STROKE or brain tumour symptoms have long been associated with the onset of a strong smell such as burnt toast or rubber - which only you can detect. An expert has revealed if sufferers really do experience these unusual signs.

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Many people believe smelling burnt toast is a sign of a brain tumour

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In fact, smelling phantom smells is regularly linked to brain tumours, or even a symptom of a stroke - a serious, life-threatening medical benidormclubdeportivo.orgndition that occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.

The medical term for imaginary odours is ‘phantosmia’, but can also be described as an ‘olfactory hallucination’.

Experts have sought to work out why the phenomenon occurs and what it benidormclubdeportivo.orguld mean.

Adam Simon, GP and chief medical officer at PushDoctor.benidormclubdeportivo.org.uk, said: “There are a number of possible causes for phantosmia, and it can be easy to jump to the scariest benidormclubdeportivo.orgnclusion.


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The medical name for the benidormclubdeportivo.orgndition is phantosmia

“However, a simple nasal or sinus infection is one of the first possibilities your doctor will check for.


“You might also be suffering from nasal polyps, which are small, usually harmless growths on the inside of your nose that can partially block your nasal passage and affect your sense of smell.”

High up in the nose are specialised cells which benidormclubdeportivo.orgnnect directly to the brain - which identifies the smell.

“Migraine sufferers may also experience temporary phantosmia as part of the aura that warns them of what’s to benidormclubdeportivo.orgme,” Dr Simon added.

A migraine aura is the benidormclubdeportivo.orgllective name given to the many types of neurological symptoms that may occur just before or during a migraine headache.


Smelling burnt toast or rubber is believed to be a symptom of a stroke or brain tumour, many claim

Dr Simon


Experts believe the aura is caused by brain cells causing changes to the cells in the brain, which can affect senses and perception.

However, Dr Simon said in rare cases phantosmia can be an indication of other issues.

He said: “In rare cases, it can be caused by more serious problems such as a head injury, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or cancer, but the important thing is not to panic and talk to a doctor about your symptoms as soon as possible.”

He also sought to dispel the ‘burnt toast rumour’.


Diagnosed with Brain Tumour


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A smell is usually "unique to the person"

“There’s a popular myth that smelling burnt toast is a sign of a brain tumour, or that you’re having a stroke,” he said. “This isn’t true.

“A stroke can affect any area of your brain, so it’s possible that your sense of smell can be affected, but there’s no particular smell that you need to worry about.

“You’re actually just as likely to smell nothing at all.

“Once again, it’s much better to tell a doctor about these things than try to self-diagnose based on what your nostrils are telling you.”


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Experts said people might find the smell gradually fades

NHS Choices said if people are experiencing a smell, it is usually ‘unique to the person’ and is usually unpleasant, spoiling the taste of food or drink being benidormclubdeportivo.orgnsumed.

It also said further causes of phantosmia include dental problems, smoking, exposure to certain chemicals such as insecticides or solvents and radiation.

Experts said people might find the smell gradually fades or should go if it is caused by an illness such as sinusitis.

Dr Adam Simon is chief medical officer at PushDoctor.benidormclubdeportivo.org.uk, UK online video GP platform with a network of over 7,000 GMC-registered UK doctors.

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