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My husband lost his sense of smell about two years ago, and, to our knowledge, he hasn’t had Covid. He’s tried smell training to no avail. Can you give us any advice on possible treatment or indeed cause?

Anosmia, or loss of sense of smell, came to everyone’s attention as a symptom of Covid. It was particularly prevalent at the start of the pandemic – some experts suggest it was less likely with later variants of the virus.

But it can be caused by just about any virus or infection of the upper airways, such as the common cold, which damages the nerves that send smell signals to the brain. It can also come from nerve degeneration or a brain injury after a head trauma or stroke, for instance.

Short-term anosmia can be caused if the nose is blocked by a cold, but a long-term cause may be nasal polyps – fleshy growths inside the nasal cavity – or chronic nasal congestion linked to allergies or smoking.

A persistent loss of smell would be worth seeing a GP about, and possibly a referral to an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor to look for polyps. If found, they can be treated surgically or with sprays.

Anosmia, or loss of sense of smell, came to everyone’s attention as a symptom of Covid. It was particularly prevalent at the start of the pandemic – some experts suggest it was less likely with later variants of the virus

The condition is serious, as it can put you at risk of not being able to smell dangerous things, such as gas or a fire, and as it also takes away the pleasure of eating and drinking, enduring it can be pretty miserable.

Smell training kits are worth persisting with – these involve actively sniffing the same scents for about 20 seconds every day.

There are two charities that offer excellent advice to people with loss of smell: AbScent (abscent.org) and Fifth Sense (fifthsense.org.uk).

Our 16-year-old grandson is very poorly, suffering from nausea, fatigue, rushing to the toilet, extreme anxiousness and severe cramp under the ribs. He also looks jaundiced.

He has been diagnosed with Gilbert syndrome. We were told there’s no treatment, and he just has to live with it. Before this, he was a fit young man. Do you know where we can turn to? He has hardly attended school this year. You are our last hope.

Gilbert syndrome is considered harmless and isn’t even usually called a disease. Most people do not even know when they have it, and it is normally spotted by accident when somebody has a liver function test.

It does not cause anxiousness, cramps, nausea tiredness and stomach pains. If that is happening in a teenager, other causes need to be looked for.

Write to Dr Ellie 

Do you have a question for Dr Ellie Cannon? Email DrEllie@mailonsunday.co.uk

Dr Cannon cannot enter into personal correspondence and her replies should be taken in a general context.


Gilbert syndrome is thought to affect about four per cent of the population and often runs in families. It causes high levels of something called bilirubin – a waste product of red blood cells – and this may cause a jaundiced appearance. This can occur in stressed, ill or dehydrated people.

The British Liver Trust (britishlivertrust.org.uk) offers good advice on the syndrome.

In a teen with such significant problems, I’d suggest that investigations into inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s or colitis, coeliac disease or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) should be done. More tests may be needed, including repeated blood tests, screening for infections and very specific stool analysis looking for inflammation.

It might also be worthwhile for them to have the chance to speak to their doctor alone, in case there are concerns they are unable to discuss with the family.

This is also an age when people start to suffer with mental health problems that may initially manifest as physical symptoms.

My husband has been diagnosed with BPPV. He’s been feeling dizzy and nauseous for weeks and is getting more unsteady on his feet. Nobody has been able to suggest a treatment other than something called the Epley manoeuvre, which his osteopath did to no difference. Is there any medication that can be taken for this problem?

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, or BPPV, is a problem within the ear, and the dizziness tends to arise when the patient is in certain positions, turns their head or rolls over in bed.

The tiny components that make up the inner ear control our sense of balance, which is why problems within it will cause these symptoms.

BPPV is surprisingly common, particularly in people over 50, and can be quite distressing. For older people, it leads to falls and makes normal life very difficult.

It can be reassuring to know that recovery often happens spontaneously over several weeks without treatment. Simply being aware of the triggering movements can help.

The Epley manoeuvre, which involves slowly moving the head into different positions, is designed to shift fluid and debris in the inner ear. This might be offered alongside Brandt-Daroff exercises, which are similar and can be done at home.

If the Epley manoeuvre hasn’t worked, it can be tried again.

It is most common that vertigo is caused by issues from within the ear and seldom the brain.

If things are not improving, or getting steadily worse (BPPV can come and go), it is worth discussing with a doctor about an alternative diagnosis.

Can anyone seriously argue against a smoking ban?

When I was growing up, you could smoke in restaurants, on public transport and even on planes.

When I told my own teenagers this, they couldn’t believe it, even though that wasn’t that long ago. In fact they find the concept totally bizarre, and that makes me really happy.

The progress in preventing smoking in our society has been great, but I believe that we can do more. I welcome the Government’s plan to keep raising the legal age to buy cigarettes by a year every year, meaning younger teenagers will effectively never be old enough to purchase them.

Raising the smoking age from 16 to 18 in 2007 helped reduce the number of teens taking up the habit by about 30 per cent, so we know these measures work.

I simply cannot understand why anyone would argue against this, though I’ve seen a few trying on social media. There is no value in a child being able to buy cigarettes, other than money for tobacco companies.

No time off for ‘man-opause’

Is there a male menopause? I’m doubtful. And I’m even more in doubt about whether middle-aged men need time off work to cope with things such as hot flushes and the emotional changes that some claim are similar to those experienced by many menopausal women.

Apparently this is happening in some NHS Trusts, which I find difficult to believe. I’ve certainly never come across it.

The battle for women to have menopause recognised has been hard-won, and it is absolutely justified given the menopause is physiologically proven due to the significant fall in the natural production of female hormones.

The same cannot be said for the so-called man-opause. I often test men’s testosterone – mostly when they are suffering from erectile dysfunction – and very, very few have abnormal levels.

Male menopause symptoms are far more likely to come from obvious things: a lack of exercise, weight gain, depression and failing relationships, for instance.

Let’s not make this a thing when it isn’t.

Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk

Content source – www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com

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