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Niels Hoven

Specific anosmia, or why I can’t smell farts

What if you couldn’t smell your own farts? Would you consider it a disability, or a blessing in disguise?

I was about ten years old when I noticed I couldn’t smell certain things. I remember walking through the woods at summer camp when other people began making faces. “Eww,” they said, “it smells like skunk!” But I could barely smell anything.

It’s not that my sense of smell is completely absent. Rather, there are certain odors that I’m not sensitive to. Mostly bad scents, fortunately.

For example, I often can’t smell farts. Again, it’s debatable whether or not this is a blessing in disguise, but I will say it’s a little unnerving to flatulate (is that a word?) and have no idea whether or not the people around me can smell it.

I used to just write this off as an interesting quirk, but over Christmas break I had the following conversation with my sister and her fiance:

Fiance: Watch out, I’m a little gassy today.
Me: Don’t worry about it, I can’t smell it anyway.
Sister: Wait, you don’t smell things either?
Me: What, you too?
Fiance: Yeah, it’s great, she can use the bathroom right after me and it’s no problem.

Apparently fart-insensitivity is genetic. And so, having recently discovered one wacky congenital disability in myself (see my post I’m learning to live with faceblindness) I embarked on further research.

According to Wikipedia, anosmia is “the lack of olfaction, or an absence of the ability to smell”. I don’t have that – I can smell most things – but there is also specific anosmia, an insensitivity to a certain odor. And specific anosmia (aka selective anosmia, I think) may be genetically based. Winner!

Interestingly, it is just about impossible to describe the concept of an odor to someone who has never had a sense of smell. But there are support and advice forums available, where sad but hilarious stories are traded of anosmic life in a world of smellers. One unfortunate guy recalls trying to cover up the smell of an “accident” with a heavy application of cologne, not realizing that deodorant doesn’t actually cancel out odors. More information on anosmia can be found at the Anosmia Foundation, including links to purchase smell tests.

My handicap is far less serious, though apparently still an active area of research. I found one Nature article particularly interesting. The abstract for Odour-Blindness to Musk: Simple Recessive Inheritance states:

The rare anosmia to the n-butyl mercaptan of skunk, and more commonly the scent of freesia flowers, may be inherited as autosomal recessive traits.

So that’s it! Mystery solved! I’ve got a rare, genetic, specific anosmia to n-butyl mercaptan, or possibly some other mercaptan. Mercaptans, also known as thiols, are the volatile sulfurous compounds that give skunk its stink. And guess where else mercaptans can be found?

Dr. Ed Poliness has this to say on the subject: “Mercaptans are found in your smelliest farts”. Thank you for your frankness, Dr. Poliness. For further information on farts, readers may also contact Dr. Michael Levitt, the world’s leading authority on flatulence, according to this article. The article doesn’t mention mercaptans, but it’s an entertaining read anyway.

There are less obvious effects, as well. Anyone who has traveled in Asia is familiar with the durian, a gourmet fruit widely regarded as delicious, but with a scent so foul it is banned from the premises of many airports and luxury hotels. The mercaptans in durian likely explain why I am the only person my mom has ever heard of who likes the smell of durian but not the taste.

52 comments… add one
  • cameron

    To be honest, I don’t think your missing out on much!

    I actually sometimes enjoy the smell of of my own farts though lol.

    Also, I think describing this as “my handicap” is an insult to people that can’t walk, or have other serious handicaps.

    all the best,


  • James

    Yea man I cant smell farts either, only if I fart in my hand and bring it to my nose can I pick up a wiff. It’s really strange actually.

  • that’s disgusting.

  • Anonymous

    The question is, can you smell natural gas leaks. Natural gas has no inherent smell, but gas companies add mercaptan to it so people can detect dangerous leaks. That is one case where the inability to smell natural gas is definitely a negative.

