Metallic Taste in Mouth: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment
If your mouth tastes like metal, it may be the cause of a medical condition known as parageusia. You can get a sudden metallic taste in mouth, or it could develop over longer periods. To understand why you are getting an iron taste in your mouth, you must initially understand how taste works.
How Does the Sense of Taste Work?
Wondering why there is metallic taste in my mouth? The taste we get is the two-phase chemical reaction of our mouth and throat, and our nose. Human beings are born with about 10,000 taste buds on our tongue, throats, and mouth roof. Saliva plays an essential role because it helps to transport the taste we receive in our taste buds.
We have taste buds with around 10-50 cells that are responsible for initiating the taste action and are replenished in about 7-10 days. Human beings tend to begin to lose their taste buds by reaching the age of 50-60.
Taste sensation initiates with the odors and smells around us that stimulate nerves in a small area high in the nose. All types of smell stimulate the brain and affect the actual flavors of our food. We feel the taste like the food we eat gets mixed with the saliva that activates the taste buds.
Causes of Metallic Taste in Mouth
Metallic taste in your mouth is a common side effect of various medications. Dozens of medicines tend to make changes in taste as a repercussion; it may be among the reasons why you may have a metallic taste in the tongue. Antibiotics and antihistamines are the common medication that may cause a constant metallic taste in the mouth.
This condition is only temporary and is treated when your medications are completed. Cancer chemotherapy medicines can also produce a metallic taste in the mouth as a side effect.
Certain vitamin pills that have an excess amount of zinc, copper, or iron, can also cause a metallic taste simply due to their ingredients. Women usually experience this when taking prenatal vitamins. They may get a metallic taste in the mouth after eating.
Know All The Causes
There are also other causes for weird metallic taste in the mouth. Read the following for all the causes:
Poor Oral Health or Gum Disease
Gingivitis is a condition that usually occurs from poor oral hygiene. You may suffer from this if you are doing the following:
- Not going for a regular dental check-up
- No brushing
- Not flossing
You should check whether or not you are doing the above mentioned actions before asking “Why does my mouth taste like metal?
Bleeding gums are also the reason for the metallic taste in your mouth. It is not a severe medical condition. Blood is rich in iron. It can also be one of the causes of metallic taste in the mouth. If you have gum disease, you should get it treated without delay because you may face other complications such as tooth loss. If you think that gum disease is the cause of a metallic taste in your mouth, you should immediately make a dentist appointment.
Medical conditions such as:
- Upper respiratory infections
- Chronic sinus infection
- Enlarged turbinates
- Deviated septum
- Middle ear infection
These can also cause some effects in the sense of smell. Specific allergies, such as tree pollen, can cause sinus problems and a metallic taste in the mouth. You can usually treat these medical conditions with antibiotics, by addressing underlying allergies or through surgeries.
After your sinus condition is resolved, the metallic taste in your mouth will get cured. If you have a severe cold, you may have a metallic taste in the mouth and nausea. If you have that, you should contact your doctor immediately for reasons for metallic taste in mouth.
Indigestion is a symptom group that affects the gastrointestinal system, including the stomach, airways, and intestines. It can cause:
- Stomach pain
- Fullness too soon after a meal
- Uncomfortable fullness after a meal
Indigestion is not a disease. Some health conditions can cause it, such as gastritis, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and irritable bowel syndrome. In most cases, foods, drinks, or stress can also cause indigestion.
Some pregnant women have reported a metallic taste in mouth and fatigue, especially during the early stages of pregnancy. The precise and solid reason for this is unknown, but some doctors believe it is caused by the hormonal changes that women undergo in the early stages of pregnancy. Others have also reported an increased sense of smell, and it is a symptom commonly involved with pregnancy.
Food Allergies and Anaphylaxis
Specific food allergies, such as allergies to tree nuts and shellfish, have been known to cause a metallic taste in the mouth. It could also be the early symptom of a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. You can get a sudden metallic taste in the mouth before having other symptoms of anaphylaxis such as swelling, skin itching, difficulty breathing, or nausea, vomiting, disorientation, and headaches.
You should keep in mind that anaphylaxis is a life-threatening medical condition. If you think that you or someone you know is experiencing a reaction associated with this medical condition, immediate medical attention is highly essential.
Diabetes and Low Blood Sugar
These two medical conditions can cause negative effects on your sense of taste, such as iron taste in the mouth. There is a common diabetes medication known as metformin. It is the most common medication that will cause a metallic taste in the mouth.
Medical conditions for example Alzheimer’s disease can cause the brain to misinterpret signals that come from the taste buds. It can result in loss of appetite, and you may get a metallic taste in your mouth. Other neurological diseases can cause this metal taste in my mouth, such as:
- Brain tumors
- Bell’s palsy
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s disease
When kidneys are not working how they should, waste materials can build up in the blood. It can cause an individual to experience a metallic taste in the mouth and fatigue. Additionally, common symptoms of kidney disease are body pain, swelling, and trouble breathing.
In some cases, you can experience these symptoms due to kidney damage from poisoning. For instance, glaze, lead, and solder poisoning can cause damage to the kidney and cause a metallic taste in the mouth and fatigue.
Burning Mouth Syndrome
Some people experience burning mouth syndrome, a chronic medical condition that causes a burning pain sensation on the tongue or mucous membranes without another identifiable cause. Iron taste in the mouth can be a symptom of this medical condition.
You can use medications for treating burning mouth syndrome, such as tricyclic, benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and gabapentin. These medications can help you to minimize the metallic taste.
How Do You Get Diagnosed with a Metallic Taste in the Mouth?
A person with a metallic taste in the mouth and fatigue should immediately consult with their doctor. Either a telemedicine visit or an in-person will be necessary for the doctor to diagnose and understand your situation.
Your physician is likely to ask questions about the symptoms and past medical history. Depending on your answers, your doctor will either conduct a focused head and neck examination or do a full physical exam.
The physician may also prescribe blood tests or other imaging studies, such as a CT scan. In some cases, doctors may refer you to an otolaryngologist. He is a healthcare professional specializing in diseases of the ear, throat, and nose.
What Is the Treatment for Iron or Metallic Taste in the Mouth?
The treatment for this medical condition depends on the underlying cause of these symptoms. With some causes, such as cancer treatment or pregnancy, your metallic taste will disappear with time. Other causes may require you to make changes to your diet or medicines. You should always consult with the doctor before you make any sort of changes to your medications.
Below is the treatment for options for the metallic taste in the mouth depending on the underlying cause:
You should get allergy medications and avoid items that trigger the allergy
Decongestants, rest, and saline rinse will help you to treat metallic taste in the mouth
You will need to make some dietary changes. Control blood pressure, and use certain medications for kidney damage.
You will need an individualized treatment plan that may include home remedies, rest, and corticosteroids.
Source: Biospectrum asia
Home remedies and frequent rest periods are necessary.
Following are some of the useful home remedies that will help you manage the metallic taste:
- Eat citrus fruits, such as orange, also drink lemon juice
- Sucking on a lemon candy before meals
- You should also avoid using metallic cookware and utensils
- Drink herbal teas
- It is better to stay hydrated all the time to reduce the metallic taste in your mouth
- Brushing your teeth and tongue before meals
- Rinsing with saltwater, antibacterial mouthwash, or baking before eating can help you get a better taste sense
A metallic taste can be a temporary side effect of any medication you may be using or maybe due to pregnancy. Anyone experiencing a metallic taste should consult with the doctor as it may cause a severe medical disorder. Treating the underlying medical condition will help you get rid of the metallic taste.
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