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Dr Uzair
Dr Uzair, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 9577
Experience:  MBBS, FCPS (R) General Surgery. Years of experience in Emergency Medicine.
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Sudden development of a "rotten fruit" smell My Dad suddenly

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Sudden development of a nasty "rotten fruit" smell
My Dad suddenly started complaining of a bad smell. He first thought there is a decaying rotten fruit somewhere, but as the smell became more nasty, it appears that it is only his feeling. It gets better for a while after a shower, apparently it is in his nose... Nobody else can feel anything like that.
I must stress that my Dad had always had a sharper sense of smell since childhood, while the rest of us have just an ordinary one.
For avoidance of any doubt, there are no signs whatsoever of any dementia, nervous breakdown, etc.
If he changes his clothes, the new ones are clearly not smelly for him for a while, but after a couple of hours they become increasingly smelly (for him).
He suffers from hay-fever, which appears to be worse for the last 10 days (blocked nose, red eyes, sneezing).
All this "smell-thing" is going on approximately for the last 10 days (coincident?), and becoming worse. He started taking anti-thrush tablets from today, and is going to see his GP when it will be possible....
Any ideas?

Hi and thanks for the query.

There is a wide range of causes that comes to mind when Phantosmia (perception of smells that are not there) occurs.

The causes are central as well as peripheral.

They can be due to the blocked sinuses and nasal congestion from his hay fever. This can cause altered sense of smell and increasingly possible in someone who has hyperosmia (heightened sense of smell). Central causes such as seizures or temporal lobe problems, tumor of the olfactory nerve, transient ischemic attacks (mini strokes) etc. are all responsible.

He needs a comprehensive examination and a detailed evaluation - referral to the ENT doctor will be the best course of action.

Let me know if you have any queries.

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Best wishes.

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