A partial loss of taste is called dysgeusia. Loss of taste is caused by interruption of the transfer of taste sensations to the brain, or by a problem with the way the brain interprets these sensations. Although taste problems are common, complete loss of taste is rare. The most common pure taste disorder is a phantom taste sensation; this is the perception of a ” bad taste in the mouth” that does not go away. The decreased ability to taste certain types of foods is known medically as hypogeusia; the absence of taste entirely is termed ageusia. Heartburn or gastric reflux is a common cause of loss of taste.
Many medical issues may lead to a loss of taste. Some of these issues are harmless, while others may require a doctor to diagnose them. The type of treatment will depend on the underlying cause. Loss of taste may also result from radiation therapy and medicines, such as antibiotics and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. Taste problems may take months or even years to resolve. Did you know our sense of taste for sweetness and savory begins at birth? Throughout our life, we depend on the five taste senses of sweet, sour, bitter, salty and savory to react to our environment and detect any health issues.
Causes for Loss of Taste
Causes of taste disorders and a loss of taste include:
- upper respiratory infections, such as the common cold
- sinus infections
- Natural aging
- Common cold or flu
- middle ear infections
- poor oral hygiene and dental problems, such as gingivitis
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD
- exposure to some chemicals, such as insecticides
- surgeries on the mouth, throat, nose or ear
- Bell’s palsy, Sjogren’s syndrome, glossitis
- Deficiency of vitamin B12 and zinc
- Chemical exposure
- antifungal medications
- macrolides, which can treat some types of infection
- fluoroquinolones, a type of antibiotics
- proton pump inhibitors
- angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors
- protein kinase inhibitors
- HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins)
Symptoms That Occur with Loss of Taste
A temporary loss of taste can be accompanied by other symptoms, depending on the cause. One of the most common is tasting flavor when nothing is present, known as phantom taste perception. You may also have a reduced taste of a flavor, or hypogeusia. Sinus infection or nasal conditions may present face swelling, pressure or pain, especially around the eyes, nose and forehead regions. Other symptoms may be fever, sore throat, nasal congestion and postnasal drip. Symptoms affecting the digestive system may include bloating, indigestion, heartburn, abdominal pain or even coughing. Signs of a nutrient deficiency are fatigue, diarrhea, brittle nails, loss of appetite or hair, a rash or changes in your tongue.
Loss of taste may accompany other symptoms affecting the digestive system including:
- Abdominal pain
- Abdominal pain
- Salivary gland sym
- Decreased ability to open your mouth
- Dry mouth
- Pain in your face or mouth
- Redness over the side of the face or the upper neck
To help diagnose the loss of taste, the doctor might apply certain chemicals directly to the tongue or add them to a solution that the person then swishes in their mouth. A person’s response to these chemicals may help identify the affected aspect of taste.
Diagnosis is made by an allergist, who will use skin tests and blood tests. There is no cure for seasonal allergies but the symptoms can be managed for greater comfort and relief. Antihistamines, corticosteroid nasal sprays, and immunotherapy or “allergy shots” can be very effective. It can take time to identify both the type of sensory loss that the person is experiencing and the underlying condition, but a correct diagnosis is an important step toward proper treatment. Diagnosis is made through neurological examination, CT scan and/or MRI.If the mass or tumor is found to be benign, that means it is not cancer and not harmful. It may or may not be treated.
Depending on the cause, loss of taste treatment may require a visit to a medical professional. Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics for issues stemming from infections in your salivary glands, throat, and sinus cavity. If you are suffering from the cold, allergies or flu, antihistamines or decongestants may be used. A problem with your central nervous system or an autoimmune disease will call for specific medication to restore your loss of taste. You may just need a supplement to restore a deficiency in nutrients.
Treatment involves corticosteroid medication; drugs to suppress the immune system; and sometimes surgery. There is no cure for sarcoidosis, but it can be managed. Some cases will clear up on their own. If it is malignant, that means it is cancer and must be treated. This will involve some combination of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, followed by specialized therapy to help with recovery.
Home remedies for loss of Taste
We have listed a few powerful substances that may awaken your sense of taste.
- Ginger can stimulate your taste buds as you chew on raw pieces or drink ginger tea.
- Cayenne pepper may help clear any sinus blockage that is causing your impairment of taste.
- Improving dental hygiene by brushing, flossing, and using a medicated mouthwash daily.
- Using over-the-counter antihistamines or vaporizers to reduce inflammation in the nose.
- Lemons are great for the senses and your taste buds could perk up with a slice of the zesty fruit.
- Apple cider vinegar works to stimulate taste buds with its acidic and sour taste. Drink a mixture of one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda in half a glass of water twice a day.
- Cinnamon is a powerful motivator for taste buds. With equal parts of cinnamon and honey, mix together and apply the paste-like substance on your tongue. Rinse with warm water after 10 minutes.
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