NYT: Story on Phantosmia (Phantom Smells)
In the Aug 10, 2009 issue of the New York Times, a story entitled "A Pungent Life: The Smells in My Head," describes the life of an individual who suffers from phantosmia, a frustrating disorder where a person smells disagreeable odors that is not actually present. Such odors range from raw sewage/garbage to burning.
Though actual physical pathology may cause this symptom including brain tumors, sinus infection, nasal polyps, etc. Too often, everything comes back normal.
Though an otolaryngologist is usually the first person to see regarding this problem, unless there is something physically wrong, we don't have much more to offer.
There are "smell specialists" throughout the United States who are able to offer more in terms of medical management. Thankfully, at least here in Northern Virginia, there is a smell specialist in Washington DC.
Taste and Smell Clinic
Read the NYT article here.