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Loss of smell and taste sense after zinc nasal spray

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im a 20 year old male and i have 2 questions.first one is that i had clogged nose my whole life and had severe ocd that led me to use zinc nasal spray for almost 3 years on and off.i had a few breaks from it but returned using it obsesivly (about 4 shots to each nostral)and i am clean for a year.the problem is that i can bearly smell or taste anything unless its a really strong scent and lost a huge part of my pleasure for life in food and i have almost competly lost my sense of taste.my senses returned very little after i stopped using it and still can bearly taste or smell.is it fixable?will i ever taste and smell normaly again?are there remadies in modern medicine and does sinus buster prodact able to fix it?

question 2 .i have been snoring on and off since 12 until i was 16.normaly not loud snoring.but still about 3 times a week.i have had smr surgery at 18 since i had really hard time breathing .ever since the surgery i have had very little help and i am snoring from the age of 16 loud and frequent.i dont have sleep apnea form recent tests made.since i dont choke at night.but my airways are blocked from cronical snot and my nose closes whenever i am breathing deep and strong breaths.

my question is: is it possible that i have brain damage?since i was snoring during major brain development as a child.is it trully that it can be really damaging since less oxygen is coming in?and is it possible that my muscles had bad development or stunt muscle development as a child and therfore my muscles are very weak and tired from me not being able to breath well at night?

Category: ENT Specialist

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Category: ENT Specialist
Dr. Sunil Jalan is online now

Expert:  Dr. Sunil Jalan replied 4 Days.


Thank you for using Ask a Doctor Service from Doctor Spring.

You are suffering from bilateral nasal obstruction, loss of smell and taste sensation since 3 years, snoring since 8 years. History of SMR at age of 18.
So your main concern is nasal obstruction which will cause loss of smell. Due to loss of smell you have loss of taste, because flavour is smell sensation + taste sensation. Both sensation are required to enjoy food.

Nasal obstruction is contributing to snoring also, But other factor also contribute to snoring including bony structure of face (some people have retracted chin) and also by weight gain.

So you need detailed evaluation of nasal obstruction which include-
• endoscopic examination of nose (rigid nasal endoscopy)
• CT scan of paranasal sinuses – which will provide detail of nasal airway and status of sinuses.

Treatment : you can start Mometasone nasal spray 2 puff two times for 3 months. (this will shrink the nasal tissue and you will get relief in nasal obstruction without any side effect. But you have to use is regularly and for long time.
We can add antihistamine medication for same including Tab.Levocetrizine 5 mg once daily for 15 days. Please discuss them with your local Doctor.

If you are overweight then you have to workout for weight reduction also.

Summary of Recommendations:
To consult local ENT consultant.
To do rigid nasal endoscopy
To do CT scan of para nasal sinuses
To start - Mometasone nasal spray 2 puff two times for 3 months
Tab..Levocetrizine 5 mg once daily for 15 days.

Hope this helps. Would be glad to answer any follow-ups.

Thank you.


Dr. Sunil Jalan

Patient replied :

Thank you for the answer but you havent answered the questions i really was botherd with.is there a possible brain damage since ihad trubled snoring during childhood brain development and muscle damage as a follow up to not breathing right? .is there a way to fix my sense of smell and taste and is it possible to return to enjoy food normally again?

Expert:  Dr. Sunil Jalan replied 3 Days.


Snoring only will not decreases the oxygen saturation. In obstructive sleep apnea only oxygen saturation drops sometimes, that also doesn't drop enough to cause any damage to brain.
So with simple sonring you need not to worry about brain damage. Only because sometime with nasal obstruction you can not sleep well, and you may have dullness, tiredness and mental clouding in morning. I think because of that only you are worried.(most of medicines for cold also causes sleepiness). Even in childhood it remains same. So there could be impairment in your immediate functional capacity , but long term brain damage is highly unlikely. You will wake up if the oxygen saturation goes down that low levels

Sense of smell and taste will improve only when your nasal obstruction will improve. (as to smell perception, very small particle has to reach to olfactory area which is situated very high in nose, so in case of nasal obstruction it doesnot happen.

Hope this helps. Feel free to ask if you have any further queries.

Thank you.


Dr. Sunil Jalan

Patient replied :

Thank you.last question is there a possibilty that body and muscle damage could be happening as well? And what do you recommend using?and my snores also became even louder this past year.isnt thwere a possabilty that louder snoring equeals less oxygen to brain and by that damaging it? And since i snored havily during brain development as a child could it possiblt stunt the development? .and last is there a way to repair the damage couased by the zinc nasal spray?

Expert:  Dr. Sunil Jalan replied 2 Days.


Snoring will not cause decrease in oxygen saturation. So it will not cause any damage to body, muscle and brain.

Even louder snoring will not lead to decrease in oxygen to brain. But if you want to make sure that you don't have sleep apnea, you can undergo sleep study.

Nothing to do for zinc nasal spray, stop it and start using mometasone nasal spray 1 puff each side two times for 3 months.

Hope this helps. Feel free to ask if you have any further queries.

Thank you.

Dr. Sunil Jalan

Patient replied :

Thank you.one last thing.my mother do have sleep apnea.and laat night she was reading a fe articles about how sleep apnea damages the brain so hard that the brain of those people look the same as to people who had severe strokes and she is a bit afraid.can you conform or deny the findings in those articals?

Expert:  Dr. Sunil Jalan replied 1 Day.


In your 1st reply you have mentioned that she doesn't have sleep apnea as few test done for it were normal.

Anyway the most important for sleep apnea and snoring treatment is weight reduction and evualation by physician including sleep study.

Sleep apnea will not damage brain in a day or year. over the peroid without any treatment it may affect brain and many other organ including lungs and heart. It is just like diabetes that can affect eye, kidney or nerves and other ogran. So one can't deny it but it happens if sugar is uncontrolled for many years.
So please start treatment from local physician which may include weight reduction and CPAP.

Hope this helps.

Dr. Sunil Jalan

Dr. Sunil Jalan
Category: ENT Specialist
DAA (Diploma in asthma and allergy) : Christian Medical College, Vellore, 2012
D.N.B (ENT), 2011
Residency - M.S. (Master post graduate degree in otorhinolaryngology),  Christian Medical College, Vellore, 2009
D.L.O. (Diploma in otorhinolaryngology) - Christian Medical College, Vellore, 2007
Medical School - M.B.B.S, S.P. Medical college, Bikaner, 2004
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