What to know

What is Phantosmia (Phantom Smell) and Why Does It Happen?

phantosmia or phantom smell is when your brain tricks you into smelling scents and odors

People sometimes have phantom smell (phantosmia) and pick up scents that aren’t there, why and how?

Have you ever just been about your own business and all of a sudden smell something that isn’t there. Phantosmia is when you smell and imaginary odor, or olfactory hallucination.

While it is not so bad to smell a nice scent, even if its source is your brain. But when you smell something foul or unpleasant, phantosmia can be quite annoying.

In most cases, people have short episodes of phantom smell that go away within hours, days, or a week. But in some cases the smells persists, and it could mean many things.

It could something less serious, like smoking and dental problems, or something possibly life threatening, like nasal infections and cancer.

Less commonly, the cause of phantosmia is either nerve cells sending abnormal smell signals to the brain, or a problem with the brain itself.

Phantom smell might also be a sign of a disease affecting the nervous system, such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, or even a stroke.

If such a phenomenon happens to you and you keep on smelling something that you haven’t been around, consult you ear, nose and throat specialist as soon as possible.

After a few tests, doctors can pinpoint the cause of the phantosmia, and hopefully cure both.

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