  • angela

    i have a semilar problem only i can’t smell sour milk
    in later life this could be varry harmful to me as i am prone to food posioning
    you aren’t alone

  • rafael

    well this is me.. im bout 15 yrs old and wen i was 14 i sufferd an avvident… i had a fall bout 10 feet high on my head and knw i can smell my own odors… like i dnt knw if im musty and if i take a fart and dnt smell anything.. but others can… so how can i get my sent bak? i really need it badly cuzz wen im around my girl i kinda get nervus… like wat if i smell… its so hard to feal with this.. so wat can i do?

  • Meg

    Wow, I’ve never been able to smell farts. I too, frequently, had buddies who would fart and be like “Ohhh that’s sick,” and then I would be like “Uh, yeah, totally sick.” Except I couldn’t smell it at all. I still can’t. I don’t think I’ve EVER smelled a fart.

    I’m glad it’s not just me!

  • This is probably the strangest post on my blog, but it’s all worth it just to know I’ve touched someone’s life.

  • gabe

    yep me too. cant smell em. I think its genetic, as my grandfather said he couldn’t smell “bad” smells. Oddly enough, he suffered an injury like the 15 year old above; fell into ice cold water. Supposedly his lack of smell occurred after this…but I don’t know for sure. He’s passed on.

    It is a curse, tho, as my ex girlfriend was always very offended by my farts. I never learned how to hold in a fart because i never could smell them. so i had to learn how to hold them in. i still can’t really hold them in that well.

  • A

    Same boat, I don’t remember when I smeeled a fart, though I think I could when i was younger. I can though smell it when I or someone else drops a nasty deuce in the turlet. The natural gas additive I can smell as well as like sulfur, skunk and most things. Pretty much farts are all I’ve noticed that i can’t smell! – Creamcorn

  • Mandy

    He he. I can’t smell farts either, no matter how many times people try to fart in my face. But I thought that Specific Anosmia meant you can’t smell most things but can smell a couple things. Cuz I can smell really strong pepperment but not other stuff. I don’t thing it’s congenetal for me though cuz the rest of my family can all smell everything. But anyway, I’ve never smelled a fart before and don’t think I ever will, which is good cuz I used to get really gassy all the time and everyone else thought it was gross and smelled bad but I didn’t, hee hee good for suprise attack!

  • Every few days, I have second thoughts about writing this post. And then I read that other people have the same condition and I feel like I’m helping the world. By blogging about farts. I really, really hope this isn’t my legacy.

  • Logan

    I used to be able to smell farts but just recently its like my nose shut itself off to my own. I can smell others farts barely sometimes. I am losing the ability to control my farts currently. it started as a spasm feeling and is now (in just two weeks time) at a rate of a few little ones per minute. Close friends deny being able to smell it but i dont know whether to believe them or not. Idk what to do.

  • Logan

    Pelvic Floor excercises seem to be promising. I just found a guide on how to do them. These excercises are supposed to strangthen the key muscles of the anus and help you stop the uncontrolable leakage of gas from the anus.

  • I can smell since I was five years old my mother said I hit my head
    some people have a more serious than another a lot of this is talking
    about farts i like the sounds of farts because we all have one sounds so special that it belongs to was only can’t be duplicated by any others store making sounds they can come up with, I’ve looked around and none of the stores have them does sound is special to that one person and only about one person if anyone wants to leave a comment about it I can tell you stories. All because I can’t smell in the 1st place.

  • kelly

    i just recently lost ability to smell farts. i figured it was my brain shutting that smell out since my husband has serious GI issues and is therefore very gassy.

    i find it a blessing of course but now I wonder what other smells i’m missing.

  • Will


    Not trying to be rude, but you need to work on your punctuation. Why write something that takes all one’s mental focus to decipher. You have only included two periods and one out of place comma. The rest is a run on sentence. It is important.

    On a related note I cannot smell any farts burps, body odor, urine, feces, or rotten food. Smells that are perfumed generally hit me horribly. I cannot take it most of the time. It smells a lot like Fritos corn chips, but it stings the nostrils (not in a good way).

