loss of taste (augesis), change in taste (disgevziya, gipogevzija): What's it, causes, symptoms, diagnostics, treatment, prevention

Taste – impaired; Loss of taste; Metallic taste; Dysgeusia; Hypogeusia

What is loss of taste?

loss of taste, also known as ageusia, represents a state, in which the sense of taste is sharply reduced or completely lost. In many cases, only the ability to taste certain types of tastes is reduced or completely absent.. Problems range from distorted taste to complete loss of the sense of taste.. Complete absence of taste is rare..

This may be a sign of an underlying condition and should be discussed with your doctor..

Causes of loss of taste

The tongue can distinguish sweet, salty, sour, savory and bitter tastes. Much of that, what is perceived as "taste", is actually a scent. People, who have taste problems, often have a smell disorder, making it difficult for them to taste food. (Aroma is a combination of taste and smell.)

The sense of taste often decreases after 60 years . Most often, salty and sweet tastes are lost first.. Bitter and sour tastes last a little longer.

Taste problems can be caused by anything., what interrupts the transmission of taste sensations to the brain. It can also be caused by states, which affect that, How does the brain interpret these sensations?.

There are a number of reasons, which can lead to partial or complete loss of taste. Some of the most common cases include:

  • Medicines. Some medications, including antibiotics, neuroleptics and cancer drugs, may interfere with taste.
  • Tumors or injuries. Any brain disorder, responsible for taste, can completely affect the ability to taste. It could be an injury from an accident., tumors or even a stroke.
  • Infection. Thrush or certain other types of oral infections can interfere with taste.
  • Nose irritation. Everything, what causes nasal irritation, may interfere with the ability to taste.
  • Nutrient deficiency. Known, that a lack of B vitamins or zinc leads to ageusia.
  • Aging. Loss of taste is a natural part of the aging process..

Medical causes of taste disturbance include:

  • Bell's palsy
  • Cold
  • Influenza and other viral infections
  • Nose infections, nasal polyps , sinusitis
  • Pharyngitis and acute pharyngitis
  • Salivary gland infections
  • Head injury

Other reasons are:

  • Ear surgery or injury
  • Surgery of the sinus or anterior part of the base of the skull
  • Heavy smoking (especially smoking pipes or cigars)
  • Mouth injury, nose or head
  • Dry mouth
  • Medicines, such as thyroid medications, captopril, griseofulvin, lithium, penicillamine, procarbazine, rifampicin, clarithromycin and certain medicines, used to treat cancer
  • Swollen or inflamed gums ( gingivitis )
  • Vitamin B12 or zinc deficiency

Symptoms of loss of taste

If you notice, that your sense of taste is impaired or completely absent, some general symptoms to be aware of.

  • Decreased sense of smell. Decreased sense of smell, especially for products with a strong odor, may be one of the first signs of loss of taste.
  • Inability to taste. This is the most indicative symptom of ageusia.. In severe cases it may seem, that language has nothing to do with it.
  • No desire to eat. When Food Doesn't Taste Really, it can become unattractive and cause a lack of appetite.
  • Distortion of taste. In some cases, the taste may be distorted, which results in salty, metallic or bitter taste, when it shouldn't taste like this.

When to see a doctor

It's important to talk to your doctor, if you experience loss of taste. Although it may indicate minor health problems, it could also be a sign of something more serious. Check, that you have discussed any associated symptoms and any underlying conditions, which you may have. Your doctor will be able to guide you towards the correct diagnosis and decision.

Questions, that your doctor may ask

Talking to your doctor about loss of taste, he may ask some or all of the following questions, to better assess the condition:

  • How long have you lost your taste?
  • Do you have any other symptoms besides loss of taste?
  • Are you currently taking any medications?, which can affect your sense of taste?
  • Have you had pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes or an autoimmune disease?
  • Do you have allergies or sensitivities?
  • What foods do you usually eat or what flavor do you like?

Diagnosis of loss of taste

To accurately diagnose taste loss, the doctor may first conduct a physical examination. He may also want to take a saliva swab or do a saliva/blood test., to rule out any oral infections.

Depending on the severity of the ageusia, he may also use an MRI or a CT scan., as well as endoscopy, to check for tumors or lesions, causing loss of taste.

Treatment for loss of taste

The most common course of treatment for ageusia will depend on the cause. If the underlying cause is based on infection, it can potentially be treated with antibiotics. If loss of taste is a side effect of a medication, changing the recipe might solve the problem. In severe cases, surgery may be required to repair any injury or damage..

If taste problems are caused by allergies or sinusitis, you can get medicine for nasal congestion. If the drug is to blame, which you accept, you may need to change your dose or switch to a different drug.

home treatment for taste loss

In addition to medical treatment for taste loss, there are several things., that can be done at home, to restore the ability to taste. Some ideas include:

  • Ginger. Taking ginger supplements or drinking ginger tea helps restore your sense of taste.
  • Essential oils. Inhalation of some essential oils, such as lemon or mint, can stimulate the sense of taste.
  • Deep breathing. Taking deep breaths and focusing on smells helps to stimulate the sense of taste..
  • Avoid Sugar. Excessive sugar consumption can weaken the sense of taste over time, so it's important to limit your sugar intake, trying to restore the sense of taste.

Prevention of taste loss

For the prevention of ageusia, it is important to lead a healthy lifestyle.. This may include avoiding excessive alcohol and tobacco use, following a balanced diet, rich in vitamins and minerals, and avoiding any medications or substances, which can affect the sense of taste. Besides, regular check-ups and management of any underlying medical conditions can help reduce the risk of ageusia.

Used sources and literature

Alwani MM, Makki FM, Robbins KT. Physiology of the oral cavity. In: Flint PW, Francis HW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 86.

Block RW, Jen JC. Smell and taste. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 399.

Doty RL, Bromley SM. Disturbances of smell and taste. In: Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, Newman NJ, eds. Bradley and Daroff’s Neurology in Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022: chap 19.

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