I mentioned this to my doctor about 4 months ago. He said he wanted to explore this further in the future. I'd like to check back with him but i'm out of the insurance loop at this time. So i'm trying to find out how rare this ailment is. And what info is out there.
I can be anywhere. I smell, what to me is cigarette smoke. Nobody else senses this. I'm 40lbs over weight, blood pressure is moderate to high, and I use about 4 to 5 advil a day for joint and foot pain. I'm relatively active. And I had to have cataract surgery one year ago. Oh and I have heartburn more than 2 days a week.
Any ideas what this is called? Where can I go to do more research? My searches are too general and I can't sift through all that info for one possible tidbit. Help please.
About a month ago, I began to smell smoke all the time throughout the day. I smell it right now. Sometimes it feels as if my eyes are stinging or are about to water like when you are in a smoky place. However, there is no smoke. I tell my wife about it every once in a while. I've told my mother and father about it.
I smell it at home in all rooms. I smell it outside at home. I smell it at the gym. I smell it at work which is 25 miles away on the other side of some hills. I smell it by the beach. I smell it when I eat. This has never happened to me before in my life. I am 40. I am in great shape. I have never smoked, never taken non-prescription drugs. I do not have any diseases that I know of. I workout four times a week.
This began about a month ago. I have been having a bad time with my allergies since january. I was very sick for about a month in late january to late february. I got a bloody bad sinus infection that kept receding and coming back because I kept getting one cold or virus after another (five in all!) over a period of six weeks. Finally, I went to the doctor in early march and got some antibiotics for what he called "a very bad sinus infection." I took a z-pac and it knocked it out almost immediately. Shortly after I was well, I began to smell smoke.
When I asked others if they smelled it, they said that they did not. This has concerned me, but I have been hoping it would go away. Tonight, my wife was very close to my nostrils when I was breathing out and she reacted very surprised and said that she smelled smoke coming out of my nose. She was shocked. She smells it anytime she is close to me. She is worried. She found this forum and I joined because I am becoming more concerned that it will not go away and that there is something wrong.
I do not have bronchitis. I am wondering if maybe there is a secondary fungus or mold infection in my sinuses that is causing the smell. Now, at least, I know it is not just a condition that is confined to my nervous system, that I just think I smell smoke. Since my wife smells it coming out of my nostrils, something physical is causing it.
You may be experiencing phantosmia or "phantom smell," also called "olfactory hallucination" and defined as smelling something that simply isn't there.
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In August 2009, The New York Times published an article by a woman who smelled dirt all the time, which she at first attributed to her potted plants until she found that the smell followed her where ever she went, even when no dirt or potted plants were nearby. Once she learned that she suffered from phantosmia, she had a round of medical tests, including "an M.R.I. of my brain (ruling out a tumor), a CT scan of my sinuses (to check for infection), and finally an EEG," because olfactory hallucinations can occur with seizure disorders. She received a clean bill of health and about a year later realized that the smell was gone. But then the smell of burnt chili replaced the smell of dirt eventually to be replaced by the smell of lavender.
Phantosmia can be associated with certain illnesses - in addition to epilepsy, it has been seen in persons who eventually develop Parkinson's and in others with brain tumors. And it may occur in patients suffering from depression or schizophrenia and, sometimes, in those with Alzheimer's disease. But just because phantosmia happens in individuals with these disorders doesn't mean that all cases are related to serious illness. From what I've read, I understand that phantosmia often arises because of a loss of some of the ability to smell normally. The New York Times article quoted Donald Leopold, M.D., chairman of the department of otolaryngology at the University of Nebraska, who has been studying olfactory disorders for 30 years. According to Dr. Leopold, with impairment of the ability to smell, the brain overcompensates by offering up odors, usually disagreeable ones. When this happens, certain neurons, which previously had blocked such odors, turn off.
The good news is that phantosmia often disappears without treatment. You might want to consult an ear, nose and throat specialist with experience in treating distortions in smell. Available treatments include nasal saline drops, antidepressants, antiseizure medications, and sedatives. If all else fails and patients can no longer deal with the unwelcome smell, surgery to sever a portion of olfactory connections can help resolve the problem.
don't worry, see your doctor for a referral for an ENT. Go to shoppers drug mart,buy a package saline for flushing your nasal passages. you might have a infection, or inflammation in your nose or sinus's,google natural remedies for inflammation. But it also could be you just might have 'PHANTSOMIA'( GOOGLE IT)If you have that, it will go away, in time. MAXIMUS15
i get this, it can be a slight cold,any infection like ear nose and throat,sinuses (if thats how u spell it)
now my reason for it is fear, becuase i have a baby and always think i can smell it and go around checking the house lol, i wouldnt worry if it becomes really bad, see a doctor as it can be sighn of a stroke. but i wouldnt say that was the case.see if you can get some decongestive nose spray, that helps me
I too am experiencing this "smoke smell". Come to think of it, I too have been having allergy issues even though my Alergist said I am allergic to nothing. I also have been having the worst migraines with this. Like you, no one smells the smoke but me. It is Uosetting me and am not sure which doctor to seek help from.