  • Emily

    I have almost no sense of smell at all. I can sometimes catch a whiff of something, but usually, I just cannot smell anything. I could smell when I was a kid, but I lost the ability when I was about thirteen, and I have no idea why it happened. I’ve got to say that it hasn’t really been a big deal at all. The worst that’s happened because of it has been my friends teasing me about it. One of them bought me scratch-and-sniff markers for my birthday last year as a laugh. It was kind of funny.

  • frank

    I stopped smelling farts in my later years

  • Jamil Soni Neto

    How I wish I had one of these ineteresting ailments. Whenever I go to the doctor and he passes me that horrible, 30-question quiz about problems you had in the past or you do currently, most of my markings are for NO and the few ones that I mark for YES are for very common, not-interesting-at-all problems, like Rhinitis or something like that. It would be cool if I had synaesthesia or any ail like that… lol

    (Well, not sure at all if it would be cool, but it is, doubtless, intriguing to wonder about what I would think of my uncommon ailment and how it could change my life – like writing a post at my website about it, or, would I have a website in the first place if I had some strange illness?)

  • kch

    I could smell everything, as far as I know, all my life, until this year. (I’m 40, male, married with children) At various times in my life, but not in the last 10 years, I over-used over-the-county nasal decongestant “nose spray”. Then, about 3 months ago, I over-used “nose spray” again for about three weeks. Then, my nasal passages cleared, and now I can breath very freely and am having no nasal “allergy type” symptoms at all. But, I haven’t been able to smell anyone’s flatulence for 3 months. For a couple of weeks, I couldn’t smell anything whatsoever, and gradually now, I can smell things like corn chips, peppermint, some flowers, cologne. The only thing that smells different than it used to is a freshly opened can of regular coffee. It used to smell wonderful, but now, it smells less good. However, thank God, it hasn’t affected any tastes that I have been able to determine. If the “nose spray” didn’t cause this, then there is an extreme coincidence in the timing of my over-useage of the “nose spray” and my loss of olfaction.

  • Kayci

    I can’t smell Farts either!! Every once in a while I can smell a fart that smells like boiled eggs or sulfuric! But other than that I’m unable to smell them! So weird no one ever believes me that I can’t

  • Sarah

    I’ve developed a really embarrassing problem in the last year where I am evidently farting but not feeling it and not able to smell it. Simple deduction and good friends means I know it’s me but it’s making me a hermit because, by all accounts, the smell is truly atrocious. I’ve been to see two doctors who thought I was delusional – one told me to give up smoking thus improving my sense of smell – but generally my sense of smell is fine – I can smell some of my farts, just not the catastrophic ones! It is horrible to deal with though because I’m constantly checking (and possibly misinterpreting at times) peoples facial expressions wondering whether I’ve farted! I’m only in my early 30s.

  • to embaraced

    ya i LOST THE ABILITY TO HOLD IN MY FARTS most of the time. its horrible. i smell them sometimes but not always. Today i was sitting in class and my friends all started to say who let one rip but i couldn’t smell it. I know its me, i have been suffering from this problem since grade 8 but from grade 9 it was really bad, grade 10 improved but still bad, right now in grade 11 i sometimes go a whole week without farting uncontrollably. this week has been bad because i cant control them for some reason. I always have the same comments and reactions around me, they all say it smells like shit and then they add in ” it literally smells like dog shit” very embaracing. i have some good days where these uncontrollable farts dont occur and people can actually smell my cologne because i get complements like wow u smell extremely good. im also very self concious now, scared to be around people, always concerned with who is behind me. just ahorrible life. the fact that i have no control just makes me want to kill myself because i dont think there is a cure. i just pray to God and that worked for me untill now since it started all over again. its always the same smell, smells like i literally shit in my pants. im just very hopeless. if anyone can help then please do so. it has ruined my social life although im still quite social because i deal with this problem as best as i can, im a very likable person but this problem has ruined me. im very young and do not want to live the rest of my life like this.. ill probally kill myself eventually once i have a complete mental breakdown. hopefully it doesnt come to that. thanks for reading.

