Woken by strong sweet cloying smell but no one ... - Thyroid UK

Thyroid UK

113,031 members131,346 posts

Woken by strong sweet cloying smell but no one else can smell it


2 days ago, I woke at 3.20am to an overpowering sweet cloying smell. I woke my husband who couldn't smell anything. I tried to locate the source without success and now 48 hours later it is finally abating. However, I can now smell faint taint like alcohol but have'nt had any for over 2 weeks. I have under active thyroid problem and sinus problem. Could it be that. I felt slightly down when the sweet smell was at its strongest as it tainted all food and drink. Any suggestions would be helpfol.

13 Replies

Hi my advice is you need to go to the GP, and if they do not listen another, it can be a sign of many underlying things, not necessarily serious, but still needs investigation. MaryF x

I agree with Mary.


Many years ago I was on ampicillin (I think - certainly one of that group). For several months afterwards everything stank of it. I could smell it on my skin, in the air, everywhere. Of course, no-one else knew what I was going on about. Eventually it faded. Never happened again.

Has anything happened to you? Dentistry? Change of diet, medicines or supplements?


I had a milder version of this experience after having some kind of penicillin type of antibiotic after a dental implant. My skin, clothes and (sorry) wee smelled of the capsules themselves, not for months, but certainly as long as I had to take the meds.


What's cloying?- Ok I'll google in a tic...

feel for you - my lack of sense of smell/taste is driving me nuts! & wake up with 'phantom' ones esp burning electrics.

and how many times do we NEED to smell things every day - yet my GP quaffed 'when did that happen?' (reported just after thyroid op - but it was sneaking around b4 that) and Yes it could be something else - insist on getting it checked. I've tried allsorts- Zinc & other deficiencies, given up smoking, could just be under medicated I suppose... J :D


I am over-sensitive to smells, good and bad, and can also "smell something" when others don't know what I'm on about. Sometimes if I go back into the room where I've seen a client I can find myself retching with the real/perceived (?) smell even though the client was perfectly hygienic. I love toast but can't bear the smell remaining in the room afterwards. At the weekend I could smell beer and petrol on separate occasions in the house. May be thyroid, or just inherited madness or hypersensitivity lol - my mother famously refused to enter a restaurant when we pulled into the carpark as she said it smelt of food cooking ........

I also have an exaggerated and very inconvenient gag reflex and whether or not it's all linked is anybody's guess.

Thank you all for your replies. In response to some of the questions:

(a) I don't have a heightened sense of smell

(b) I've never smelled odours that were not there before this incident

(c) I am not on additional medications

(d) the smell is rapidly diminishing - I went to an indian restaurant and had a spicy meal and it immediately started to become less strong. I still have it but it is now faint so I am hoping it will dissapear.

(e) My GP would not take this seriously, espcially as it is now fading away so on this occasion, I won't go to see him. If I get a repeat incident, then I will make an appointment.

Your support is so welcome and my thanks to you all.

Heloise in reply to sheilaslims

That was interesting and I used to smell "coffee" around 4 a.m. and also toast as someone else mentioned. This article from Mayo Clinic explains:


I got nasal hallucinations a lot before my meds were optimised (THS<1) I smelt truly horrible smells everywhere it used to drive me nuts. I was never sure if there was a real smell being magnified and distorted or if it was pure fantasy! It is much improved now but I still get the odd bout. It is a hypo symptom.

A couple of months ago all I could smell was petrol! I posted on here at the time. I was and still am undermedicated for hypo so it could be a symptom. However I am more inclined to think it was an infection in my sinus. Cleared up after antibiotics but even now on occasions I think I get a whiff of the petrol but not sure if I'm imaging it!

Oh I can certainly smell infections in my sinuses...but they smell like infections - not nice


Incidentally my sinuses have been a lot better (along with constant post nasal drip) since supplementing B12 and D

My other half smells phantom smells and they can be caused by sinus problems and/or acid reflux

The same thing happened to me just last night. I woke up 1;30 in the morning and I was thinking perhaps someone was drying cloths and had a lot of fabric-softener used. But usually fabric-softener smells fresh. This smell is too strong and too sweet. I had to get up because in the bedroom it was just too strong and I felt nauseated. The smell stayed in my nose even though the living-room seemed ok. I rinsed my sinuses with salt-water , but it didn't change anything. ( I don't have a cold, never had sinus-problems, as far as I know I don't have thyroid problems , I don't have a good sense of smell or taste since I had chemo-therapy 10 years ago)

So this smell is still with me and pretty strong. At the moment I am washing my bedding and everything that was hanging out in the bed-room. I live on my own in a condo I just moved in not to long ago and don't want to ask anyone if they can smell it too.

I was frying onions as part of my dinner....couldn't smell the onions frying but (I can't anymore) but this sweet smell I can.

This never happened before ! It is horrible !

You may also like...