ZocdocAnswersWhat is making me lose my sense of taste?

Question

What is making me lose my sense of taste?

In the last month I feel like my sense of taste is going away. It just seems harder and harder to taste things, like I have to use a lot of salt and spices. Is something wrong with my tongue? Can you damage or lose your taste buds?

Answer

In otherwise healthy people, a change in their sense of taste is usually related to an upper respiratory problem. This occurs because sense of taste is closely related to acuity of the sense of smell, and anything that impairs the sense of smell will cause a change in the acuity of taste as well. For example, impaired taste is very common in those who have nasal polyps, frequent throat infections, or chronic sinus congestion. If you have symptoms such as sore throat, cough, sneezing, or nasal congestion, these are probably related to the change in your ability to taste foods. The first step would be to go see your primary care doctor, who can perform a thorough examination and help figure out what might be the upper respiratory cause. Very effective treatments are available for all of these conditions. Occasionally, loss of taste sensation can be related to other problems as well. For example, bad oral hygiene or tooth infections can cause a loss of taste. Similarly, some vitamin deficiencies, such as iron deficiency or B vitamin deficiency may cause inflammation of the tongue and loss of taste. Regardless, the first step is to see your doctor for a good check up!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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