  • V

    ^^^ @ to embaraced i thought i was the only person like this.i’m a college sophomore and i realized i couldn’t smell my own *flatulence* since my freshman year. it’s horrible esp when i’m sitting in class and people around me are obviously covering their noses. it’s so embarrassing!! and my social life has become a total wreck, i don’t join clubs, i neglect my friends. i don’t hang out as often and i neglect every social situation i can which is hard cuz i commute on the subways everyday and that’s is like a hell ride for me. the worst part is that i dont’ know when i’m letting one rip b/c i don’t smell it at all!! yet to eveyrone else who doesn’t undestand this problem, it is laughable to them..i’m already seeign a therapist and that has helped to relieve my stress and depression a bit but the flatulence problem remained..

  • to embarassed

    @ V, ya man i understand you. Lately i am able to feel my farts coming and hold them in. i find a lot of difficulty holding them in but i am finding success much more often. I became hopeless for quite a while but i think i finally found a cure. Basically there is exercises you can do to help build nuscle strength in your rectal area, these exercises are meant to help older people control their bladder and gas, but young people also rarley have this problem(you and i are unfortunatly these fkn rare people lol). anyways these exercises are for your pelvic muscles or something. anyways it seems to help a lot but its supposed to take 4 or 5 months for you to completly regain control of the downstairs. here are some links for more info, i hope you the best of luck and best of luck to my self to. http://www.bladderbowel.gov.au/doc/english/03%20Poor%20bowel%20control.pdf



    good luck. hope i helped. the only problem with these exercises is that it is hard to tell if your doing them right. im just taking a shot at it and the next time i end up at the doctor i will also ask for help. I JUST WANT TO BE NORMAL.

  • Michael

    I have this too. Only, I think, more severe. I am 15, and I think at one point I used to be able to smell farts, but not sure about it. Anyways, I can’t smell any bad smells (both a good thing and bad thing). For example. To me, sewage smells like cabbage or something like that, but weaker. I cannot smell any farts or any other bad smells. That’s the good part. Bad part is I can’t smell things burning for example. A few months ago I went on a camp with about 30 or so other kids. We knew each other quite well, so at the end of the night, to put out the fire, about 6 or 7 of the other guys decided to relieve themselves on the fire to put it out. Everyone was gagging from the smell. I went into the smoke to smell it, and I also started gagging. Not the smell though. Just the smoke was too think to breathe normally from. Other than that, it didn’t smell at all to me. Also, I cannot smell gas leaks. I was in a chemistry lab a few years ago, and the chem teacher needed to turn the gas on. She, along with the other 5 or 6 of my friends who were there, that there was a gas leak due to the smell. But it didn’t smell at all for me. And the worse thing about it in my opinion (don’t want to bore you with more stories of me not being able to smell things), is that I don’t know if I smell or not. This can be really annoying as often after a long day, I know I SHOULD smell because it was a long and hot day, but to me I don’t, so I’m not sure if I don’t to anyone else :(

    Hope everyone the best with their noses

  • Colleen

    I can’t smell a skunk unless it’s really really really strong and even then what I smell barely stinks (even though everyone else is like ewww gross). I can smell farts if they’re very strong (not that I want to). I can’t tell if food is spoiled (usually it doesn’t stink strongly enough for me to smell it), I always have to ask my husband if food is spoiled.

