Metallic Taste in Mouth

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Published: October 1, 2015
Last reviewed: September 4, 2017

A metallic taste can result from dry mouth, medications, regular or spoiled foods, a mild health condition, such as common cold, or a serious condition, such as poisoning or cancer.

Some people describe a metallic taste as a bitter or salty or the taste of dirty copper pennies. Other people describe a sour, acidic taste as metallic.

Dysgeusia is a synonym for any weird taste, for example, unusually salty or sweet or fishy taste.

Symptoms Checker

After reading this article, you might be able to narrow down possible causes of metallic taste from a combination of symptoms in various conditions.

Metallic Taste Causes

1. Foods
2. Physiological conditions
3. Early pregnancy
4. Health disorders (mouth, respiratory and gastrointestinal tract, neurological)
5. Cancer and chemotherapy
6. Psychological disorders
7. Causes of a phantom metallic taste
8. Medications
9. Poisoning
Metallic smell
Bitter, sour, salty, soapy and garlicky taste
Diagnosis
Treatment

1. Foods

Regular Foods and Foodstuffs with Metallic Taste

  • Potassium chloride – a salt substitute
  • Foods stored in aluminum foil, beverages stored in stainless steel or plastic bottles or using cheap silverware
  • Baked goods prepared using baking powder that contains aluminum
  • Mineral waters high in magnesium
  • Certain wines with added sulfites, fruits or glycerine can cause a “tinny” or “chemical” aftertaste. Eggs, artichokes, soy sauce or tomatoes eaten along wine can make wine to taste metallic.
  • Certain beers – due to high iron in water or poorly processed grains (43)
  • Artificial sweeteners–saccharin, aspartame, acesulfame-K, and cyclamate (30) and sucralose–, but not sugar alcohols (polyols), such as erythritol, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol and xylitol
  • Oysters
  • Brazil nuts, which are high in selenium

Rancid oils, butter and other dairy products and nuts and spoiled cereals can have a metallic taste (11).

Using toothpaste that contain fluoride, a whitener, sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), or potassium nitrate (“sensitivity toothpaste”) can give a metallic taste to foods; the taste can persist for several weeks after stopping using the toothpaste.

When a metallic taste is caused solely by food, it usually lasts only for several minutes and can be rinsed out with water, but when it is caused by toothpaste, poisons or health disorders, it is usually more persistent (43).

Metallic Taste After Eating or Drinking

Lingering metallic taste after eating or drinking can be caused by:

  • High caffeine intake from cola, coffee, tea or energy drinks
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Acid reflux or bile reflux (heartburn–pain behind the breastbone and distinct acidic taste in the throat and mouth, especially when lying down, at night and in the morning, coated tongue, hoarseness;
    • Silent GERD, which is gastroesophageal reflux disease without heartburn can cause a sour taste in mouth in the morning due to acid reflux at night; silent GERD may cause dental erosion [1].
    • Laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) often does not cause heartburn but only symptoms in the throat and mouth, such as coughing and a sour taste [36])
  • Food intolerances: lactose intolerance, fructose malabsorption and celiac disease (abdominal bloating, belching, diarrhea within few hours after eating)
  • Allergic reaction to food (sudden mouth and skin itch and pink rash–hives–within minutes after eating)
  • Oral allergy syndrome in individuals with hay fever (itch in the mouth and throat within minutes after eating raw fruits and vegetables) (49)
  • Scombroid or histamine fish poisoning: facial flushing, itch, sweating, throbbing headache 15-60 minutes after eating improperly stored fish, such as tuna, mackerel, skipjack, bonito; symptoms can last from few hours to few days (3,27)
  • Ciguatera poisoning: tingling in the mouth, tooth pain, strange sensations in the limbs 6-12 hours (15 minutes to 24 hours) after eating big tropical fish, such as barracuda, grouper or tuna; symptoms may last for several days or weeks (28)
  • Clupeotoxin poisoning: a headache, sweating, dizziness 30-60 minutes after eating anchovies, herring, sardines or tarpon (12,38)

Pine Nuts Mouth Syndrome

Some people experience a strong metallic taste in mouth 2 days after eating Chinese pine nuts; the taste can persist for 10-14 days (23). The cause is not known; it is probably not related to pesticides and molds.

What can cause tap water to have a metallic taste?

