweet sugary aroma of the syrup and pancakes. Took one bite and sank in pure ecstasy. This was better than sex! Savoring each bite of this sweet enjoyment and realizing how much I had missed my sense of taste and smell.

It was a horrible time not being able to taste or smell anything. I am glad to be back to my senses...so to speak.

Definitions and Causes of the Loss of Taste and Smell

Ageusia: Complete loss of one's ability to taste

Hypogeusia: Partial loss of one's ability to taste

Dusgeusia: Condition were one's tastes abnormal phantom tastes

Anosmia: Complete loss of one's ability to smell

Hyposmia: Partial loss of one's ability to smell

Parosmia: Condition were one's sense of smell is distorted or they smell phantom odors

What can lead to a lost of taste and smell?

As we age we gradually lose our ability to smell aromas.

Congestion or a blocked nose as in allergies or a cold.

Certain medications

Tooth decay or poor dental hygiene

Cigarette smoking

Head or facial injury

Alzheimer's disease

Parkinson's disease


(Be sure to read the first two hubs below (course you can read all of the hubs), these two are follow-up and tie in hubs.)

Need You Tonight by the INXS

Could The Lost of Taste and Smell Lead to Hutchence's Death?

Michael Hutchence (1960 – 1997), was the lead singer for the rock band INXS. In 1980, the band released their first album, the self-titled "INXS". They were most popular during the 1980s but continued to perform in the 1990s. “I need you tonight” is only of my favorite songs from INXs.

In 1992, Michael Hutchence suffered a blow to the head causing him to lose his sense of smell and partial sense of taste.

In 1997, he was found dead. It was recorded that he had hung himself. It was later speculated that he was taking part in Breath-Control Play (BCP). Taking the oxygen from the head and neck to stimulate the pleasure of the lower extremities.

Why would he want to take his own life? After all, Hutchence just got married and moved into a new home.

Michael Hutchence had been taking medication for depression, believed to me due to his anosima and ageusia. Author Rachel Herz writes about this in her book ‘The Scent of Desire’ (Found above). It's clinically documented that acquired anosmia often leads to anxiety and depression.

The copyright to this article is owned by Sandy Mertens (sandyspider).Content is original and may not be used without permission from Sandyspider. (S. Mertens)

© 2010 Sandy Mertens

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Comments 34 comments

WhiteOak 6 years ago

That is really interesting about the loss of taste/smell. I am writing a chapter for someone about aromatherapy and one of the things I wrote about is how the smells affects our Limbic System in our brains. Each smell triggers a memory of something and is stored in the limbic system. And all of this causes reactions with our moods. Interesting huh?


Susan52 profile image

Susan52 6 years ago

I found out from a friend that a poor diet can also alter sense of taste and smell. She eats vegan now and her sense of smell, which she was missing for a long time, has now returned.


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

Sandy, I have a history of chronic sinus infections and a pretty poor sense of smell and some loss of taste. I hate it and the doctors have no answers either. I was a vegetarian for a while and things were improving so maybe that is the answer. Thanks for a great hub and the information about Michael Hutchence was interested although what a sad ending to his life


mulberry1 profile image

mulberry1 6 years ago

Interesting. I know we tend to lose taste as well as smell as we age. That's one of several reasons why some older people have trouble maintaining weight and good nutrition.


Darlene Sabella profile image

Darlene Sabella 6 years ago from Hello, my name is Toast and Jam, I live in the forest with my dog named Sam ...

This is an extremely interesting hub, I never thought about this much, however I do have a poor diet because I love sweets and my sense of smell and taste are not as strong...rate up and thanks my friend...


janices7 profile image

janices7 6 years ago

Sandy - I woke up 3 days ago with the summer cold you describe ....actually felt like I was reading my own journal on this hub. I have completely lost my sense of taste too. Ate a plate of chocolate chip pancakes covered in maple syrup a few days ago and couldn't even taste the sweet at all. I have a killer sweet tooth so this entire thing has just been a weird experience for me. Here's to hoping I start craving (and tasting) chocolate again soon:) Cheers!

P.S. And what is up with a SUMMER cold anyway!!!!


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA Author

WhiteOak, that is interesting what you are writing about.

Susan52, Pamela99, mulberry1, Darlene, Yes it is true that poor diet, age (I read after the age of 30 we start losing it)and allergies, all effect are sense of taste and smell.

Janices7, I see you can relate too. Summer colds have got to be the worst. I didn't have any food cravings. So I think this would be a good diet tool. :) BTW, my cold is still there but not so bad.