  • JD

    This is so weird that there are actually others that can’t smell them either. I haven’t been able to smell farts ever since I was born, and still haven’t smelled one 18 years later. Farts are the only thing I can’t smell, because I can smell everything perfectly fine. It’s pretty frustrating too that none of my friends believe me when I tell them I honestly can’t smell them. As bad as it sounds, I have gone as far as them sitting on my face and farting. On that note, I do think that I am fairly lucky, because from what I hear they don’t smell all that great…

  • daveloper

    This can be caused by a genetic or congenital inability to detect thiols, also known, as the author states, as mercaptans. The receptors for this are just missing in most people. Those of us who can detect these would probably trade places with you at any opportunity because the way that affects us is just totally repugnant to the point that you’d rather suffocate that draw another nose full of that stank.

    The downside for NOT being able to smell this class of chemicals is that if it is present, you would not know to get rid of it. My grandmother has Parkinson’s disease which led to total anosmia and people had a hard time being in her house because if there was something rotten or smelly, she had no idea and could not track it down.

    For someone with this specific anosmia, the worst horror would be that some skunk dies in the crawl space beneath your house and nobody tells you anything about it. To you it would seem like people are just avoiding YOU, when in fact, they are avoiding the thiols.

  • Mark

    Recently, I have noticed that I too cannot smell my own farts. That is with some exception. I also have always “liked” the smell of skunk.

  • Jitendra

    I can not smell any good or bad thing is my experience is any decease please let me know. . . .

  • Cal

    I have a similar affliction to the ones mentioned above, except I cannot smell roses, this also appears to be genetic.

  • JF

    So glad that other people are the same. I’ve never been able to smell any bad smells – farts, B.O, bad breath etc. Interestingly I seem to dislike ‘good’ smells like perfume, soap, flowers etc. Anyone else the same?

  • Brittany

    People often say I’m weird when I announce that I can’t smell farts, or they just flat out don’t believe it.
    I’m not sure though whether it’s completely genetic, because I used to be able to smell farts. I lost the sense to smell them somewhere during the time my very gassy brother left home after he graduated high school. I’d have been just starting high school at the time. I suppose it still could be a genetic trait, but I don’t know why it wasn’t triggered until my brother left home.

  • Tina

    I have a drastically reduced sense of smell following a bout with the common cold. The doctor told me this happens to a lot of people, but doesn’t get much press.

    It’s kind depressing, really. I want to smell these scents –even the bad ones– because it makes me feel connected to life and my surroundings. Now it’s like I’m feeling my way in the dark.

  • Alliain

    I just realised about 6 months ago that I generally cant smell my own farts. I am close to 30 now. As far as i can remember I have always thought that some of my farts simply were pretty much odorless. Because sometimes it smells really bad but most of the time its odorless.

    But just 6 months ago I started to realise others can smell it. Every time.
    I can sense when one is coming and hold it in so as to not make any embarrasing sounds and such but when I felt I could do it silently I always let it go thinking its a small chance of it smelling.
    And most of the time it havent. Or at least thats what i thought.

    It has been quite an embarrasing discovery since I do not know what people think of me in that matter. If they have had problems with it or not.

    I can smell things like sewage, bad food, natural gas, bad breath and feces every time I am subjected to them. And some times others farts, not always but only some times.

  • Jen C

    SO wierd. I cannot smell most farts (my own or others) It has to be a extremely potent especially bad fart for me to smell it. I remember smelling farts as a kid (my brother was the worst!) The strange thing is, I have a highly developed sense of taste, and I CAN smell skunks. It’s like some other specific component that I can’t smell I guess. Do any of you also have a sensitivity to certain perfumes or bug repellents etc?

  • alvarado

    I can’t smell fart and I have been having a blocked nose for more than a year now. Pls help me.

  • Harvard Professor

    I’m a professor at Harvard Medical School who studies genetics. I am fascinated by all these blog postings about genetic defects in fart detection. We would like to organize a study to clone the Fart Receptor. If you are interested please email megason(AT)hms.harvard.edu . If the study gets of the ground, we would likely draw blood, extract DNA, and sequence your whole genome. Ideal candidates have a family history of fart anosmia (e.g sisters, brothers, or parents who can’t smell farts) but we are also interested in singleton cases (no known anosmic relatives). Here is your chance to get your genome sequenced for free and to contribute to science.