  • High levels of copper, iron, manganese or zinc, or low pH (14,29)
  • Corrosive plumbing, copper pipes (29)
  • Water fluoridation (anecdotal reports)

2. Physiological Conditions

Certain normal physiological conditions can be associated with metallic taste:

  • Women can experience metallic taste few days after ovulation (anecdotal reports), before periods as part of premenstrual syndrome (23,43) and in menopause.
  • Old age (22,32,43)
  • Intense exercise, like running–possibly due to fluid in the lungs or leak of red blood cells into the lungs (39).

3. Early Pregnancy

The metallic taste is a commonly reported sign of early pregnancy; other taste disturbances may include increased bitter and decreased salt sensitivity (26). Commonly reported foods that taste weird to pregnant women are sweet foods and coffee.

Some pregnant women experience disgusting odors, which may trigger nausea and vomiting (morning sickness) (17,26).

It is not known if increased sense of taste or smell is related to fluctuating (increased or decreased) levels of estrogen (4).

4. Health Conditions

Dry Mouth Syndrome (Xerostomia)

Metallic taste can occur in the dry mouth of any cause:

  • Anxiety, panic attack, stress or lack of sleep, which all can increase adrenaline release
  • Moderate to severe dehydration (dry mouth and lips, thirst, dizziness)
  • Smoking, tobacco chewing, nicotine patch
  • Mouthwashes containing alcohol or whitening
  • Autoimmune disorders: systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis, Sjögren’s syndrome, systemic sclerosis (dry mouth and eyes, joint pain, skin rash)
  • Side effect of medications

Mouth and Lips Conditions

  • Mouth:
    • Poor mouth hygiene
    • Oral thrush caused by the yeast Candida (small white spots in mouth; in cancer, chemotherapy, steroid therapy or HIV/AIDS)
    • Canker sores (shallow ulcers in mouth, usually between 10 and 20 years of age)
    • Lichen planus (white rash in mouth and, sometimes, red bumps on the skin) (2)
  • Lips:
    • Cracked lips from dehydration; cracked corners of the mouth in vitamin B or iron deficiency
    • Cold sore (Herpes simplex virus)
  • Teeth:
    • Tooth filling or crown, dental caries, broken tooth, tooth abscess, tooth extraction, root canal procedure
    • Teeth grinding resulting in jaw pain
    • Denture use
  • Tongue:
    • Burning mouth syndrome, most often in menopausal women (symptoms: pain, numbness, tingling and hot sensation on the tongue or other parts of mouth, not in the morning, worsening through the day, relieved by eating or drinking; the tongue appears normal) (50)
  • Gums:
    • Periodontal disease (detached gums)
    • Inflammation of the gums: gingivitis, trench mouth (symptoms: red, swollen gums with ulcers, bad breath) (6)
  • Salivary gland infection–mumps–or inflammation–sialadenitis (swelling and tenderness below the ears)

Blood in the mouth can have a salty taste or a taste of dirty copper pennies.

Blood in the mouth can originate from rough tooth brushing, nasal bleeding, mouth ulcers or injuries, throat, esophagus (esophageal varices in alcoholics), stomach (ulcer, cancer), bronchi (chronic bronchitis) or lungs (pneumonia, tuberculosis, cancer).

Sore Throat, Coughing and Metallic Taste

Causes of sore throat, dry cough, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness and metallic taste include common cold, flu, acid reflux, foreign object in the throat, thermal burn, viral or bacterial pharyngitis (strep throat), laryngitis, infectious mononucleosis, tonsillitis, epiglottitis, impaired mobility of the esophagus (achalasia), and throat, lung or thyroid cancer (19).

Causes of coughing up phlegm and metallic or salty taste without sore throat include allergies (hay fever), chronic bronchitis (in smokers), asthma (wheezing, only minimal mucus), bacterial pneumonia (high fever, difficulty breathing), congestive heart failure (weakness, leg swelling), bronchiectasis (foul breath), cystic fibrosis (salty skin), tuberculosis (coughing up blood, low-grade fever) and croup.

