Hyperosmia is a condition in which the person has a heightened sense of smell, usually caused by another condition but in some cases, it can occur on its own. Here we look at the symptoms, causes and treatment of hyperosmia.


  • A heightened sense of smell
  • A dislike to strong and overwhelming smells, sometimes becoming unbearable
  • Discomfort or illness when smelling potent things
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • In rare cases, anxiety or depression

Trigger Smells

  • Certain chemicals
  • Perfumes
  • Scented candles
  • Cleaning products


  • Pregnancy – The hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy can cause hyperosmia. This can lead to increased nausea and vomiting during the pregnancy, however the hypersomia tends to go away once the pregnancy is over.
  • Genetics – Although not fully backed up by science due to lack of research, it is thought that hyperosmia could be partly due to genetic/inherited factors
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Kidney issues
  • Lupus
  • Lyme disease – This attacks the nervous system which in turn can change your sense of smell. Not everyone with Lyme disease will have hyperosmia although the risk is increased
  • Allergies
  • Diabetes
  • Nutrient deficiencies
  • Some prescription medication


Hyperosmia usually improves ones the underlying cause has been treated, and in a lot of cases your smell will return to normal over time even without any treatment. Chewing peppermint gum is thought to help until you are away from offending smells. If there is a growth, polyp or tumour that is causing the hypersomnia then that should be removed. The main thing to do if you are suffering with a heightened sense of smell is to establish the triggers and do all that you can to avoid them until the root cause is pinpointed and treated. Be sure to talk to your doctor to avoid the condition impacting on your everyday life.