Are Steroids Effective for Smell Recovery?

Steroids for Smell Recovery

The topic of corticosteroid therapy has been widely debated among clinicians and patients suffering from smell loss following a COVID infection. There have also been cases of COVID-19 patients recovering from asomnia following corticosteroid therapy.

Corticosteroids are steroids that mimic the natural cortisol hormone and are frequently used to treat inflammatory diseases, such as asthma and allergies, as well as various other immune-mediated diseases.

Corticosteroid for Post-Covid Smell Loss

A new study by Prof Carl Philpott, a smell loss expert from UEA’s Norwich Medical School researched the effectiveness of steroids for smell loss in recovered COVID patients.

According to a panel of medical experts at the University corticosteroids should not be used to treat patients suffering from olfactory nerve damage. In a recent report, these clinicians and researchers have written to specialists around the world in a bid to highlight the importance of using alternative therapy strategies for treating smell disorders. There are several side effects associated with corticosteroid use including high blood pressure and increased risk of infection.

What we found that there is very little evidence that corticosteroids will help with smell loss. And because they have well known potential adverse side effects, our advice is that they should not be prescribed as a treatment for post-viral smell loss. – Prof Carl Philpott

Many have been needlessly put at risk of smell loss, and some have developed disorders because they’ve been treated with steroids for a condition that can be effectively managed using therapy that has no side effects.

How The Olfactory Nerve Works

The olfactory nerve sits on the roof of your nose and connects to your brain to send you smell signals. Olfactory nerve damage is a very common affliction for those recovering from head trauma or a post-viral infection like COVID 19.

Quite a bit of research has gone into olfactory dysfunction, what causes it, and how to deal with it. Although there have been countless papers published on the subject, none of them can draw the connection between exposure to COVID 19 and the loss of our sense of smell.

With an estimated 10,000 different scents to be perceived when we inhale, you could say the sense of smell is a very strong one. Yet, it remains largely untapped and underdeveloped.

Smell Training & Rehabilitation

What is smell therapy? Is it possible for people who are suffering from olfactory nerve damage to experience a recovery? A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that even patients with long term anosmia are able to regain their smell function by rebuilding their neural pathways through therapy.

Our sense of smell and taste are human senses that can become more acute with exercise. In fact, our ability to smell is based on many sensory cells inside the nose that can regenerate like a muscle – unlike the eye or ear. This means that the nose is a springboard for restoring sensory abilities that many other types of disabilities may have taken away.

Most smell training patients are able to regain their sense of smell after 16 weeks of regular smell training, but some people have to keep going for up to two years before a full recovery is made.

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