Causes of Nausea, Vomiting and Metallic Taste

  • Constipation, motion sickness, jet lag
  • Intestinal parasites, such as worms or Giardia
  • Bile reflux after gallbladder removal (occasional vomiting of green-yellow fluid) (42)
  • Stomach flu (a viral infection), chronic gastritis caused by the bacterium H. pylori (upset stomach, bloating), peptic ulcer or cancer (upper abdominal pain)
  • Liver inflammation (hepatitis A, B or C), alcoholic liver disease (32)
  • Obstruction of the small or large intestine due to a tumor, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis
  • Kidney failure resulting in uremia–a buildup of urea in the blood (symptoms: nausea, ammonia breath odor, skin itch and rash)
  • Cirrhosis with liver failure resulting in hyperammonemia–a buildup of ammonia in the blood (symptoms: lethargy, jaundice) (31)
  • Infection of the inner ear (labyrinthitis)

Headache and Metallic Taste

  • Sinusitis (symptoms: blocked nose, pain around the nose, eyes and in the forehead)
  • A migraine (symptoms: throbbing headache on one or both sides and sensitivity to lights (photophobia) and sounds preceded by “aura:” flashing lights, tingling, metallic taste) (25)
  • A hangover (nausea and headache several hours after excessive alcohol drinking, lasting for several hours)
  • Brain infection or tumor

Hormonal and Metabolic Conditions

  • Ketosis–a harmless buildup of ketones in the blood–due to a low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diet, fasting for more than 1 day (symptoms: chalky taste, acetone-like odor of the breath and urine)
  • In diabetes mellitus, metallic taste can be caused by hypoglycemia due to insulin overdose or a skipped meal), ketoacidosis–a buildup of ketones in the blood (acetone or fruity breath) or due to damage of the nerves (10,32).
  • Other hormonal disorders with metallic taste: hyperparathyroidism with hypercalcemia, hypothyroidism (feeling cold) (10), adrenal insufficiency (fatigue, muscle weakness) (32), hypogonadism (Turner’s syndrome), primary amenorrhea (absent menstruation) (32).

Neurological Conditions

  • Head injury (32)
  • Epilepsy (seizures) (2,25)
  • Shingles–a reactivation of a Herpes zoster infection in one of the nerves in the head area (burning rash on one side of the face)
  • Stroke (symptoms: a sudden weakness and lost of sensation on one side of the body)
  • Neurological diseases (23,25), such as Alzheimer’s disease (dementia), brain tumor, familial dysautonomia (43), Guillain-Barré syndrome (progressing muscle weakness), Lyme disease, multiple sclerosis (tingling, numbness and weakness in various parts of the body) and Parkinson’s disease (tremor)
  • Bell’s palsy (symptoms: a sudden weakness and numbness on one side of the face)

Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies

Individuals with chronic intestinal diseases, such as Crohn’s disease and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, and chronic alcoholics are at higher risk to develop vitamin or mineral deficiencies.

  • Iron deficiency (anemia with fatigue and paleness)
  • Zinc deficiency (anorexia, fatigue, diarrhea) (10)
  • Copper deficiency (fatigue, paleness) (32)
  • Vitamin B2, B3, B6 or B12 deficiencies (bright red tongue, cracked lips in the corners of the mouth, scaly skin, pernicious anemia, weakness) (10,32)
  • Vitamin C deficiency or scurvy (bleeding gums)

5. Cancer, Chemotherapy and Radiation

Cancers in the mouth, nose, throat and stomach, pancreatic cancer, brain tumors and possibly other cancers can cause constant metallic taste in mouth and a strong dislike of certain foods, like meat. A common cancer symptom is weight loss.

Chemotherapy medications, such as cisplatin and methotrexate, can cause metallic taste (“chemo mouth”) because they affects the taste buds. Radiation of the head and neck area can affect the salivary glands and mouth lining (radiation stomatitis) and thus cause metallic taste (5,6).

6. Psychological Disorders

In psychological disorders, metallic taste can be caused by dry mouth, medications or altered perception of taste. Causes include anxiety, panic attack (tingly lips and mouth, dizziness), depression (43), anorexia nervosa, bulimia, schizophrenia and psychosis (23,24).

7. Other Health Conditions

Other health conditions that can be associated with metallic taste include fibromyalgia, hypothermia, low blood pressure, blood disorders (hemophilia and other blood clotting disorders, sickle cell disease, leukemia, thrombocytopenia), heart attack (anecdotal reports), aortic aneurysm or dissection Eaton-Lambert syndrome, HIV/AIDS (10,23) and porphyria (25).

Severe allergic reaction (anaphylactic reaction) to insects bites and stings (wasps, bees, ants) can include redness at the site of the bite or sting, body swelling and metallic taste in mouth (12). Rattlesnake bite can cause metallic taste and tingling lips (35).

