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Decreased Sense of Taste

Decreased Sense of Taste

A decrease in the sense of taste is also known as Hypogeusia. It is the reduction in the ability of the taste buds to identify the different flavors of substance. Complete loss of sense of taste is called Aguesia.  Aguesia is a very rare condition but hypogeusia is more common. It is mostly associated with aging. It has various causes of different intensity (moderate to severe).  The sense of taste and smell are closely linked together due to the fact that there is “common chemical sense” i.e. the nerve endings in the mouth are connected to the olfactory sensory neurons (nerve endings in the nose) and that of the surfaces of the ears, mouth, and throat.

Causes 

The sensitivity of the condition depends on the underlying causes. The condition is mostly caused by respiratory tracts.  The condition is mostly caused by respiratory tract infection or diseases such as the common cold, flu, sinusitis, throat infections. Other causes of hypogeusia include smoking, gum inflammation such as gingivitis, some certain medications, chemotherapy, dry mouth, dry eyes, salivary gland infections, injuries to the head or ear, diseases that affect the nervous system such as Bell’s palsy, multiple sclerosis can cause a decrease in the sense of taste.

Hypogeusia can also be a sign of aging as it is commonly found among people above 80 years of age.

Treatment 

This is usually done based on the underlying cause of the decrease in sense of taste in the body. Since some of these reasons are severe, it is better to consult a doctor.  Although a decrease in the sense of taste as a result of aging is irreversible, some causes are treatable.  There may be adjustments such as reducing some medications as suggested by the doctor.  It is also advisable to quit smoking.

An ENT specialist (otolaryngologist) may be recommended if necessary.