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Woman Can't Smell Or Taste Anything Due To Rare Condition

Woman Can't Smell Or Taste Anything Due To Rare Condition

"I don't know what food tastes like. I can't taste hot drinks or anything sweet and spicy."

Claire Reid

Claire Reid

A woman with an ultra-rare condition has no sense of smell and can't taste food.

Gabriella Sanders, 22, says she's 'never been able to smell anything' after being born with a smell disorder but didn't realise she was different until she was taking part in a school project when she was young.

The project was based on the sense and the kids were naming different examples of things that smelt, but Gabriella says she felt left out and had 'no idea what was going on'.

Gabriella Sanders

And it's not just smells that Gabriella misses out on, the condition also impact her ability to taste.

Speaking to Radio 1 Newsbeat, Gabriella said: "I don't know what food tastes like. I can't taste hot drinks or anything sweet and spicy.

"I've never been able to smell anything. It's weird because nobody else in my family history has had this - it's just me and my sister - so it must be something genetic."

Growing up, her inability to smell things left her feeling anxious and Gabriella says she had a massive phobia of fire and was concerned that if the house was ablaze the smell wouldn't wake her up.

Fortunately, she's grown out of that, but says having no sense of smell still has its challenges.

"I remember one time when I was cooking at home," she told Newsbeat. "My mum came home and said the whole house smelt like gas. So that was really worrying.

"Things like that, I've kind of grown up being scared of. But I'm a lot more cautious now and take precautions."

Despite not being to smell, Gabriella, who is a dancer, makes sure to wear deodorant every day, but says things like sweet smelling bath bombs or flowers have never interested her.

She also urges her pals to tell her if she starts to smell a bit iffy.

She added: "I think being open with your friends and people around you is important - telling people to be comfortable in telling you if you smell bad.

"I've always made sure that people around me know I can't smell. So, I say to them 'Please tell me and I won't take offence'.

"I'd rather know than make it unpleasant for everyone else."

Gabriella Sanders

Gabriella says being able to smell isn't 'something she needs' as she doesn't know any different, but admits she would 'love to experience it' and be able to taste things.

A new study from the University of East Anglia has looked into people who have a smell disorder and found that as well as practical problems - such as not being able to smell when food has gone off - people living with smell conditions also face a number of emotional challenges.

Professor Carl Philpott, the study's author, said: "A large number of the participants no longer enjoyed eating, and some had lost appetite and weight. Others were eating more food with low nutritional value that was high in fat, salt and sugar - and had consequently gained weight.

"Participants had lost interest in preparing food and some said they were too embarrassed to serve dishes to family and friends which had an impact on their social lives.

"The inability to link smells to happy memories was also a problem. Bonfire night, Christmas smells, perfumes and people - all gone. Smells link us to people, places and emotional experiences. And people who have lost their sense of smell miss out on all those memories that smell can evoke."

Featured Image Credit: Gabriella Sanders

Topics: UK News, Interesting