In one small study, altered sense of taste in men with benign prostate hyperplasia was improved in all men after surgical resection of the prostate (41).

Phantom Metallic Taste

Phantom metallic taste is an unpleasant taste that persists for several months or years after the treatment of the original cause:

  • Head and neck cancer (9)
  • Damaged nerves responsible for taste (chorda tympani) (43)

Idiopathic Dysgeusia

Idiopathic dysgeusia is an abnormal sense of taste from an unknown reason. In one small study, alpha-lipoic acid was more effective than placebo in relieving the unpleasant taste (40).

8. Medications

  • Acne medications (tretinoin)
  • Analgesics (aspirin), for migraine (sumatriptan, topiramate), narcotics (codeine, morphine)
  • Antibiotics (ampicillin, azithromycin, doxycycline, ethambutol, gentamicin, metronidazole, rifampin, tetracycline)
  • Antidepressants (bupropion, citalopram, doxepin, nortryptiline)
  • Antidiarrheals (loperamide)
  • Antiepileptics (carbamazipine, phenytoin)
  • Antifungals (amphotericin B, griseofulvin, terbinafine)
  • Antihistamines (chlorpheniramine, diphenhydramine)
  • Antispasmodics (baclofen, chlormezanone)
  • Antiparasitics (levamisole)
  • Antipsychotics (lithium, trifluoperazine)
  • Anxiolytics (buspirone)
  • Asthma medications (albuterol, bamifylline)
  • Atropine, scopolamine
  • Diabetes medications (glipizide, metformin)
  • Disulfiram (12)
  • Glaucoma medications (acetazolamide, methazolamide)
  • Gout medications (allopurinol, colchicine)
  • Heart and high blood pressure medications (adenosine, amiodarone, amiloride, amlodipine, atenolol, bisoprolol, captopril, digitalis, diltiazem, losartan, nitroglycerin patch, propranolol)
  • Osteoporosis medications (etidronate)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis medications (gold)
  • Sleeping pills and sedatives (eszopiclone, zolpidem, zopiclone)
  • Steroids (dexamethasone, hydrocortisone)
  • Stimulants (amphetamine, metamphetamine)
  • Thyroid medications (carbimazole, methimazole, potassium iodide)
  • Other: botulinum injection, clofibrate, dipyridamole, levodopa
  • References: (5,6,8,13,15,23)

Medical procedures, such as heart, brain or ear surgery, or hemodialysis can be followed by a metallic taste.

Birth control pills can also cause metallic taste.

Mineral ad Vitamin Supplements

Mineral and vitamin supplements that can cause metallic taste include calcium, chromium, copper, fluoride, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, zinc, prenatal vitamins for pregnant women, vitamin B12 (overdose) and vitamin D (intoxication) (5,11,12).

Illegal Drugs

Illegal drugs that can cause metallic taste include cocaine (32), ecstasy (MDMA), LSD, marijuana and phencyclidine.

Drug withdrawal can be also associated with metallic taste.

9. Poisoning

  • Heavy metals: arsenic (34), lead (grey gums, eating dirty things – pica) (21), organic mercury (methylmercury) (34), solder (12), stannous salts (tin chloride), thallium, vanadium (12)
  • Metal fume fever after inhalation of aluminum, antimony, cadmium, chromium, copper, gold, iron, magnesium, manganese, nickel, selenium, silver or zinc fumes (symptoms: fever, muscle weakness and aches) (12)
  • The mushrooms common ink cap, which contains coprine, when consumed along with alcohol, causes hot flashes and throbbing headache 30-60 minutes after ingestion (33)
  • Other: nitrogen dioxide (37), pepper or tear gas (10), pesticides (trifluralin) (10)
If everything what you eat and drink tastes like metal, the cause is probably an underlying disease, medication, anxiety, using a toothpaste, pregnancy, heavy exercise, vitamin or mineral deficiency or poisoning rather than normal food.