I have been smelling this smoky cigarette odor for the last week, I mentioned it to my doctor the other day and he completely brushed it off like I was imagining things. I had been sick with a cough and sore throat for a few weeks and now this odor thing. S :?: :?: ometimes it feels like my eyes are burning also. Its really starting to bother me to the point where I cannot sleep at night due to the horrible smell. Does anyone else have the same problem or a solution?, I appreciate your comments or suggestions
The odors I've experienced are due to a prolonged sinus infection. At first, I was treated for a bacterial infection with antibiotics, and now I'm being treated for a fungal infection with an anti-fungal medication. It appears to be working. In my case, you don't necessarily have to see a lot of nasal discharge etc. to actually have an ongoing infection. I would suggest seeing your general practitioner first. I'm being treated by an ENT doctor since the infection has lasted for many, many months.
IJUST FINISHED MY PRESRIPTION OF ANTIBIOTICS, AND THAT WASN'T THE PROBLEM (SINUS INFECTION)MY E.N.T. HAS ME ON SALINE FLUSH AND LIQUID STERIOD, PLUS I'M GETTING A M.R.I.WHAT YOU PROBABLY HAVE IS PHANTOSMIA, JUST LIKE THE REST OF US. THE GOOD NEWS IS IT'LL PROBABLY GO AWAY, BUT TAKES TIME.I KNOW HOW YA FEEL BRO, BEEN DRIVING ME NUTS TOO. HANG IN THERE , GO THROUGH ALL THE PROCEEDURES I JUST SAID,ALSO START EATING FOODS THAT ARE GOOD FOR INFLAMMATION,(BECUASE THATS PROBABLY WHATS CAUSING THE SMELL- INFLAMMATION)AND START TAKING - GINGER, TUMERIC,VIT-E, WHITE WILLOW..ETC.GOOGLE FOODS AND HERBS THAT ARE FOR INFLAMMATION. GIL
I have been smelling smoke for several months and thought it was something in the environment like a neighbor smoking outside. It isnt. I began to joke w/friends about it because no one else smells it. Then I decided to see if anyone else was experiencing this weird thing. Was I shocked to find this forum.
So what is going on? Does anyone know for sure?
It seems lots of us have a history of sinus, bronchitis and respiratory problems. How about brain disorders? Anyone checked it out. I am smelling the smoke as I write this.
I am going to call a doctor but expect to be patronized.
It was a total fluke to do a search on this subject & I can't believe that there are others experiencing the same thing & it is on a message board. I first thought that maybe I was smelling something in the air, then maybe something was wrong with me. Could I smell disease? I smell it right now & my eyes burn as if someone is smoking outside & it is filtering inside. Nobody in my family smokes. I was'nt sure if it was a cigarette smell as it did not have that stinky flair only smokey. The last time it occurred which was a few months ago, I did not have the burning eyes. I can cover my mouth & nose & not smell it. It seems as if it is in the air constantly. Mostly at my house though & nobody else smells it. Since this is occuring again within the last 2 weeks or so & more constant, I thought that it must be environmental as my eyes are now burning along with the smell. Call me crazy, but I am beginning to wonder if it is a spiritual reality thing. Got any better ideas? :?: any thoughts or answers pleeeeeze!
I keep smelling cigarette smoke too, nobody around me is smoking. I get fairly painful headaches at least once a week to. The headaches i've always had but the smoke thing is new and I dunno what the heck is going on. Anyone solve this?
Ok, this is really weird. I am also not sure if the smell is cigarettes, but it is definitely a burning smell and my eyes also sting. The smell for me does not appear to be around me or in the room, but actually inside my nose! I have a history of chronic, unexplained cough (many years) and it has been worse since this smell started (about 3 days ago). I had not even considered calling a doctor and only this morning entertained the idea that maybe it was the "symtom" of something. I googled "burning smell in my nose" and ended up here. It was the only thing that matched - but does it ever! Please notify me if anyone out there finds out what it is!! Thanks!
