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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5210
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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Hello Doctor Bonnie, I have read a relating OKMH921100

Resolved Question:

Hello Doctor Bonnie, I have read a relating post that you've answered regarding someone smelling urine everywhere. I would like to know if anything can help relieve the olfactory hallucination? I, too, have been smelling urine everywhere for the past two-weeks. I tried to seek the source of the urine smell but cannot locate it (when I put my face against the carpet, the bed, couch, curtains and sniff everything, they do not give off a urine smell but there is always a urine smell somewhere in the air.) Especially before I fall asleep at night, when I lay in bed at night is when the smell is most pungent and lingers to the point that it triggers my migraine headache- smells like my bed was soaked in a pool of urine because it is so strong. I smell urine through out the day too, although no one else can smell the urine smell. I was told to visit a doctor specialized in internal, but I cannot afford to. Would there be long term effect to my problem? Is there anything I can do to help relieve what I am always smelling? I have tried powdering the carpet and vacuuming, steam cleaning, using air fresheners, and opening the windows all of the time when I am at home. Thank you for your time.

Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

Dr. Z :

Hello I believe I can help you with your concern. Actually Dr. Bonnie does not have privileges in the Mental Health category and is mainly an expert in the Child Development and Relationship categories, but I am more than willing to help you if you like.

Customer: The reason why I asked Dr. Bonnie is because she answered the only question on this site that seems relatable to me. I apologize for not considering her specialties. I truly appreciate it if you can help answer my questions, Thank you Dr. Z for your time and considerations.
Dr. Z :

It is okay I understand, it is not often that olfactory hallucinations, or phantosmia, is encountered so that is probably why you only saw one expert answer a similar question. I would like to ask you a few questions to get more information, so that I can give you the best possible answer

Dr. Z :

You mentioned that this symptom of smelling urine everywhere started two weeks ago, do you only smell it in your home or other places as well?

Dr. Z :

Also have you had any recent head trauma?

Dr. Z :

Or do you suffer from seizures at all?

Dr. Z :

Okay so if phantosmia is your only symptom then most likely this is not a psychotic disorder (e.g. schizophrenia) as usually auditory and visual hallucinations are associated with psychosis, as well as thought disturbances, and delusions.

Dr. Z :

Typically phantosmia is can be caused by a head trauma, temporal lobe seizures, upper respiratory infections, and migraines.

Dr. Z :

So you mentioned that migraine headaches are a result of the urine smell, but the migraines also may be a cause to and you are in a never ending cycle where the migraines cause the phantosmia of urine and this increases your migraines.

Dr. Z :

So because you cannot afford to see a specialist (a neurologist would be best for this) then it would be hard to appropriately treat the problem without first finding out the cause.

Dr. Z :

The use of outside environmental air fresheners, powders, etc... will not lessen the extent of you smelling urine because the cause of your phantosmia is from the inside in your brain.

Dr. Z :

Or there is a likelihood that an upper respiratory infection damaged your olfactory senses to cause this smell, which would mean that the cause would not be in your brain

Dr. Z :

Still no matter what, the use of airfreshners and other similar items will not mask this smell because the cause is internal and finding the internal cause is your best bet to help lessen the symptoms.

Dr. Z :

I wish there was a quick fix for this, but usually a neurologist will run tests to rule out head trauma and seizures as a likely cause.

Dr. Z :

I am hopeful that this phantosmia is caused by migraines and thus the treatment would be more straightforward.

Dr. Z :

In addition, there is a possibility that a tumor could be the cause of this phatosmia, which is more reason to see a neurologist and get a MRI scan of the brain to rule that out as well.

Dr. Z :

Here are a couple good links that can provide you with more information on this

Dr. Z :

For treatment on phantosmia, it really depends on what the cause is. Some individuals respond well to antidepressant and antiseizure medications. If it is a physical problem like damage to the olfactory bulbs or possibly a tumor, the the phantosmia may respond and resolve with surgery. If it is just damage to the nasal cavity, then a nasal spray may be effective as well

Dr. Z :

I see that you are offline right now, but when you get back online I would be very interested in continuing this discussion with you and talking about anything further you would like to share regarding your concern, so if you respond in the chat box I will be able to get back to you as soon as possible.

Customer: Thank you so much for all of the information Dr. Z, I apologize for being abruptly disconnect, I didn't have connection at the area I was in. I did not have any injuries to my head nor am I suffering from any concussion. I also haven't had any seizures before. Further, I have been having migraine headaches for years now, the urine smell doesn't cause it, it just triggers the migraine to come back. From the information you've provided me with, I guess my migraines could be causing these smells. I have tried cleaning my home with said methods and it did not help at all.
Dr. Z :

No worries, I understand how the internet connection can do that. It is possible that migraine headaches may have worsened over time and that is why they have been causing this urine smell for the last 2 weeks. That is my hope because obviously the other possibilities for this are more frightening and less likely given your age

Dr. Z :

But yes when cleaning the home and using air fresheners are not helping this is definitely an internal issue and needs to be addressed as such. Phantosmia is a unique symptom and there are many possible causes for this, so that is why it is important to rule out all conditions that can cause this to appropriately treat it.

Customer: I have saved the links you sent. If in the future I have the means to see a neurologist, I will. Currently, I am happy with being able to identify the probable problem that I am having. I have visited a clinic before regarding my migraine headache and the doctor said the severity of the migraine is because of the depression that I've been suffering from. I've been prescribed celexa but it didn't help, instead the side-effect of the drug made me feel worse. Anyways, thank you so much for your help and the extent of time and information you have given me.
Dr. Z :

Well there is an antidepressant out there called Venflaxine (Effexor) that has been know to help individuals cure their phantosmia, so that may be effective for your depression, migraines, and then phantosmia. So you may want to try that.

Dr. Z :

*Venlafaxine

Customer: Thank you again for all of your help! You're amazing :D I hope all of your days are as wonderful as you are.
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5210
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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