Metallic Smell

Disorders that affect the sense of smell usually also cause metallic taste. Causes include:

  • Common cold (5,6), allergic rhinitis (hay fever), sinusitis (6)
  • Foreign body in the nose
  • Smoking, exposure to mold, dust, ashes, chalk, chemical air pollutants (benzene, chlorine, formaldehyde, paint solvents, sulfuric acid) (23)
  • Nasal polyps, tumors and anatomical abnormalities that block the flow of the air (23)
  • Brain tumors
  • Brain, nasal or gastric bypass surgery (23)
  • Hereditary disorders: Kallman syndrome (23)
  • Tracheostomy (23)
  • Cocaine abuse (23)
  • Cyanide poisoning (bitter almonds smell)
Zinc nasal sprays used in treatment of common cold (but not zinc tablets) can result in a permanent loss of smell (anosmia) after a single use (44,45).

Other Types of Unusual Bad Taste

Bitter Taste

Some people describe metallic taste, especially when caused by medications, as a bitter taste. Other causes of a bitter taste include:

  • Tonic water
  • Plant foods naturally high in phenols, flavonoids, isoflavones or terpenes, such as unripe fruits, grapefruits, tea, coffee, beer, dark chocolate, red wine, yams, beans, soy protein, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cucumbers, zucchini and other squashes, turnips, spinach and kale are almost always bitter, acrid or astringent (42).
  • Drugs containing alkaloids (quinine, ephedrine, morphine, piperine, cocaine, caffeine, nicotine) and herbal extracts (cinchona); other drugs: antihistamines (cetirizine, fexofenadine), drugs for glaucoma, and Parkinson’s disease (levodopa)
  • Supplements (biotin, hydrolyzed proteins, lysine)
  • A tumor in front of the brain (meningioma of the frontal olfactory groove)

Sour (Acidic) Taste

  • Acidic foods, such as vinegar and citrus fruits
  • Acid reflux or GERD
  • Drugs: nonsteroid anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, tramadol
  • Supplements: vitamin C

Salty Taste

Some people describe metallic taste as a salty taste. Other causes of salty taste:

  • Medications: potassium iodide (for the thyroid), statins (to lower cholesterol), hydralazine (for high blood pressure), calcitonin-salmon (for osteoporosis) and medications containing sodium, eye drops
  • Supplements: potassium, fluoride, omega-3 fish oil (fishy aftertaste)
  • Bleeding in the mouth or throat, nosebleeds
  • Coughing up phlegm (in chronic bronchitis) or blood (in tuberculosis or lung cancer)
  • Postnasal drip (salty taste in the throat, itchy throat)
  • Head injury with a leak of the cerebrospinal fluid into the nose
  • Cystic fibrosis–a genetic disease (“salty kiss”, salty skin, coughing up thick mucus, frequent infections, diarrhea)

Soapy (Alkaline) Taste

  • Toothpaste containing sodium fluoride [NaF] (soapy, salty taste)
  • Fluoride supplements
  • Fluoridated water
  • Spices, like coriander or cilantro may taste soapy to some people (53).

Garlic Taste

  • Poisoning: arsenic, dimetyl sulfoxide, organophosphate insecticides, phosphorus, selenious acid, thallium
  • Brazil nuts
  • Selenium supplements

Diagnosis

An examination performed by a dentist, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist, gastroenterologist or neurologist may be needed to determine the cause of a metallic taste.

Investigations may include blood or stool tests, gastroscopy, CT scan of the head and neurological tests.

Treatment of Metallic Taste

When to call a doctor?

Call a doctor when you experience:

  • Sudden, unusual metallic taste after ingesting or inhaling something or when you can not explain it
  • Persisting metallic taste not caused by a known mild disease or medications

Metallic taste usually goes away when the original cause is removed.

How to get rid of metallic taste when you cannot treat the cause?

If you think, medications cause you bad taste, discuss with your doctor about changing them.

Sugar-free mint or eucalyptus chewing gum can help mask the metallic taste.

Artificial saliva and pilocarpine can help relieve metallic taste due to dry mouth.

Zinc supplements are widely recommended as a metallic taste relief but according to one 2014 systematic review of studies they may not be very efficient (46). Zinc supplements may improve taste in individuals with zinc deficiency and in some individuals with idiopathic dysgeusia (46). In some people, zinc supplements may even aggravate metallic taste (47). Do NOT use zinc nasal sprays, since they may cause temporary or permanent loss of smell (44,45)!

A drug clonazepam can reduce pain and metallic taste in burning mouth syndrome (43).

Alpha-lipoic acid may help improve taste in individuals with idiopathic dysgeusia and burning mouth syndrome, according to one small study (40).