I too smell smoke and no one is smoking. It started about 8 months ago and I noticed it at work and thought someone was smoking. But it is a smoke free building. People were making fun of me-saying I had a tumor on my olfactory nerve. My doctor just blows it off-looks at me like I am crazy. I have not had any history of allergies. I have never smoked. No one in my family smokes. It went away for a two months and now it has come back. I smell it at home, work, church. It is like I am in a room with people smoking and I can't catch my breath sometimes it is so strong. I thought I was crazy until my husband found this site. I a healthy, exercise and dont' usually take medications.
At least I know I am not crazy or if I am then I am not alone.
Hello friends. I, too have been smelling cigarette smoke for about a week now. Neither i, nor my husband or children ever smoke. Does anyone have an answer to this? My eyes are starting to burn now, too.
hello friends. I, too have been smelling cigarette smoke for about a week now. Neither i, nor my husband or children ever smoke. Does anyone have an answer to this? My eyes are starting to burn now, too.
I thought I was the only one who had this problem. I have had chronic sinusitis and had sinus surgery that now shows on ct scan that my sinusitis is cleared up for the most part. I seem to smell this smoke or musty smell often and it seems to even get worse when the air conditioning and or heating is running in the house. I have this off and on many times a month. It will seem to receed and then appear out of nowhere. My eyes burn and I can't get the smell put of my nose. My wife never smells anything and it's driving me crazy. It also causes headaches and makes me tired as well. I don't know if it's allergic or what. I have tried everything....I had sinus surgery that cleared and opened my sinuses, i've taken about every antibiotic for sinus stuff, clairitin, flonase, saline wash, irrigation and nothing seems to work. We even use the high particulate allergen filters in our furnace and air conditioning unit. I even bought a oreck air filter for the beedroom and that has really done nothing to help this problem. I am going crazy over this as it is very disrupting to my life. I would appreciate any and all info someone has about this problem.
I can't believe I found this thread. I've been looking for some evidence that other people suffer from this problem, and this is the first thing i've found. It's my husband who has it. It started a couple of years ago, after years of chronic and severe sinus problems. He would be exposed to cigarette smoke and then would smell it for days afterwards. He couldn't sleep because it felt like he was sleeping in a smoke-filled room. After the problem started, we moved to ankara, turkey for my work. It's very polluted there (they burn coal for heat), and during the winter, it was so bad for him with this smoke smell that we eventually had to leave and come home to the states. We now live in a small town area in a county with a strict no-smoking law, and it's much better for him, but he still has the problem. I can't cook in the house because the smell of cooking oil or meat causes the problem, and we can't go to restaurants for the same reason.
He's been to several ents, all of whom have said they've never heard of the problem and there's nothing they can do. He has tried one round of antibiotics, but now that we've found this thread, he thinks he'll ask his doctor to try that again. One ent recently said that his ct scan does show polyps; the ent said the surgery to remove them is fairly simple and that he thought it was worth a try, though he didn't see how they could be related to the problem. All the doctors have also mentioned that smelling phantom smells can be a symptom of a brain tumor, but they've all said that's a remote possibility, and the symptoms don't really fit, since the problem is triggered by an actual event (smelling any kind of smoke, and then the smell lasts for days). He is going to have an mri next week just to put that possibility to rest.
We had speculated that the problem might have been caused by something he was doing to handle his sinus problems. A doctor had recommended sinus washes. At first he did those by holding warm salt water in his hand and breathing it up into his sinuses, but then he found a product on line that fits on to a water-pik. You put it up into your nose and it gently forces water through the sinuses. We thought that perhaps it had forced bacteria deep into the sinuses. I still think this is a possibility and just mention it to see if any one else who is experiencing these symptoms has also done the sinus washes.
Yep, the smell started with me today and I started doing sinus washes a couple of weeks ago. I've only done it about 5 times though, and not every day, and I used boiled water with a packaged salt mix so should be sterile. I'll keep looking for info and let you know if I find anything.
