Have you ever experienced having a metal taste in mouth? I have experienced this several times in the past after taking certain medications. But for some people, a metal or salty taste in mouth also implicates their health condition. Since it is common for many of us to have this kind of taste in our mouths, it would be good to know what really causes it and if there are some reasons for us to be alarmed if we experience it.
One of the most common reasons why a person has a metal taste is Dysgeusia. Dysgeusia is a condition wherein a person would feel like having eaten loose coins instead of what he really ate for a meal. There are several explanations why a person may have this condition.
During pregnancy, an expecting mother may experience dysgeusia as a result of hormonal changes in her body. This normally occurs during the first trimester for most women, while others may experience this condition during the entire duration of their pregnancy. There is really no treatment needed for this condition but you can reverse it by consuming certain drinks or foods. In a book entitled “What to Expect: Eating Well When You’re Expecting” by Sharon Mazel and Heidi Eisenberg Murkoff, they advised expecting moms to fight heavy metal taste with acid. So if your tummy can handle it, consuming lemonades, citrus juices and foods containing vinegar can greatly help dissipate the metallic flavor. Aside from hormonal changes, some prenatal vitamins may also cause a metallic taste. In such cases, the solution is to ask your doctor for alternative vitamins that will best suit your taste buds.
Another factor that can affect your sense of taste is if you have recently experienced an impaired sense of smell. Taste and smell are closely related. If you have an impaired smell due to nasal infections, colds, runny nose, nasal polyps or sinusitis, you are more prone to developing a metal taste.
There are many other reasons why a person could have dysgeusia. Certain medications like neurological drugs and anti-thyroid may also cause it. The same is true with radiation and chemotherapy treatments of cancer patients. Persistent metal taste may also affect those who have Parkinson’s disease, astroesophageal reflux disease, diabetes and Bell’s palsy.
Vitamin and mineral deficiency as well as overdose of dietary supplements may also cause dysgeusia. Even people who are completely healthy may also experience having a metallic taste. This is true for smokers and those who have poor oral hygiene.
However, the most serious cause of dysgeusia which should cause alarm is clupeotoxin poisoning. This condition occurs when a person consumes sardines, bonefish and other plankton-eating fish that may be contaminated with the toxin. When a person who has this experiences a metal taste, the patient can become very ill and die. Aside from metal taste, clupeotoxin poisoning also manifests other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, blue-tinged toes, fingers, nose and lips, abdominal pain, lightheadedness and low blood pressure. That is why clupeotoxin poisoning can be easily distinguished from an ordinary case of dysgeusia.
Generally, metal taste or dysgeusia is caused by health conditions such as sickness or pregnancy and should not cause you to panic. But if it also comes with symptoms of clupeotoxin poisoning, then you should see your doctor immediately.