1392168 tn?1280074408

Smelling things that are not there.

Hello everyone,

Lately I have been noticing that I smell things that are not there. No one around me can smell them, so I assume they are not at least.

My nose still works fine, I smell BBQs when outside, I smell polishes when we use them, I smell food we cook. Sometimes, it feels blocked, but not through gunge, just physically blocked, far back.

The smells are indescribable. Some I describe as oil, some just fumes, some just acut and not pleasant. I do not smell them all the time, either, but mostly when I am leaning up from writing/typing, and mostly always when I am around the computer, not anywhere else that I remember.

I am posting because a month or so ago it got so bad I actually felt as if I were choking on cigerette smoke.

I have heard this can be indictive of a brain tumour or other brain problem, which is scary.

I've also heard it can be stress, sensory problems, sinus problems, epilepsy, or emotion memory.  I do suffer from anxiety and get stressed very easily. I am also on Levothyroxine for an underactive thyroid.

Please help or tell me if you have had the same?

Thank you.
6 Responses
1745492 tn?1320198340
I have heard of this happening.  Although I've never experienced it personally, I've researched it.  They are called phantosmia.  They can be caused by a simple sinus problem, like you said.  Most likely, this is your problem.

However, other fairly common causes are brain injury and seizures originating from the temporal lobes.  Since you didn't mention any injury, that leaves seizures.  However, most people only have this symptoms as a warning to a bigger seizure.  Do you experience these smells and then have periods of memory lapse and confusion afterwards?  That would indicate a complex partial seizure.  This is not so bad as most complex partial seizures are easily treated.

Unfortunately, these episodes have also been seen in people with other neurological disorders, like schizophrenia or Alzheimer's disease.  Both of these disorders can cause hallucinations.  You also mentioned you have anxiety.  These disorders are the scariest to think about along with a tumor.  Although less likely, they are still a possibility.  

I would see a specialist.  Even though these could be nothing, they could in fact be a sign of something more serious.  Hope this helps!  
Avatar universal
Sythroid or Levothyroxine can cause unusual body odors and stress, sleeplessness, etc.  
Smelling certain odors that are not there can be associated with a neurolgical problem but not always.  Try a CAT scan or a MRI to determine if it is neurological.
Avatar universal
I have heard that some smells can be a warning sign of a migraine.
13167 tn?1327194124
In a quick google search,  searching on "thyroid" and "olfactory hallucinations",  I turned up numerous hits that thyroid medication - more likely large fluxuations in thyroid hormone - cause visual and olfactory (smell) hallucinations.
1392168 tn?1280074408
Oh wow. I don't think I've had any visible hollucinations, but thank you for that information!
Avatar universal
I've been having a musty or moldy smell that no one else smells. It seems to be in my nose or sinuses because I smell it wherever I go... a hotel room, the car, at home. It seems to be inside me, not coming from actual mold or musty air in the room. I don't have musty breath or any odor coming from my body.

I do have a thyroid disorder—had one lobe of the thyroid removed years ago and I take a bioidentical thyroid supplement now. Interesting that it could be the thyroid hormones fluctuating. But I recently read a post that it could be a liver problem... musty smell particularly. I found that while reading about the Flip Turn Sinus post by "friggy" on this site.
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