Please let me and everyone on this forum know what info you find out from that mri for possible head or brain tumor. I've tried everything and we all have to hhave something in common. There must be some commonality between us that is causing this problem. Wheather it's a tumor, prescription meds (i'm not sure about prescription meds anymore since getting this because they are all made from "synthetic" materials now and that is what causes so many side effects with people. Maybe this is some kind od side effect from prescription meds that we are all taking. Here is a list of all prescription meds I take: atenolol for blood pressure, lortab 7.5 which is tylenol with codeine for pain for my 3 blown discs in neck with cervical stenosis and degenerative disc disease, motrin 800 mg for arthritis degenerative type, as I already had a left total hip replacement when I was 37, i'm now 45. I'm also a recent retired army soldier. If I get any answers I will surely post them here for everyone's benefit.
I have very similar situations as far as the pain from blown discs in my neck -- C, 4, 5 and 6 have been fused 3 times (first two times the cadaver/donor bone failed -- third time the procedure was done using my own hip bone and they made a titanium cage and the surgery was done posterior). I take vicadin and Advil daily. Otherwise only take thyroid medication. This smell is very upsetting, and it is 24/7 now. It feels sometimes as though my nose is burning. No one else smells it. I have been extremely sensitive to cigarette smoke all my life. Hated it from the second I remember smelling it. So to smell them burning all the time when they aren't any where and no one else smells it, well, it is distracting beyond anything else. I see a lot of writers on this forum have headaches and take advil as well. (isn't motrin a type of advil-like medication?). Also migraine sufferers are more susceptible to things like seizure-style affects -- too much light or flashing lights can trigger some migraines for migraine sufferers -- the brain has a higher electrical component or something that is more quickly triggered. It's why they now often try anti-seizure medications for migraines (didn't work for me at all!), but anyway, if you or anyone has found anything since this 2005 writing, I would be so grateful to know. Thanks!
I don't know if this is related. But, I started smelling cigarette smoke all the time about 2 months ago. I live on an island with lots of wind, in a non-smoking household and no one could possibly be smoking in the area where I most often noticed it. About a month ago, I travelled to the East Coast (USA) and have felt since then as though I smell either cigarette smoke or diesel fuel. Very strong. I've been telling everyone that the East Coast is great, aside from the heavy diesel fuel smells. Also have had nexk and shoulder problems during this period and was diagnosed with cervical disc degeneration at C5-C7, supposedly mild. Also, sprained rotator cuff with shoulder impingement. I have tingling in my arms, usually right side, which may or may not be related as I am a heavy computer-user. I'm on-line now trying to learn more because this smell thing is making me crazy and I believe it may be related to nerve conduction. Interesting to read you also have disc problems.
I have been experiencing this cigarette smoke since 5 years now, it lasts about a week each time. it usually starts after I am exposed to heavy smoking, like BBQ, or when I am with someone who smokes a lot. it bothers me alot as I always think of a serious illness. well after reading theses postings, phantosmia seems more or so applicable. the common thing we might have is the cervical arthrosis. I was diagnosed by this, and I used to be a heavy computer-user myself. I wish I could get rid of this smell right away. good luck to all of us.
Well, unfortunately, my husband didn't make it through the mri so we won't be getting any info from that. However, a friend who is wonderful at web research found some really interesting information for us.We had been approaching it more from the standpoint that it was a reaction (allergic or nonallergic) to something but my friend approached it as a neurological disorder and found all kinds of things about smell disorders. Apparently dysosmia is smell disorders in general, parosmia is a distorted sense of smell (coffee, say, smells like smoke), phantosmia is smelling things that are no longer present (like smelling smoke for days after the original exposure), and anosmia is having no sense of smell at all. Apparently there was a yahoo group for smell disorders, but it was focused at people with no sense of smell so a group of people with parosmia and phantosmia started up this group:
it started a few years ago with about five members, and now the member list has over 400 people, so we're apparently not alone! I've been reading through the posts and unfortunately i'm not finding people who are being cured, but it's so nice for my husband to know he's not alone.
Oops, I forgot to answer the question about medications. Unfortunately, my husband isn't taking any of those medications. (i say "unfortunately" because wouldn't it be nice to pin down what was happening with this?)
on another search, I did find someone who said that a test had shown he had a cyst on the pituitary gland. He had it removed, and his symptoms went away. I haven't seen anyone else mention that but it sounds worth exploring. (i think an mri showed it.)
it appears to me from the reading i've been doing that there could be a number of causes that lead to this particular set of symptoms. I wish I was seeing more encouragement about there being treatments, since, as i'm sure you know, it's miserable for the person who has it.
There's a Dr. Wuensch who has anosmia (no smell at all) and has put together some very interesting information on his web page: http://personal.Ecu.Edu/wuenschk/anosmia.H
tm. Of course, there's no way of knowing how much of it might apply to someone with parosmia or phantosmia, but he says that injections of the steroid kenalog have restored his sense of smell. He gets the injections every 4-9 months.
