Style Living Self Celebrity Geeky News and Views
In the Paper BrandedUp Hello! Create with us Privacy Policy

EXPLAINER: What is anosmia and is there a cure?

By Gabrielle Mercado Published Jul 20, 2023 7:17 pm Updated Jul 21, 2023 8:14 am

In a resurfaced interview with news anchor Karen Davila, actress Andrea Brillantes has once again become the talk of the town on social media. The interview, which was originally uploaded on July 9, 2022, delved into Andrea's Congenital Anosmia—a condition that renders her inability to smell. 

During the candid conversation, Karen asked Andrea directly about her diagnosis. "Is it true? You've been diagnosed with congenital anosmia?" Karen asked, before explaining to the viewers that congenital anosmia is a rare disorder where the affected individual cannot smell. 

Andrea confirmed the condition, revealing, "Wala po akong pang-amoy at all. Wala po talaga. As in pwede po akong ututan sa mukha."

This interview garnered renewed attention after a viral statement from Andrea on TV personality Vice Ganda's vlog, where she offered advice to those struggling to move on.

"Minsan kung hirap ka mag-move on, kailangan mo talagang isipin na 'talaga ba, iiyakan ko 'yung lalaki na hindi nagpapa-laundry ng isang taon?'" Andrea told Vice.

What is congenital anosmia? 

According to Dr. Chester Rosario J. Puño MD, FPSOHNS an otorhinolaryngologist at Karmelli Clinic and Hospital, Inc., from the moment of birth, individuals with congenital anosmia enter a world without the sense of smell. While this condition is typically isolated, sometimes it may coexist with other syndromes.  

“Some individuals who are born without a sense of pain might also experience an impact on their sense of smell, adding to the intriguing nature of this condition,” Dr. Chester told PhilSTAR L!fe.

Congenital anosmia refers to a lifelong inability to smell from birth. It may manifest as an isolated abnormality without additional symptoms or be linked to specific genetic disorders like Kallmann syndrome or congenital insensitivity to pain. 

In cases of congenital anosmia, the olfactory bulb—an essential part of the brain responsible for processing smells—may be underdeveloped or nonexistent.  

As stated by Dr. Chester, "Congenital anosmia is commonly caused by nasal swelling or blockages that prevent odors from reaching the top of the nose. It can also result from issues with the system transmitting signals from the nose to the brain." 

How serious is congenital anosmia? 

Dr, Chester explained that such cases are very rare and most individuals with congenital anosmia navigate life with remarkable adaptability. “As long as it is isolated, there will be no problems,” he said.  

People who have congenital anosmia, as it remains in an isolated condition, will not be affected by other major health concerns.  

“The worst-case scenario for someone with congenital anosmia is the inability to detect dangerous odors, such as smoke or gas leaks,” Dr. Chester stated. Having functional smoke alarms in the home is crucial for early fire detection.  

“The absence of smell can make it challenging to sense smoke, which is why smoke alarms become an indispensable safety measure for individuals with congenital anosmia,” he added.

Cleveland Clinic noted that "there is currently no known cure for congenital anosmia. In most cases, however, anosmia goes away on its own."

Despite the complexity of this condition, there are typically no brain tumors or other discernible causes that resulted in having it.