Metallic taste in the mouth, also called dysgeusia or parageusia, is a taste disorder in which a person perceives the taste of metal when there is nothing in their mouth. It can sometimes occur alongside fatigue, which is a constant feeling of exhaustion and lack of energy.
A metallic taste on its own may be due to poor oral health. When a person experiences both a metallic taste and fatigue, possible causes can range from medication side effects to more serious underlying medical issues, such as kidney disease.
In this article, we discuss eight possible causes of metallic taste and fatigue, treatment options, and when to see a doctor.
Taste dysgeusia is a persistent, unpleasant sensation in the mouth that causes a person to experience a metallic, foul, or rancid taste. When something interferes with the normal functioning of the taste buds and their related nerve pathways, it can lead to taste disturbance and fatigue.
Many disorders and other factors can cause these symptoms, including the following:
Common symptoms of hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, include sneezing, itching and watery eyes, and a stuffy or runny nose. A person may have a metallic taste due to inflammation of the nasal passages and difficulty smelling food. Hay fever also often causes a feeling of fatigue and irritability.
Sinus, upper respiratory tract and ear infections
Sinus, ear, and upper respiratory tract infections cause inflammation that can affect the senses of smell and taste. Other symptoms of sinus, upper respiratory, and ear infections include: headache, fever, nasal congestion, cough, sinus pressure, and ear pain.
Medication side effects
Some medications that can cause a metallic taste and fatigue include:
iron supplements to treat iron deficiency anemia
Vitamin B-12 deficiency
Vitamin B-12 deficiency can produce a wide variety of symptoms, including shortness of breath, tingling sensation in the hands and feet, yellow-tinged skin, and mood swings. Vitamin B-12 deficiency can lead to fatigue because it can impair a person’s ability to produce red blood cells, which carry oxygen throughout the body. A severe deficiency can begin to affect the nerves, which can result in a metallic taste in the mouth.
A metallic taste in the mouth is a common complaint during the first trimester of pregnancy. Many pregnant women also experience fatigue. The body’s hormones fluctuate during pregnancy. This oscillation can affect the senses, which can cause specific food cravings and cause certain foods or smells to seem disgusting. Women can also suffer from headaches, dizziness and morning sickness during pregnancy.
When the kidneys aren’t working properly, waste products can build up in the blood. This buildup can cause fatigue and a metallic taste in your mouth.
Besides metallic taste and fatigue, common symptoms of kidney failure can include body aches, swelling, and difficulty in breathing. In some cases, a person may experience these symptoms due to kidney damage from poisoning. For example, lead poisoning leads to kidney damage and can cause dysgeusia and fatigue.
Central nervous system disorders
Taste buds send signals to the brain via cranial nerves. A central nervous system injury, such as stroke, head trauma, or Bell’s palsy, can cause a taste disorder with fatigue. Other symptoms, such as confusion, vision problems, headache, and drooling, may also be present.
Up to 86% of people undergoing chemotherapy, radiation therapy (particularly to the head and neck region), or both, to treat cancer reported changes in taste. These changes are temporary, and the sense of taste should return to normal eventually. A variety of expert advice is available to help people undergoing cancer treatment enjoy food as normally as possible. Fatigue is the most common side effect of cancer treatments involving chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or biological therapy.
The following home remedies may help relieve metallic taste:
eating citrus fruits or sipping juices, such as orange or lemon juice
sucking on a lemon candy before meals
avoiding the use of metal kitchen utensils and utensils
drink herbal teas
stay well hydrated
brush teeth and tongue before meals
rinse your mouth with salt water, baking soda, or antibacterial mouthwash before eating.
When to consult a doctor
Taste disturbances can lead a person to eat more or less or to consume too much sugar or salt in their diet. These dietary changes can cause or worsen other health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. Anyone suffering from metallic taste and fatigue should see a doctor to determine the underlying cause and the best treatment.
Metallic taste and fatigue can be temporary side effects of medications or symptoms of pregnancy. They can also be the result of a more serious medical condition. Often, treating the underlying medical problem can resolve the symptoms. Anyone suffering from metallic taste and fatigue should see a doctor for a diagnosis.
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