Monday, January 30, 2012

Why Everything Tastes Like Soap to Me: The Correlation Between Hyper-olfaction and Adrenal Insufficiency

A fellow HPAA Suppression buddy turned me on to this ancient study from 1966:

"In adrenal insufficiency the olfactory sensitivity was roughly 100,000 times (range 103 to 108) more acute than that in the normal subjects.

Treatment with prednisolone, 20 mg per day,returned olfactory thresholds to normal in every patient within the first day, frequently before any change in serum electrolyte concentrations or body weight. When treatment with prednisolone was stopped, the increased olfactory sensitivity did not reappear for 5 to 7 days, or 1 to 3 days after taste sensitivity had become maximal."


Saturday, the day I caved and took 5mg so I didn't kill people with my car, I experienced intense anti-hunger. Nothing tasted right. We indulged in our little Falafel fetish and I couldn't eat it despite greedy anticipation. It didn't taste right. Hubby thought it was fine, so I assumed it was just me being me.

The Fatoush salad tasted okay, but I couldn't eat it either and kept starting a bite only to put the fork back down.

(Oddly enough the restaurant did not agree with our systems and I wonder if, perhaps, my sensory overload is actually able to pick up on problems with food. The last time I was the only one who thought something tasted funny, there was a food recall.)

I've also taken to running a second rinse in the dishwasher, otherwise, everything I eat tastes like Cascade. I'm the only one affected this way. It all tastes fine to everyone else.

My sense of smell is definitely more sensitive than it was even during pregnancy. I haven't bothered to correlate it with when I'm feeling insufficient vs. normal, but it definitely showed up to party on Saturday.

Sunday was better, but then I exercised, which means Monday has pretty much sucked. I have dialed down the intensity on the workouts, aiming for very low impact with minimal strength work, but even that is, apparently, too much. Zippo appetite today and just farking exhausted.

Work has been productive though. I'm in the throes of a story that has me by the throat. I went grocery shopping at Costco and the story was playing in 3D in the back of my mind the whole time--it's like living in a dream state that is constantly demanding you sit down and listen. It won't last so I'm trying to maximize writing time to get it all out before it goes *poof*.


  1. Wow. I had no idea that adrenal insufficiency had that effect. Yuck.

    Good luck with your story, sounds like you are on a roll!

  2. Maybe you should make a 3D movie out of it.

    Yumm costco. Miss their samples. Was my favourite thing to do on days off. Often double rounding on the best ones.

  3. I just Googled "everything tastes like soap" and was stunned to see the correlation to adrenal insufficiency in your blog. I've been recovering from adrenal crash (stage 4 Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome)over the last year to three years. My insufficiency became so severe that I was collapsing several times per day (felt like paralysis) and was bedridden for one year. I'm normally a very assertive, active person so this had me completely thrown.

    I also have chronic daily migraine (along with a few other medical issues). My migraine aura is not visual; it's olfactory which is rare. I smell things that don't appear to be present before I get the worst migraines I have. I've always said, too, that my super power is my sense of smell. At times, this can be frustrating.

    I recently had to move twice in two month's time, and the stress of these events amped up my adrenal fatigue symptoms (they were mostly under control). I'm in a much more peaceful state now, but suddenly everything I eat tastes like soap! It's awful.

    At any rate, I'm happy to see the correlation here, because I needed some kind of answer, and this one makes sense.

    Thanks for posting it!

    Julie (also a writer)

    P.S. I recently wrote a book on AFS for a client. I've been looking at the relationship to childhood trauma and disease/illness and know that there certainly is one with adrenal insufficiency in many people.


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