  • Matt

    I can’t smell skunks, but I can damn sure smell farts.

    Generally I have a very good sense of smell. I can tell when meat/milk are going bad, when there’s mildew, when the food doesn’t smell right. I just can’t smell skunks. I didn’t realize it until I was about 35. I always thought people were just making up the whole skunk stinking thing.

  • Cat

    After a sinus infection at 17 years old, I have been unable to smell skunk. I am now 47 years old. Recently though when driving through a higher elevations in New Hampshire I once again smelled skunk. Was a temporary thing though. When I arrived home (sea level) I could no longer smell skunk. I also have had food poisoning a few times through the years due to not being able to smell food that is bad. I remember once my dog got sprayed by a skunk and I was the designated washer for obvious reasons, I could smell it a bit though. Probably cause it was so concentrated. But driving by where a skunk has left his mark, Can’t smell a thing, I wouldnt even know unless someone mentioned it, they always do of course. Now farts I DO smell. Who knows though, maybe not as intensely as the average person however.

  • Genia

    Well this IS a mystery to me. I have some fabulously scented roses in my garden. But this year I can’t smell them. So weird. Because I can smell everything else: apricots stewing (and burning), mint, thyme, marjoram, stocks, honeysuckle and yes FARTS!! But no roses. My fear is that ( as I am 62 yrs old) this might be ‘the thin end of the wedge’…that soon I may not be able to smell anything at all. Yeah I know you can’t tell me but is there anyone else out there ‘suffering’ (can’t say I’m suffering, just disappointed), selective loss of smell??

  • Rebecca

    I can smell most farts, rotten food, smelly feet and body odor, flowers, etc, etc. I just cannot smell skunks! Not that I’m complaining, judging from the reactions of others around me, I’m glad to not smell them!!! I’ve just always been curious as to why I had been so blessed? I think I hit my head the usual amount of times that toddlers do, and my mother, either will not admit dropping me as an infant, or it didn’t happen. I actually hit a skunk with my car and was told by friends to go through the carwash immediately, but couldn’t smell anything! Very interesting! I do wish there were a way to add farts to the list of things I couldn’t smell, though!

  • Dave

    I sufferred a fall from about 15 feet onto concrete head-first this past summer. Ever since, I’ve lost a tiny bit of my field-of-view in one eye, suffer some hearing loss (resulting in pulsatile tinitus – the sound of my blood rushing through the vessels in my head), and the strangest symptom of all – selective anosmia.

    I, too, can no longer smell sulfur. I noticed that the aroma of dinner cooking on the stovetop, or the smells when I walk into taco bell, or freshly minced garlic smell very odd now. It’s like I’m smelling all the underlying aromas that were previously masked by the sulfur component of all of these smells. And FRUSTRATINGLY, these general aromas smell exactly like poop to me now.

    It’s not a bad smell, it’s not a good smell. Both poop and food smell the same, but unlike anything I’ve smelled before my injuries. If someone has an attack of explosive diharrea in the bathroom, I could easily mistake it for someone cooking a pot roast!

    I can still differentiate between most smells, and food still tastes good – I can definitely tell the difference between a hamburger and a strawberry-banana smoothie, but I certainly miss the smell of garlic – it’s surprising that the sulfur component adds so much differentiation to aromas. I didn’t realize how important or significant it was!

  • mary

    Thanks for the post. It is a few years old but this came up number one in a google search for “why can’t I smell farts”. I also have had a lack of ability to smell certain “bad” smells since as long as I can remember. The biggest example of this was when someone at elementary school let off some kind of homemade stink bomb. I remember everyone in the class suddenly stood up and ran out of the room, shrieking about the smell but I never smelled a thing. However, in a very sheep-like manner I also ran out of the room and played along.

