Head Injury Damages Woman’s Sense of Smell

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Playing Mystery Burning Smell after Head Injury?

Megan, 28, says she began experiencing severe headaches and a loss of smell after falling and hitting the back of her head on her home's tile floor. An urgent care physician diagnosed her with post-concussion syndrome and told her the symptoms eventually would subside. She says that although the headaches have mostly gone away, she perceives all scents with an unsavory, chemical burn smell. Concerned that her fall caused more severe injury than previously thought, Megan reached out to The Doctors for help.

The Doctors send her to neurologist Dr. William Chow, who performs several diagnostic tests, including MRI and EEG scans, to determine if her brain sustained severe trauma from the fall. 

Sensory problems — such as blurred vision, changes in ability to smell, and sensitivity to light or sound — are common symptoms following a mild traumatic brain injury, according to the Mayo Clinic. These symptoms typically require no specific treatment and usually subside over time. However, patients should be monitored for any new or worsening signs or symptoms.

Watch as Dr. Chow shares the results of Megan’s tests and her prognosis:

Dr. Chow explains that Megan's fall caused bruising to the front of her brain, which affected her olfactory nerve. He says she should continue to improve and her sense of smell should return to normal in time. 

ER physician Dr. Travis Stork emphasizes the importance of seeking medical attention if you experience any symptoms following a head injury.