Diet changes and home remedies to improve taste during chemotherapy (7,39):

  • Do not eat 2 hours before and 3 hours after chemotherapy.
  • Keep your mouth clean and brush your teeth.
  • Use plastic flatware, glass cups and plates instead of metal ones.
  • Serve foods cold or at room temperature. Avoid hot foods and beverages.
  • Rinse your mouth with a baking soda, salt and water mouthwash before eating (1 tbsp soda and 1 tbsp salt in 1 liter of water).
  • Avoid sugary foods (candies, chewing gum), carbonated drinks and milk.
  • Instead of red meat, try chicken, fish, eggs or cheese.
  • Season foods with tart flavors (lemon, vinegar, pickled foods) or new tastes or spices (onion, garlic, chili powder, basil, oregano, rosemary, BBQ sauce, mustard, mint).
  • Try a “miracle fruit” that makes sour foods taste sweet (Synsepalum dulcificum).

Vitamin D supplements can improve taste during chemotherapy (48), but probably not in others.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How long does metallic taste last?

Metallic taste usually lasts until the cause persists, which can be, for example a couple of weeks in sinusitis, or more than a year in a moth rash called lichen planus. Metallic taste can persists after the cause is removed, for example for few minutes after a burp, few hours or several days after using a toothpaste, a couple of weeks after eating pine nuts, or several months after stopping chemotherapy.

2. What causes constant metallic taste in mouth, even between meals?

Anxiety, mouth conditions, ketosis, medications, neurological conditions, iron or zinc deficiency, kidney failure, chemotherapy and poisoning can cause constant metallic taste.

18 Responses to Metallic Taste in Mouth

  1. Ina says:

    I have a bad taste in my mouth and i can’t eat any type of food no matter what it is. I have been sick for 2 weeks throwing nonstop and i found out that part of being sick was due to my gallbladder now i have stopped throwing up i still can’t eat any food due to a weird taste in my mouth i have not eaten in 2 weeks what can i do in order to eat

  2. Ling-Ling says:

    What can it be if you have a metallic taste in your mouth while eating salmon, which you are definitely not allergic to, & it is accompanied by a mild burning pain in the gums & roof of the mouth while eating it, then very shortly after eating it you have extremely watery diarrhea, but no one else in the family had the burning gums & only one other person had the diarrhea?

  3. Sharon Cylkowski says:

    Okay, thank you.

  4. Sharon Cylkowski says:

    Again, thank you. A few comments and a few questions. I am aware of atrophic gastritis. I’ve had several upper endoscopies as well as colonoscopies by two different specialists. I even swallowed a camera which took pictures of my small intestine. The findings were inflammation of the lining of my stomach which they said was due to long term nexium use which they prescribed 5 years ago when the G.I. symptoms started (I also have Barrett’s esophagus from acid reflux). I asked the question about atrophic gastritis and was told by both doctors that they saw no signs of it and that the B12 injections would prevent that. I don’t know if that’s true? Is it? I’ve even tried taking liquid B12 thinking somehow it would help the lining of my stomach if I coated my stomach and G.I. tract. I’ve taken L-Glutamine with no luck. They prescribed dicyclomine in the very beginning which was a disaster…symptoms got worse along with the taste in my mouth…symptoms got worse with antidepressants as well. After being diagnosed with SIBO, they treated me with antibiotics and then a prokinetic agent. They kept me on the prokinetic thinking it would speed up digestion and reduce the likelihood of a SIBO relapse. Not much luck there either. They recently tried me on Enteragam in the spring, which I thought was the answer to my prayers, but my G.I. symptoms returned again. So aside from the diet you suggested, I have wondered about stool testing. I’ve seen labs which test the microbiome of your gut for yeast, parasites, toxin producing bacteria, etc. Would this be worth a try do you think? I’ve also heard beta blockers mentioned although I have no idea how they may help? Do you have any insight on this?

    • Jan Modric says:

      Barret’s esophagus is probably from GERD and this could explain bad taste in mouth. Did they tell you have hiatal hernia? If not, then again, SIBO with constant gas production can cause GERD. So, you may discuss with a gastroenterologist about acid-reducing drugs, which could be a temporary solution for bad taste. But low acid could then increase the risk of SIBO – a doctor may know better. And some other measures, like high pillow, not lying down after meals, etc, can reduce reflux.

      If you have SIBO again, antibiotics would probably help again.

      I don’t now if atrophic gastritis is reversible, but if they told you that you do not have it, this may be it.

