What are some taste disorders?
The most common taste disorders involve
- Phantom taste perception: A lingering, unpleasant taste in the mouth without the presence of any substance.
- Hypogeusia: Reduced ability to taste sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami.
- Ageusia: Loss of all taste.
- Dysgeusia: Persistence of foul, salty, rancid or metallic taste in the mouth.
A loss of smell may accompany taste disorders; hence, it would be difficult to distinguish between the two.
Taste disorders may be related to certain health conditions, such as
What causes a taste disorder?
Some people are born with a taste disorder, but most of them develop it after an injury or illness. Other causes of taste disorders include
How does your sense of taste work?
Taste cells or gustatory cells are scattered throughout the tongue. When you chew food or drink, some molecules from food are released that stimulate the taste cells. The taste cells then send messages to the brain and the brain can identify the taste. Receptors in the taste cells respond to one of the five basic taste qualities: sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami.
The sensations like the coolness of mint and the burning or irritation of chili pepper are not taste sensations. These are identified via separate chemosensory mechanisms.
Smell and taste are interrelated probably because when you smell the aroma of food, you can enjoy the taste of food. However, without smell, food tastes bland and has little flavor.
Aromas activate the sense of smell through a special channel which connects the roof of the throat to the nose.
How can taste disorders be diagnosed?
An otolaryngologist or an ENT doctor diagnoses taste disorders by
- Measuring the lowest concentration of taste quality that you can recognize
- Asking you to compare the tastes of different foods
- Asking you to do the sip, spit and rinse test
- Applying chemicals directly to specific areas of the tongue
- Doing a physical examination of the ears, nose and throat
- Administering the scratch and sniff test
How are taste disorders treated?
Treatment may include
- Treating the underlying medical condition
- Stopping or changing medicines that contribute to the disorder
- Surgical removal of obstructions that may be causing the disorder
- Quitting smoking
Some tips that may help make food taste better include
- Preparing foods with a variety of foods and colors
- Using aromatic herbs and spices to make the dish more flavorful
- If your doctor permits, adding small amounts of cheese, bacon bits, olive oil or toasted nuts on vegetables to enhance flavor
- Avoiding combination dishes that may dilute individual flavors and taste
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top What Are Some Taste Disorders Related Articles
Ear Infections: All About Ear ConditionsWhat's that? I can't hear you. Maybe it's tinnitus, or impacted ear wax, or cauliflower ear (yup, that's a thing). Find out what may be ailing your ears in this slideshow.
Ear Infection SlideshowLearn about the causes and symptoms of ear infections and how they are diagnosed and treated. Read about treatments such as ear tubes and antibiotics, which could prevent future ear infections.
Dental Health QuizTake the Dental Health Quiz to test your IQ of oral hygiene, cavities, and common tongue and gum diseases. This quiz covers healthy mouths and teeth from brushing to flossing and everything in between check-ups!
Diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2)Diabetes is a chronic condition characterized by high levels of sugar (glucose) in the blood. The two types of diabetes are referred to as type 1 (insulin dependent) and type 2 (non-insulin dependent). Symptoms of diabetes include increased urine output, thirst, hunger, and fatigue. Treatment of diabetes depends on the type.
What Is the Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer's?Dementia is a group of symptoms (syndrome) characterized by a decline in memory, thinking and reasoning. Although dementia is a cluster of symptoms, Alzheimer’s is a slowly progressive disorder of the brain that destroys memory and thinking skills.
Middle Ear Infection (Otitis Media)Middle ear infection (otitis media) is inflammation of the middle ear. There are two forms of this type of ear infection, acute and chronic. Acute otitis media is generally short in duration, and chronic otitis media generally lasts several weeks. Babies, toddlers, and children with a middle ear infection may be irritable, pull and tug at their ears, and experience numerous other symptoms and signs. Treatment depends upon the type of ear infection.
Ear Infection QuizIs it possible to prevent ear infections? Take the Ear Infection (Otitis Media) Quiz to learn the risks, causes, symptoms and treatments for the common ear infection.
Fun Facts About Your TongueIs your tongue the strongest muscle in the body? Can you see your taste buds? How long is the average tongue? Learn fun facts about your tongue and taste buds!
Head Injury (Brain Injury)In the United States, head injuries are one of the most common causes of death and disability. Head injuries due to bleeding are generally classified by the location of the blood within the skull, these include epidural hematoma, subdural hematoma, subarachnoid bleed, intracranial bleed, sheer injury, edema, and skull fracture. Some common symptoms of a head injury include vomiting, bleeding from the ear, speech difficulties, paralysis, difficulty swallowing, and body numbness. Treatment of a head injury depends on the type and severity of the injury.
Inner Ear Infection (Symptoms, Signs, Treatments, Home Remedies)An inner ear infection or otitis interna is caused by viruses or bacteria and can occur in both adults and children. An inner ear infection can cause symptoms and signs, for example, a severe ear, dizziness, vertigo, nausea and vomiting, and vertigo. An inner ear infection also may cause inflammation of the inner ear or labyrinthitis. Inner ear infections are not contagious; however, the bacteria and viruses that cause the infection can be transmitted to other people. Good hygiene practices will help decrease the chances of the infection spreading to others. Inner ear infection symptoms and signs like ear pain and nausea may be relieved with home remedies or over the counter (OTC) medication. Some inner ear infections will need to be treated and cured with antibiotics or prescription pain or antinausea medication.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)Multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms vary from person to person, and can last for days to months without periods of remission. Symptoms of MS include sexual problems and problems with the bowel, bladder, eyes, muscles, speech, swallowing, brain, and nervous system. The early symptoms and signs of multiple sclerosis usually start between age 20 and 40. MS in children, teens, and those over age 40 is rare. Treatment options for multiple sclerosis vary depending on the type and severity of symptoms. Medications may be prescribed to manage MS symptoms.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)Multiple sclerosis or MS is an autoimmune disorder in which brain and spinal cord nerve cells become demyelinated. This damage results in symptoms that may include numbness, weakness, vertigo, paralysis, and involuntary muscle contractions. Different forms of MS can follow variable courses from relatively benign to life-threatening. MS is treated with disease-modifying therapies. Some MS symptoms can be treated with medications.
Parkinson's DiseaseParkinson's disease is a slowly progressive neurological disease characterized by a fixed inexpressive face, a tremor at rest, slowing of voluntary movements, a gait with short accelerating steps, peculiar posture and muscle weakness, caused by degeneration of an area of the brain called the basal ganglia, and by low production of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Most patients are over 50, but at least 10 percent are under 40.
Taste DisordersThe most common taste disorder is phantom taste perception; that is, a lingering, often unpleasant taste even though you have nothing in your mouth. We also can experience a reduced ability to taste sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and umami, a condition called hypogeusia. Some people cannot detect any tastes, which is called ageusia.
Type 2 DiabetesType 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that may be reversible with diet and lifestyle changes. Symptoms include excessive thirst, frequent urination, weight loss, fatigue, and an unusual odor to your urine. Most people don't know they have type 2 diabetes until they have a routine blood test. Treatment options include medications, a type 2 diabetes diet, and other lifestyle changes.