Dysgeusia: A Distorted Sense Of Taste

What Is Dysgeusia?

distorted sense of smell

Dysgeusia, sometimes called parageusia, is characterized by a distorted sense of taste. Individuals with dysgeusia do not taste flavors the same way that others o, or they do not taste flavors the way that they once did. They may also have unpleasant tastes, such as a metallic taste, in their mouth at random times that interfere with their ability to taste other things. Dysgeusia can also be associated with dysosmia, a distorted sense of smell.


Dysgeusia can occur on its own with no known cause or can occur as the result of the following underlying conditions or factors:

  • Zinc deficiency
  • Chemotherapy
  • Asthma treatment
  • Distortions in the taste buds
  • Chiari Malformation
  • Certain medications
    • Anti-histamines
    • Antiproliferative drugs
    • Beta blockers
  • Brainstem damage
  • Diabetes
  • Tonsillectomy surgery
  • Gastric reflux
  • Lead poisoning
  • Menopause
  • Burning mouth syndrome



Ageusia is closely linked with dysgeusia, but differs in that it is defined by the complete inability to taste anything at all, rather than having a distorted sense of taste.


Hypogeusia is linked to dysgeusia, but refers to a slightly decreased ability to taste flavors.


  • Distorted taste
  • Metallic taste in mouth
  • Not recognizing familiar tastes
  • Distorted sense of smell



Your primary care physician may be able to diagnose dysgeusia, but will likely refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist or neurologist to confirm the diagnosis and rule out certain underlying causes.


Treating dysgeusia relies on treating the underlying cause of the distorted sense of taste. If your dysgeusia is the result of certain medications, you may need to change your medication or adjust the dosage. If your dysgeusia is the result of conditions like diabetes or certain neurological conditions, you may be unable to resolve it. Fortunately, dysgeusia is not life threatening or dangerous to your health. Patients may adjust to their distorted sense of taste over time.

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