Taste Disorders (cont.)

Can taste disorders be treated?

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Diagnosis by an otolaryngologist is important to identify and treat the underlying cause of your disorder. If a certain medication is the cause, stopping or changing your medicine may help eliminate the problem. (Do not stop taking your medications unless directed by your doctor, however.) Often, the correction of a general medical problem can correct the loss of taste. For example, people who lose their sense of taste because of respiratory infections or allergies may regain it when these conditions resolve. Occasionally, a person may recover his or her sense of taste spontaneously. Proper oral hygiene is important to regaining and maintaining a well-functioning sense of taste. If your taste disorder can't be successfully treated, counseling may help you adjust to your problem.

If you lose some or all of your sense of taste, here are things you can try to make your food taste better:

  • Prepare foods with a variety of colors and textures.
  • Use aromatic herbs and hot spices to add more flavor; however, avoid adding more sugar or salt to foods.
  • If your diet permits, add small amounts of cheese, bacon bits, butter, olive oil, or toasted nuts on vegetables.
  • Avoid combination dishes, such as casseroles, that can hide individual flavors and dilute taste.

Are taste disorders serious?

Taste disorders can weaken or remove an early warning system that most of us take for granted. Taste helps you detect spoiled food or liquids and, for some people, the presence of ingredients to which they are allergic.

Loss of taste can create serious health issues. A distorted sense of taste can be a risk factor for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other illnesses that require sticking to a specific diet. When taste is impaired, a person may change his or her eating habits. Some people may eat too little and lose weight, while others may eat too much and gain weight.

Loss of taste can cause you to add too much sugar or salt to make food taste better. This can be a problem for people with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure. In severe cases, loss of taste can lead to depression.

If you are experiencing a taste disorder, talk with your doctor.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/1/2014

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