    In grownup life I have often wondered why I can’t smell some things that others can. Usually, I see that this is kind of a blessing. Mostly I have coped by being an compulsive over-showerer, deodorant-applier, and laundry-doer as I am worried I will be the last to know if I am the smelly one. Somewhat ironically I work in QC in food production. If I am doing sensory analysis I have to take some samples to people without my “defect” to taste and assess. I have learned though that there is a wide spectrum of off-flavors and only certain percentages of people are sensitive to certain ones. I am very sensitive to sourness and fruity off-flavors but have almost no ability to detect oxidation or rancidity. It is an interesting area of study.

  • Angela

    I am so thankful I came across this site! I can’t smell farts, skunks, sulphur etc. I was in Yellowstone park in the middle of the geothermal wonders breathing as deeply as possible and nothing. Same thing with a skunk 2 weeks ago. You don’t know what a relief it is to know that others are afflicted with similar smell deficiencies. Thanks!

  • Legrindem

    I had this experience one time .
    So I work in the healthcare field and one day we had a patient that everyone said had a bm during a procedure and it smelled so bad that they sprayed perfume on their masks to help reduce the odor. But I couldn’t smell any thing. I normally smell everything so I have no idea what happened to me that day.

  • Annabelle

    (Please don’t show my email address.) THANK you for your article! This has been a serious issue in my marriage. Spouse’s sister said they were the “stinky kids” in school. She told me the other kids had learned to shower every day but my husband never did. He showers once a week — and has anal leakage. He has no idea how disgusting it is to live with him. I have to ask him to change his clothes. I’m continually working to keep the poop smell out of the furniture. We haven’t slept in the same bed for 25 years. Who wants to share a bed with a person who smells like poop, and whose bed smells like poop?? (He doesn’t have a sex drive, either. He’s initiated sex with me exactly TWICE in 26 years. He gets angry with me because I don’t initiate sex with him after he showers. FINALLY showers.) I stayed married because of my religion. Believe me, the can’t-smell-farts gene is no treat for the spouse! (Incidentally, he said that never, ever, has he detected an odor after I used the bathroom, or even stress sweat after an anxious experience.) If only he’d shower every day, or every other day. PLEASE, PEOPLE WHO CAN’T SMELL FARTS, BE SURE YOU SHOWER OFTEN! LIBERAL POOP ODOR WILL DRIVE YOUR SPOUSE AWAY … IF HE/SHE CAN LEAVE! Annabelle

  • Vero

    I have this too, my friends and family said that I am lucky if I told them that I can’t smell any bad smells, but sometimes I can smell good even weaker. For that reasons, all stuff around me are always cleaned, everything has to be clean in order to avoid the judgment.

  • Suresh Bhave

    Niels, I share your olfactory shortcoming. I cannot, in general, sense bad smells. I pass by garbage heaps that people cross streets to avoid. I cannot smell mercaptan. That is a dangerous shortcoming because the chemical is mixed with bottled LPG which is odorless. The presence of the flammable LPG in the atmosphere is detected by the presence of the offensive smell of mercaptan. I could end up burnt to the crisp by striking a match in a room full of LPG because I cannot smell mercaptan. Fortunately, I can feel the fragrance of good things like flowers, fruits and food. My loss of the sense of smell occurred when I was in my fifties and for no apparent reason. So, I wonder if it is hereditary.

  • Devin

    Wow, I’m not alone. Recently, we changed water heaters in my house, and somebody mentioned that the water stunk. I was surprised, and after a little investigation, I found out that I had been showering in and occasionally drinking sulfuric water for sixteen years. Later that month, I got sprayed by a skunk and couldn’t smell it. Oddly enough, I can smell farts, so I don’t have the exact condition previously mentioned, but I know where to look now. Also, now that I’ve stopped eating milk and eggs, I don’t get sick anymore. So that’s nice.

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