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Dr. F
Dr. F, Board Certified MD
Category: Neurology
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Experience:  Neurosurgeon with more than 20 years experience in practice and teaching.
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Is it true that an acute sense of smell can be a symptom of

Resolved Question:

Is it true that an acute sense of smell can be a symptom of a brain tumour? I have always had a strong sense of smell, but lately I'm finding my nose is becoming more and more sensitive and smells that previously I might not have noticed, or that wouldn't have bothered me, are noticeable and in some cases, obnoxious.

This is not a joke question, I promise, although l am too embarrassed to ask my regular doctor.
Susannah (Sydney, Australia)
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Neurology
Expert:  Dr. F replied 4 years ago.
Dear XXXXXnah In Sydney,

Women are generally blessed with a more acute and sensitive olfactory ability than men, which actually peaks in the 30's.

The effect of brain tumors occurs in 2 ways. First, a type of tumor that grows on top of the olfactory nerve can result in the loss of the ability to smell.

Second, a tumor in the temporal lobe can cause seizures, whose aura or warning is a (usually) noxious odor.

In short, you should be reassured that your sensitivity to odor is more normal than not, and almost certainly not a sign of a brain tumor.
I hope that helps you.

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Dr. F, Board Certified MD
Category: Neurology
Satisfied Customers: 266
Experience: Neurosurgeon with more than 20 years experience in practice and teaching.
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