What are the Causes of Sudden Loss of Taste and Smell?

The loss of flavor is known as “ageusia”. This situation makes distinguishing between flavors like delicious acidic, savory, or bitter challenging.

The absence of any perception of smell is called "anosmia." An illness, like the virus or the common cold, maybe the source of anosmia. Sinus tumors or other obstructions could be the reason for it. One additional typical COVID-19 sign is a loss of smell. Your perception of smell can be recovered by fixing the root cause of anosmia.

Pseudo-flavor awareness is the most typical taste disorder. Even when their mouth is empty, a person with this condition will experience a persistent, robust taste. The flavor is frequently disagreeable, and they may need to clarify the flavors of other food items. A lingering burning feeling in the mouth could also accompany the taste.

  • The Aroma-Taste Relationship  Taste usually comes after a foul scent. Since your nose's nasal region regulates both, this is the case. Aroma molecules travel to the rear of your nose while you chew food. A food's sweetness, sourness, bitterness, or saltiness can all be detected by taste receptors. The details are determined by your nose, such as whether that delicious taste is from an apple or a grape. Because you can't detect food when you cover your nose, it tastes nothing the same.

  • Stage of Life  Some of the olfactory sensory nerves in your nostrils diminish with age. Particularly after 60, your taste receptors are diminished and less acute. Keep the amount of salt or sugar in your food because this often makes it harder to detect the salty or sugary flavors first. That might result in further health problems.

  • Disorder or Being infected  Your perceptions of gustatory and scent can be affected by anything that aggravates and damages the mucous membrane of your nose, making it feel congested, swollen, achy, or drippy. This includes the flu, COVID-19, allergies, sniffling, lung congestion, nose sickness, and the typical cold. In most instances, once you feel better, your senses will return to normal. Call your doctor if it has been more than a few weeks.

  • Blockage  Your ability to smell declines if you cannot breathe sufficiently through your nostrils. Additionally, the flavor is influenced by smell. With nasal tumors, obstructions can occur. They develop in the sinus and nasal mucosa and are benign lesions. The nasal passageways in one of your nostrils may also be thinner than the other due to a crooked septum. Surgery, pharmaceuticals, or aerosols for the nose are used to address both conditions.

  • Brain Injury  From your nostrils to your brain, your olfactory nerve transmits scent knowledge. That nerve, the lining of your nostrils, the respiratory of your nose, or the areas of your brain that process smell can all be harmed by trauma to the head and neck or brain. You might become aware of it right away or gradually. Sometimes, if the loss was initially minor, your senses return on their own. Only intense aromas and smells may partially return as you get better.

  • Lack of Vitamins  Your body may tell you you need more vitamins by losing your sense of flavor and scent. You may be deficient in vitamins A, B6, B12, and zinc due to certain medical conditions and medicines. It can also be a chicken-and-egg scenario: if you consume less since you lack flavor or odor, your body might not get the vitamins it requires.

  • Narcotics, Cigarettes, and Additives  Tobacco usage can harm or destroy the cells that aid in your brain's classification of tastes and aromas, in addition to causing cancer. Vaping can also reduce the number of taste receptors in your mouth and increase the amount of mucus in your body. The use of cocaine can have a comparable impact on your sense cells. Risky materials like formaldehyde, paint thinners, and bleach can also do this.

  • Medical Care for Cancer  − Specific cancers and their treatments can alter the communication between your mouth, tongue, and brain. This involves radiotherapy to your head or neck after having a tumor removed. The impacts of chemotherapy, particular medication, and some drugs for side effects are also possible.

    You might experience a metallic aftertaste on your tongue or discover that some smells are altered or more potent. When your therapy is finished, these problems frequently disappear.


Otolaryngologists are medical professionals who specialize in diagnosing and treating abnormalities of flavor and scent. These physicians focus on problems affecting the head and neck and illnesses that impact the ear, nose, and throat.

The physician may examine a patient's breathing, look for growths in the mouth or nostrils, and check for other infection-related symptoms. Inquiries about drug use and potential sensitivity to toxic chemicals are also made, along with an evaluation of the patient's medical background. To look for indications of illness and inflammation, the physician will also want to inspect a patient's mouth and teeth.

The physician may apply particular substances straight to the patient's tongue or mix them into something they must swish around in their mouth to identify the disappearance of taste. How a person reacts to these chemicals could reveal which taste element is impacted.

An accurate diagnosis is crucial for efficient therapy. It can take some time to establish additionally the type of loss of sensory function the person has and its root cause.

Prevention − It might only sometimes be feasible to stop a loss of flavor. In some instances, it might be caused by latent physical issues that need to be treated. However, individuals can attempt to lower the chance of agues brought on by infections by attempting the following advice −

  • Eating a balanced meal and staying hydrated

  • Obtaining enough sleep and using proper hand-washing techniques

  • Reducing tension by covering your face in public

Updated on: 05-May-2023


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