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Kallmann syndrome & lack of sense of smell

February 5, 2011

One of the supposedly minor symptoms of Kallmann syndrome (KS) is anosmia, or the total lack of the sense of smell.

Some people with Kallmann syndrome will have hyposmia, which is a markedly reduced sense of smell.

A delay of puberty associated with a lack of sense of smell should alert doctors to a possible case of KS and should prompt further investigations.

The condition hypogonadotrophic hypogonadism (HH) is almost identical to KS apart from the fact there is no reduction in the sense of smell.

The lack of sense of smell is probably the one symptom of KS that gets noticed by other people first, but it is also the one that normally produces the fewest problems for people with KS as they have never had the sense of smell in the first place. People with KS can still taste food & flavours but perhaps the fine distinction of some flavours is lost without the sense of smell.

However issues for people with KS to bear in mind with the lack of ability to smell:

  • Personal hygiene / body odour. Something that might be noticed by co-workers or people in social situations where people with KS might be totally aware of a problem. Over use of perfume & deodorant can be a problem as  well. It is a problem that can cause other people discomfort and they may feel unable to or be too embarrassed to tell the person with KS  face to face that they have an odour problem.


  • Gas leaks from boilers or cookers. The use of gas alarms or detectors would be advisable.


  • Food wastage / spoilage. While there is sometimes a bit of leeway with expiry dates and sell by dates on foods these days extra care should be taken, especially with dairy produce. Most people with KS have drunk out dated milk at some stage in their life, and it is not a pleasant experience.
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