Can Nasal Polyps Wreck Your Sense of Smell?
Another week, another new finding in otolaryngology. Nasal polyps, those air-throttling sacs everybody loves to hate, may affect more than just your breathing. Scientists at the wonderfully named Zagazig University in Egypt studied what happens to the olfactory bulb, the nerve that senses smell, when polyps are present. Their finding: the nerve shrinks, diminishing our capacity to smell:
Our study highlights the significant reduction in OB [olfactory bulb] volume in patients with bilateral sinonasal polyposis as compared with its volume in healthy controls.
Nasal polyps are already profoundly uncomfortable structures, and shrinking or removing them remains a no-brainer for anyone suffering with the disorder. But this finding is yet another reminder that an open airway is essential to the enjoyment of life; absent a sufficient sense of smell, many people find that their worlds turn to gray.
It is not yet known whether subjects’ sense of smell improves once again after polyp removal surgery, but it’s plausible. If you suspect you may have nasal polyps, I urge you to contact an experienced ENT for a consultation today.