Angel 6 years ago

Great hub, Sandy. I hate summer colds. I really think they are worse. I never thought about it, but I do lose smell sensations with a cold or with alergies.


zzron profile image

zzron 6 years ago from Houston, TX.

Luckily I haven't had that problem lately. Good info, thanks Sandy.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 6 years ago from Central Oregon

From a friend that had this happen to her dad, surprisingly, the syndrome myasthenia gravis can also present/manifest with these symptoms. That was his only symptom for years and then they finally figured out he had it!


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA Author

Thanks for your comments, Angel, zzron and akirchner.

akirchner, that is interesting to know. I'm sorry that your dad has this disease.


cfleming1 profile image

cfleming1 6 years ago from USA

Thanks for the Hub Sandy.

I never really thought about how the loss of taste or smell might affect you long-term. I've always had allergies and always had times when food didn't seem to have much flavor. I think that's why I almost always have to have something crunchy with meals - interesting.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA Author

cfleming1, I like crunchy too with meals. Maybe this is why.


CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

It must be horrible to live without a sense of smell or taste, so I'm glad that you recovered your two senses Sandyspider.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA Author

CMHypno, now if I can recover my other senses? :)


pmccray profile image

pmccray 6 years ago from Utah

Nothing worse than a summer cold or suffering with allergies. Great hub, hope you feel better.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA Author

Thanks pmccray. There is a tiny bit of a cold that just doesn't want to leave. But it is livable.


boxxies profile image

boxxies 6 years ago

I lost almost all my sense of smell and taste a few years ago.

It's very "unfun" let me tell you.

Marie/Poutine


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA Author

boxxies, I agree. The moment it returned for me, it was pure heaven.


Wendy Krick profile image

Wendy Krick 6 years ago from Maryland

I suffer from allergies too. I get a lot of relief with a neti pot. As for a cold I use alka-selzer plus for cold. It works the best. I hate it when I can't taste. Great hub, Sandy


ThePartyAnimal profile image

ThePartyAnimal 6 years ago

Wow Sandy - this is a Great Hub - I have some of those symptoms, but mine is mainly due to nasal congestion and swollen turbinates in my nose.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA Author

Thanks Wendy and PartyAnimal.


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 6 years ago from US

I have had medicine effect me that way too and be weeks getting normal. And did I lose a pound? NO!


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA Author

Pollyannalana, though food had to pleasure for me at the time and I do think I ate less, not a pound lost for me either. Life isn't fair. :)


travel_man1971 profile image

travel_man1971 6 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

I experienced that, too. Being a cook, you have to taste this and that and voila...my taste buds got mixed up and in just a second I felt that I cannot even tell the difference between salt and sugar. Complains from the crew followed. Our medical officer told me that maybe I'm having colds and the stabs of sinusitis. His hunch was true.


nancy_30 profile image

nancy_30 6 years ago from Georgia

Great hub. I love the taste and smell of foods. I couldn't imagine not being able to smell and taste things. It would be awful.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA Author

Correction above, 'food had no pleasure for me'.

travel_main1971, that would be terrible for something like this to happen for a cook.

nancy_30, you are so right!


katyzzz profile image

katyzzz 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

Great hub, it makes me feel so happy that I have such a good taste and smell sense. I used to have allergies which lead to some very painful bouts of sinusitis.

I've been almost entirely free of it since having my thyroid gland removed, but doctors are just not interested in that one, more's the pity.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 5 years ago from Wisconsin, USA Author

Katyzz, I had no idea the the thyroid could play a part too.


D.Virtual.Doctor profile image

D.Virtual.Doctor 5 years ago from Europe

Interesting and well informing. I learnt a lot from this hud and I think I need to do more search on this. One funny part I love the most is this one "Took one bite and sank in pure ecstasy. This was better than sex! Savoring each bite of this sweet enjoyment and realizing how much I had missed my sense of taste and smell". Excellent hub!

D.Virtual.Doctor


Mentalist acer profile image

Mentalist acer 5 years ago from A Voice in your Mind!

I've been aware of the debilitating mental effect of no taste and smell and was moved by this and this hub.;)


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 5 years ago from Wisconsin, USA Author

Glad it moved you.


tamron profile image

tamron 4 years ago

I am sick right now not only can I not taste food but I also have a nasty taste in my mouth. No matter how much I rinse and scrub my mouth out that nasty taste won't go away.

I also have a problem with allergies and can't smell but my nose is sensitive to perfumes and cleaning solutitions.

Nice to see ya on hubpages! Vote up! Ping Ya


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 4 years ago from Wisconsin, USA Author

Thanks for commenting tamron.

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