Do you have an altered sense of taste? Maybe you’ve noticed a bad taste, taste change, less ability to taste or perhaps no taste at all. Although, a complete lack of taste is rare.
Taste buds basically only identify sour, bitter, salty and sweet. Those more subtle aspects of flavor and taste sensations actually originate via smell. So, what you may think is a taste disorder might actually be caused by a smell issue.
Taste disorders go beyond the simple matter of having a problem with taste. Taste issues are broken down into parageusia, dysgeusia, ageusia or hypogeusia.
Parageusia means you have a bad taste in your mouth. Dysgeusia means you’re going through a taste change and your food may communicate a foul, salty, rancid or metallic taste. And this change in taste may persist far beyond your meal. Dysgeusia is oftentimes accompanied by burning mouth syndrome, glossitis or other oral health conditions.
When you experience less taste then your taste disorder is referred to as hypogeusia. And if you detect no taste, then the taste disorder is called ageusia. However, regardless of which type of taste disorder you have the food you eat won’t taste right.
Taste disorders, whether described as parageusia, dysgeusia, aguesia or hypogeusia, can have numerous causes, such as damage to your taste buds, nerve problems, drug side effects, an infection or other health conditions. Thankfully, many taste disorder causes are only temporary, curable or correctable. Thus, returning your sensation back to a familiar taste.
One of the most common causes for a temporary bad taste, change in taste, lessened taste or a period of no taste are infections. Temporary taste disorders frequently accompany these infectious disease caused health conditions:
- strep throat
- ear infection
- common cold
- nasal infection
- oral yeast infection
- respiratory infection
- salivary gland infection
Some other health related causes for creating taste distortions are:
- dry mouth
- TIA, stroke
- Bell’s palsy
- brain tumor
- nasal polyps
- kidney failure
- tooth extraction
- Sjogren syndrome
- migraine headache
- taste nerve damage
- chemicals ~ insecticides
- fluid, electrolyte imbalance
- aging ~ taste bud decrease
- smoking, smokeless tobacco
- ear, nose, mouth, throat surgery
- head trauma, head injury, concussion
- poor oral hygiene, oral bacteria, bad breath
- hormonal changes ~ pregnancy, menopause
- vitamin, mineral deficiency ~ vitamin B12, zinc
- radioactive iodine therapy ~ treats thyroid cancer
- cancer treatment ~ chemotherapy, radiation therapy
- metabolic, endocrine disorders ~ diabetes, thyroid disease
- dental problems ~ caries, gingivitis, periodontal disease, tooth abscess
Drugs are notorious for causing taste changes, bad taste, reduced taste or no taste. Here’s a sampling of some taste disrupting drugs and what they primarily treat:
- warfarin ~ blood clots
- some HIV/AIDs drugs
- lithium ~ stabilize mood
- venlafaxine ~ depression
- propafenone ~ arrhythmias
- alendronate ~ osteoporosis
- many cancer treatment drugs
- metformin ~ diabetes, obesity
- topiramate ~ seizures, obesity
- olopatadine ~ allergic pink eye
- morphine ~ severe pain reliever
- antibiotics ~ bacteria infections
- dihydroergotamine ~ migraine headaches
- chlorhexidine ~ oral rinse for gum disease
- ACE inhibitors ~ hypertension, heart failure
- antihistamines ~ inflammation, allergic reaction, allergies
- chlordiazepoxide & clidinium bromide combination ~ ulcers, IBS
- captopril & hydrochlorothiazide combination ~ high blood pressure
- dorzolamide & timolol combination ~ eye conditions, including glaucoma
This list can go on and on, but you get the taste of it.
Taste changes can also be a sign of disease, as is sometimes the case with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and diabetes mellitus. For grand mal seizure suffers, taste change is usually a warning sign that one is on its way.