      Microbiome testing – I don’t know. After all drugs you were taking, your intestinal flora is probably not optimal. It depends who will test this. If you go to some private lab, they might diagnose you with something in the way it will make them suggest you to buy some probiotics or so. So, better ask your gastroenterologist.

      Beta blockers – I don’t know. They stimulate GIT motility. But if prokinetics did not help, I don’t know if beta blockers will.

      Yeast overgrowth in the intestine is a myth. Everyone has yeasts (Candida…) in the bowel, so many people would be positive for yeast in stool. Toxins…that sounds too vague. I strongly suggest you not to start with “alternative” testing and treatment. A lot of this is nonsense and a fraud.

      A stool test for parasites – you can ask your gastroenterologist for this.

  5. Sharon Cylkowski says:

    Good info, thank you. I was tested for H. PYLORI and was negative. Also negative for Celiac, Chrohns, etc. I have heard of the FODMAP diet and will look for literature on it. I do react strongly to xylitol and other sweeteners. I found that out in my 30’s anytime I ate too many sticks of sugarless gum and you’re correct, my ongoing symptoms mirrored the symptoms I had with the sugarless gum although I never chew gum anymore. I also have pernicious anemia, diagnosed at 27 when the taste in my mouth first started. They initially thought that caused the burning mouth. I get injections every 3 weeks of B12, but again, it had no affect on the taste. The gastroenterologist says he thinks that was the beginning of my case of SIBO. My fear is that it caused some sort of permanent nerve damage to my G.I. tract. I did have a gut motility test that was normal. I do exercise every day, but I also have a desk job which probably does not do the digestion process any good now that I’m older. I am on klonopin for anxiety, but I don’t get much relief as far as my stomach symptoms which leads me to believe it’s a physical problem, perhaps made worse by stress, but not caused directly by stress. I do see the G.I. doctor on Monday, but they are difficult to make progress with. And even more resistant to prescribe antibiotics more than once or twice. I am going to ask for another hydrogen breath test as I am sure it will be positive again for SIBO. Its positive every time they do the test. Why I can’t overcome this is frustrating, but perhaps the diet will help. I suspect I will continue to have relapses many times over and I doubt the taste will ever go away…not after 2 decades.

    • Jan Modric says:

      Sharon, only now you mentioned you have been diagnosed with pernicious anemia. This may explain a lot. Pernicious anemia includes atrophic gastritis because of which the stomach does not produce enough acid. Lack of acid in the stomach allows bacteria from the food to enter the small intestine and hence result in SIBO. A gastroenterologist should have some suggestion how to deal with this.

      Lack of acid in the stomach may also affect the absorption of other nutrients, such as iron and calcium, and the digestion of protein.

      Klonopin may slow down intestinal motility and thus contribute to development of SIBO. Just saying. One possible side effect is also loss of taste.

      The bad taste could be due to:
      – belching due to gases caused by SIBO or by gastroparesis (slow gastric emptying) due to eventual nerve damage caused by vitamin B12
      – damage of the mouth lining due to vit B12 deficiency (but if this is corrected it should probably heal)

      Acid reflux can cause bad taste in mouth but it is then often associated with heartburn.

      “Burning mouth syndrome” has quite specific symptoms; I mentioned them above in the article.

      You may also try some remedies mentioned in the article. You can ask a gastroenterologist about testing for low stomach acid.

  6. Sharon Cylkowski says:

    Mine started at the age of 27. I’m now 48. It started as burning mouth syndrome along with a bitter and metallic taste that woke me up many times at night. The burning went away, but the taste never went away and nothing helps. I’ve seen many specialists over the years. No one has been able to find the cause or the cure. I’ve heard it all and tried all types of therapies and meds…treatments for anxiety, hormonal imbalances, nerve damage, sjogren’s disease, GERD, etc. About 5 years ago I started having major issues with my intestines. Diagnosed with IBS, but my symptoms don’t track with IBS at all. The only thing I tested positive for and was treated for was SIBO. I can’t help but think somehow my intestinal issues and the taste are related. To this day, I have no idea if it’s neurological or some other cause. My only comfort, as sad as it sounds, is that there are others out there who have this. I can tell you the isolation and lack of understanding of this condition in the medical community makes you feel like one in a million. I’ve been on every type of medication with no relief. If anyone has additional insight or similar issues, I’d like to hear.

