- Taste disorders facts*
- How common are taste disorders?
- How does our sense of taste work?
- What are the taste disorders?
- What causes taste disorders?
- How are taste disorders diagnosed?
- Are taste disorders serious?
- Can taste disorders be treated?
- What research is being done?
- Patient Comments: Taste Disorders - Experience
- Patient Comments: Taste Disorders - Causes
- Find a local Ear, Nose, & Throat Doctor in your town
Taste disorders facts*
*Urethral cancer facts by John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP
- The most common taste disorder is phantom taste perception, which is a lingering, often unpleasant taste even though you have nothing in your mouth. Another type of taste disorder is hypogeusia, a reduced ability to taste sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and savory (umami). Dysgeusia is a condition in which a foul, salty, rancid, or metallic taste sensation will persist in the mouth. Ageusia is the inability to detect any tastes, which is rare.
- Often, people who feel they have a problem with their sense of taste are experiencing a loss of smell instead of a loss of taste.
- Some people are born with taste disorders. Other causes include upper respiratory and middle ear infections, radiation therapy for cancers of the head and neck, exposure to certain chemicals, some antibiotics and antihistamines, head injury, surgery to the ear, nose, and throat, poor oral hygiene, and dental problems.
- Many types of taste disorders are curable when the underlying cause is diagnosed. If a medication is the cause, adjusting or changing the medication may help. If the taste disorder is due to an upper respiratory infection or allergy, once the condition is treated, the sense of taste returns to normal. Proper oral hygiene can also resolve some taste disorders.
- If you lose some or all of your sense of taste you can make your food taste better by preparing foods with a variety of textures, and using herbs and hot spices.
How common are taste disorders?
Many of us take our sense of taste for granted, but a taste disorder can have a negative effect on a person's health and quality of life. If you are having a problem with your sense of taste, you are not alone. More than 200,000 people visit a doctor each year for problems with their chemical senses, which include taste and smell.
The senses of taste and smell are very closely related. Some people who go to the doctor because they think they have lost their sense of taste are surprised to learn that they have a smell disorder instead. To learn more about your sense of smell, read the NIDCD fact sheet Smell Disorders.
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