dysgeusia symptoms

Dr.Binu Babu, Consultant-ENT, Aster Medical Centre, Al Hilal , Qatar

Dysgeusia is altered sensorium of taste, where a person either doesn't have or cannot identify the correct sense of taste. The sense of taste is mainly considered as sweet, sour and bitter. There are specific areas of the tongue for each sense of taste. Most people immediately become aware when the taste is altered.

Symptoms of Dysgeusia

The main symptoms of Dysgeusia have to do with how you perceive taste. People may find that foods have lost their sweetness or saltiness, and food might taste sour, rotten, or metallic. People with this condition also might have it in tandem with burning mouth syndrome, where your mouth has a burning sensation that causes pain. Dysgeusia can have other symptoms like bad breath, gastric discomfort, nausea, rise in temperature, and dry mouth. Sometimes it is difficult to make out if it is the sense of taste or smell that one has lost. 

Inflammation and infection of the upper respiratory tract, sinuses, mouth, and tongue can result in altered taste. Symptoms may arise from inflammatory conditions, infections, or diseases that affect the taste buds of the tongue responsible for the sensation of taste. Gastrointestinal reflux disease has a similar effect on the surface of the tongue, which may be damaged by gastric acid and bile. Swelling of the tongue can cause the taste pores on it to close. This can sometimes indicate vitamin deficiencies, such as a lack of Vit B12.

The sense of taste can be affected in different degrees and each needs to be tested. Commonly the sense of taste is evaluated by sodium chloride (salty), sucrose (sweet), citric acid (sour), and quinine hydrochloride or coffee (bitter). To assess taste intensities, patients are used as their own control, and the differences between the right and the left sides of the mouth are evaluated.  Treatment will differ as per the diagnosis since Dysgeusia is a symptom, not a disease.

You can also go through our other article which talks about Anosmia - sense of smell loss