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.

Last edited by

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.

  • 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...