    • Jan Modric says:

      Sharon, from what you have written I also believe that metallic taste can be caused by intestinal issues. SIBO doesn’t appear just like that, there’s usually some reason for it. You did not mention which specific abdominal symptoms you have.

      • Sharon Cylkowski says:

        Thanks for responding. As far as intestinal issues, they are like nothing I have ever experienced. It first started with intense pain which I assumed to be in my small intestine. Every night I was up with pain, sweating and a rapid heartbeat. That lasted 5 weeks until they put me on antibiotics. Been on them multiple times. They help, but only when I’m on them and the symptoms are always there to varying degrees regardless of what I take. They also put me on klonopin, which I can’t really say if it helps or not other than dulling me up. Closest way I could describe my symptoms is a combination of an open sore feeling like an ulcer and having my intestines twisted. Others symptoms are constant belching..not the normal belching either. I also have a lump in my throat at times, bloating, and just general abdominal discomfort, particularly if I sit. Honesty, I’ve had the taste for 2 decades and now G.I. symptoms the last 5 years. They have to somehow be related. I just wish I had a definitive answer and treatment that would help me feel normal. It’s affected every aspect of my life for years. I don’t drink or smoke, I eat clean and I exercise but can’t overcome this. I’ve had a slew of food allergy testing, diagnostic tests by G.I. specialists, pumped with a pharmacy full of drugs that didn’t help or in some cases made it worse. No one in my family has anything like this which make it all the more frustrating.

        • Jan Modric says:

          Sharon, excessive belching is probably from excessive gas. You mentioned SIBO, which can cause bloating, pain, belching and metallic taste. Another cause of belching and bloating could be H. pylori infection of the stomach.

          The fact that antibiotic helped further speaks for SIBO. They are few groups of problems that can cause SIBO:

          1. Food intolerances, like lactose intolerance or fructose malabsorption. A low-FODMAP diet (avoiding lactose, fructose, polyols–sorbitol, xylitol…- and soluble fiber) could help. You can search for low-FODMAP diet online. Celiac disease is another cause.

          2. Impaired ileocecal valve that normally prevent the backflow of the intestinal content from large to small intestine. A gastroenterologist should know how to test for that.

          3. Physical blockage of the small intestine due to polyps, adhesions, endometriosis, etc.

          4. Neurological disorders resulting in decreased intestinal motility.

          What one can do in such situation is to try a low-FODMAP diet which prevents feeding of bacteria in the small intestine and thus reduces the production of gas.

          Anxiety, depression and lack of physical activity can also result in slow intestinal motility and can contribute to SIBO.

          If no help, you should insist that a gastroenterologist finds the organic cause of SIBO.

  7. Noosh says:

    it started 10 days ago with yellow tongue at my last day of taking Antibiotics for stomachache. After 5 days my tongue turned black & hairy with this disgusting metallic taste, itchy throat & thick saliva at the back of my mouth! I contacted 2 doctors and they both said it’s the side effect of Antibiotics; but it’s 10 days now I’m not taking any! Do you think it’s still because of antibiotics? Considering I take care of my oral hygiene perfectly good, what can be the cause and how can I get rid of it????

    • Jan Modric says:

      Noosh, the condition is called “black hairy tongue” and it can be caused by overgrowth of bacteria or fungi after taking antibiotics and, yes, it can persist for 10 days or more. You can ask your doctor to check if they are fungi and to prescribe you an oral antifungal drug. If they are bacteria, maybe some other type of antibiotic may help, or maybe prebiotics. You can search online for “black hairy tongue” or “black tongue” for more info.

  8. Dianne Rowe says:

    The only time I experience this taste is when drinking water…,I had an infection in my tooth plant and this seems to be when it started however the infection has now healed up. I also took anti inflammatory tablets during this time but have been off them for about 3 weeks now. I’m taking Nexium as my doctor feels it’s acid rsflux but the taste is still there, I’ve been on the Nexium for over two weeks now, I take a 40mg dose daily. I’ve never experienced anything like this before.

  9. Veer Pal says:

    The article is very informative. I suffer from BMS & bitter mouth test due to prolonged use of antidepressants namely duloxetin & tianeptine. I am trying to withdraw these antidepressants gradually but bitter test & BMS are persisting. Please suggest some simple non medicinal treatment.

    • Jan Modric says:

      Veer, you may experiment with food/drinks suggestions above in the article. But also, a bitter taste may help you go off antidepressants…

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