We're going to try to get my husband an appointment with a neurologist now, since the ents have basically thrown up their hands, and we'll ask him/her about the kenalog.
I put "smelling smoke" into the google search engine thinking that nothing would show up...And then I see all of the other postings about the same thing on this site!
Misery loves company; i'm so glad i'm not going crazy.
I went to the dr last week and he made an appointment with an ent specialist but didn't really act one way or another towards the information I gave him about my symptoms.
The smoke I smell isn't actually like cigarettes; more like electrical tape burning or a campfire after water has been poured on it. It comes and goes but like all of you, I ask everyone around me if they smell smoke and no one ever does. Gee, you'd think i'd stop asking by now!
I hope it isn't a tumor, brain malfunction, auto immune disease or any of the other stuff i've read today. I hope it is just a bad sinus infection that will go away with a z-pack.
I travel a lot for business and fly out again on wednesday. I hope this is gone!
But I do occasionally smell something like a furnace that's turned on for the first time of the season, or of an old, dusty, musty couch... Does any of that ring a bell to anybody? Now here's the clincher -- I hardly ever smell this, but my girlfriend smells it really well.... And it's extremely bothersome to her... I've been trying to figure out how to get rid of it for a year now... I, like others on this page, have chronic sinusitis, and whenever I get an infection, the smell is at it's strongest, and a round of antibiotics usually gets rid of it. But sometimes, like right now, I have few to no symptoms of a sinus problem, but the smell has still appeared, seemingly out of nowhere! I think a real test for everyone is to make sure nobody else smells your nose....That way you can take the appropriate approach to finding a solution. A good test is to exhale really strongly from your nose right into someone's face. Sounds gross, I know, but it's the only way to determine whether there's a real odor or whether you have a neurological issue. I have a poor sense of smell, but after using the grossan irrigator for a couple of months, my sense of smell has improved greatly... This is the first time I have been able to smell the odor my girlfriend is talking about. I think it may be fungus-related. I am going to take some diflucan for a couple of days this time to see if it clears it up. Please report back on your "test"... And others, if you see this, try it out and report back... Thanks!
PLease let me know if the diffucan helps I have this too, I don't have sinsitis chronically but have been having this smell for two weeks. I may start smoking again after 10 years off it just so I have a reason to smell it. braggrus4@gmail
Well, I did see the dr and he numbed my nose and put a scope into it. He reports that a few of his patients come to him with the same problem; complaining of smoke. He didn't see anything but gave me a z-pack and told me to arrange a ct scan and follow up visit.
He thinks it is my sinus' and that I may have some tmj but told me that I would have to go to a neuroligist if this doesn't show anything.
Yeah, like I have time for this.
But the smoke smell is is irritating enough for me to do the "exhale test" on my girlfriend. This will prove out two things; do I indeed have something big brewing up there w/o symptoms and does she love me enough to do it...
I thought I was the only one in the world who had this problem, but like many of you, did a google search which turned up this forum. I have been smelling smoke on and off for a couple of years. It smells like old smoke or how a fireplace smells on a damp day, or maybe as someone else described, a campfire. It is really bad today; I have no health issues and don't take any meds, rarely have a headache or take aspirins or any other over the counter drugs. Today, the smell is very strong and annoying. The sky is very overcast; I don't know if this has any bearing on it or not. I've thought of going to a doctor, but when I went to one with restless leg several years ago, I go the impression they thought I was nuts. Since rls has become more common, one prescribed a rx that is also prescribed for seizures. I said, "no thanks." I want answers and cures, not to be numbed down. I'm entering my senior years and want to get there as meds free as possible. Meanwhile, has anyone found an answer or cure for this annoying smell? Thanks.
About a week ago I got the 'burning rubber' problem, which was not nice and spooked me. A day later my left ear developed a painful cyst. As the cyst started to recede, the burning smell slowly went. From reading this blog it seems a whole range of ENT problems, many not serious, can trigger in this weird sensation.
Glad I found that someone else has a smoke smelling issue. I really thought the neighbors were out smoking and brushed it off till it happened more and more, and at different locations. I have had sinus issues and take a daily Aler-Tec. I've used it for years, but just in the last month started to smell the smoke. Nothing medical has changed in my life over the past 10 years, so why now has this weird thing started? I have to cover up my nose at times as it bothers me. HELP!!