Cause of dis­rup­tive bad taste in mouth is hard to pin down

Moose Jaw Times Herald - - LETTERS - Dr. Keith Roach Dr. Roach re­grets that he is un­able to an­swer in­di­vid­ual let­ters, but will in­cor­po­rate them in the col­umn when­ever pos­si­ble. Read­ers may email ques­tions to ToYourGoodHealth@med. cor­ or re­quest an or­der form of avail­able health news

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have talked to nu­mer­ous doc­tors about my prob­lem, but no one has an an­swer, and most don’t take it se­ri­ously. I have a ter­ri­ble taste in my mouth all the time. Some­times it is bear­able, but of­ten it is so bad that it makes me gag and choke. The only way I can stand it is by suck­ing on sugar-free mints, but that also makes me sick to my stom­ach. I have been on dial­y­sis for three and a half years. My kid­ney doc­tor says that this shouldn’t cause the prob­lem, but the time co­in­cides with the bad taste. This is re­duc­ing the quality of my life in a huge way. — J.S.

AN­SWER: Bad taste in the mouth (we use the Greek term for “bad taste,” which is “dys­geu­sia”) can be caused by sev­eral dis­eases, as well as by med­i­ca­tions. While it cer­tainly is as­so­ci­ated with peo­ple de­vel­op­ing end-stage kid­ney disease, it is un­com­mon in peo­ple who are on dial­y­sis. For some peo­ple, in­creas­ing the time on dial­y­sis can help (ei­ther through more times per week or by more hours per time). Eat­ing less pro­tein has helped some peo­ple, too. The tim­ing makes me sus­pi­cious, as it does you, but it’s al­ways wise to look at all of the pos­si­bil­i­ties.

I would check with your den­tist, since den­tal is­sues are one com­mon cause. Too much of some met­als (chrome, zinc, lead, cop­per) and too lit­tle of another (zinc, again) can cause taste changes. Neu­ro­log­i­cal prob­lems, like Parkin­son disease and mul­ti­ple scle­ro­sis, can cause it, but I have never seen some­one have that as an ini­tial symp­tom.

An ear/nose/throat doc­tor (oto­laryn­gol­o­gist, also called a head and neck sur­geon) would be a good re­source.

Bad taste in the mouth (we use the Greek term for “bad taste,” which is “dys­geu­sia”) can be caused by sev­eral dis­eases...

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