Fibromyalgia connected to problems with sense of smell

Lana Bandoim's picture

A new study from researchers at Tel-Aviv University reveals that fibromyalgia has a connection to problems with the sense of smell. Fibromyalgia patients were compared to a control group and a separate group of systemic sclerosis patients. The findings expose that people who suffer from fibromyalgia have the worst sense of smell compared to the other two groups in the study.


The sense of smell may not seem important to some people, but it can affect the quality of life. Although some may joke that people who have trouble smelling are free from suffering if exposed to garlic, the problem can have an impact on taste and other functions. Some sensitivity is naturally lost as people age, but fibromyalgia sufferers are discovering issues that do not appear to be connected to their age.

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The researchers from Tel-Aviv University report that they used the Sniffin' Sticks test on the three groups of patients. After comparing the numbers, the fibromyalgia group scored the lowest and had the worst sense of smell. One of the limits of the study was that it only included women and a small number of participants. Researchers hope to continue to examine this phenomenon and try to discover why smell is affected by this disorder.

There have been connections between problems with the sense of smell and autoimmune disorders. Compared to the control group, the systemic sclerosis patients scored lower on the smell test. However, their numbers were still higher than the fibromyalgia group. It is not clear why the condition affects this sense. Some fibromyalgia patients claim they have a heightened sense of smell and disagree with the study’s findings. Considering the variety of symptoms associated with the condition, it is not unusual to find variations in the population.

Read more about fibromyalgia:
Memantine drug shows promise for fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia study focuses on brain stimulation to fight pain


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The probable reason for poor sense of smell in fibromyalgia patients would have to do with changes in the brain that may be in part similar to those of Alzheimer's patients, who frequently lose their sense of smell years before signs of dementia appear.
I have never associated my lack of smell to fibromyalgia.
Interesting given that my sense of smell seems to work overtime. I often smell things that no one else does and it drives me crazy.
I have the same problem as Julie. I can't walk through a Marks & Spencers because the smell of the food is so strong it makes me feel ill.