Taste Disorder: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 2/16/2021

Taste disorders are conditions that impair the sense of taste in the mouth. These can include phantom taste perception, which is a lingering, often unpleasant taste unrelated to anything in the mouth. Hypogeusia is the reduced ability to taste sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and savory (umami). Dysgeusia is a condition in which a foul, salty, rancid, or metallic sensation persists in the mouth. Ageusia is the inability to detect any tastes, which is rare.

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Taste disorders may occur from birth or may be acquired due to many causes including exposure to toxins or chemicals, radiation therapy to the head and neck, ear infections, head injury, dental problems, or reactions to certain medications. Disorders of the sense of smell are often mistaken for taste disorders.

Other taste disorder symptoms and signs

  • Foul, Rancid, or Metallic Sensation in the Mouth
  • Inability to Detect Tastes
  • Reduced Ability to Taste Sweet, Savory (Umami), Salty, Sour, and Bitter
  • Unpleasant Taste Unrelated to Anything in the Mouth


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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.