Bitter Taste or Loss of Taste

Mouth | Otorhinolaryngology | Bitter Taste or Loss of Taste (Symptom)


A bitter taste in the mouth caused by other factors than a bitter substance, represents a taste sense disorder. A constant bad taste in the mouth, either bitter, metallic or foul, is called dysgeusia. A lack of, or change in, taste often occurs when something interferes with the normal taste process. Some people are more sensitive to bitter tastes because they can taste a bitter compound called phenylthiocarbamide (PTC).


Common causes of a bitter taste in the mouth include vomiting and acid reflux, although these conditions do not generally cause a permanent bitter taste. Pregnancy or taking certain medications, such as antibiotics, may result in a temporary bitter taste in the mouth as well. The sense of taste can also be impaired or distorted permanently from long-term smoking or injuries to the mouth, nose or head.

Some other reasons for bitter taste in the mouth can include: dental problems such as gingivitis, gum infections, gum diseases, tooth abscesses and pyorrhea; Acid Reflux Sickness, also known as Gastro Esophageal Reflux Disease; illnesses like jaundice, diabetes, cancer, liver or kidney failure; bad oral hygiene; hormonal imbalance, metal poisoning. Other causes may be: middle ear and upper respiratory infections, radiation treatment for cancers of the neck and head, contact with certain chemicals, such as pesticides, and some medications including some common antihistamines or some surgeries of the ear, nose, and throat.

Dysgeusia is sometimes accompanied by burning mouth syndrome, a condition in which a person experiences a painful burning sensation in the mouth. Although it can affect anyone, burning mouth syndrome is most common in middle-aged and older women.

Diagnosis and Treatment

In order to diagnose the loss of test it might be done multiple tests like: Physical examination-inspection of the mouth, teeth, ears, nose and throat for signs of glossitis, gingivitis, stomatitis, dental caries, rhinitis and hay fever, Blood tests- Raised Immunoglobulin levels and presence of certain autoantibodies may suggest diagnosis of Sjogren's syndrome - e. g. Rheumatoid factor, antinuclear antibodies, antimitochondrial antibodies, Anti-Ro (SSA) antibodies.


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