Absolutely foul taste in mouth for months. Does anyone know for definite if it is related to lung disease?

For those of you who don't know I have been pretty ill for over a year with asthma and recently diagnosed copd. For months I could barely hold a conversation due to breathlessness. Loads of other symptoms are on my profile, if anyone wants to look, but, what I was wondering was that my appetite is practically non existent and for a year now I have been getting by on toast and cheese. I see a dietician on Monday so maybe I'll get some more help then. Anyway, for around 8 months ( with a little respite now and again for a day or two), I had the most foul taste imaginable in my mouth which no amount of brushing of teeth, gargling and using mouth wash would clear. It tasted bitter, rotting and like bile. I wondered (after reading about some of you having a bad taste in your mouth), if this taste could be due to sputum. I also thought that this taste might have destroyed my taste buds. Any time I have mentioned it to a doctor they just look blank and shrug. Does anyone know for sure what causes this taste, have any ideas where to find out about it, ( I suppose I could try the vet!) or if it is reversible. The taste has been gone for some weeks now but still no appetite. I am really just looking for some pointers, because if I can get my appetite back I am sure I will improve generally. Thanks for taking the time to read this question. xxx Hope you are all keeping as well as possible. PS They are going to investigate me for bronchiectasis as well.

35 Replies

Hi yep lung diease associated infections can cause it also some meds can .. It could even be infection in your gum line

Thanks Daz, but its not my teeth or gums as I had them checked. xxx

What is bad taste in mouth?

Bad taste in mouth may indicate taste impairment. The causes of bad taste in mouth can range from altered taste to a complete loss of the sense of taste. However, a complete inability to taste is rare. Bad taste in mouth a common symptom of gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD), salivary gland infection, sinusitis, poor dental hygiene, or even the result of taking certain medicines. Taste problems are caused by anything that interrupts the transfer of taste sensations to the brain or by conditions that affect the way the brain interprets these sensations.

Mouth Problems Spotlight

Bad Taste in Mouth? Join the Discussion


Heartburn, or gastric reflux, is a common cause of bad taste. Stomach acid regurgitated into the mouth produces a bad taste described as an acid or metallic taste. An infection of one of the major salivary glands is also a common cause of bad taste. Similarly, poor dental hygiene causes bacterial growth in the mouth that could result in a bad taste. Another possibility is a viral infection that may damage the tongue’s sensory cells and result in changes to the sense of taste. Other mouth or tongue disorders, including mouth ulcers, are a possible cause, as well.

Bad taste may also result from radiation therapy and medicines, such as antibiotics and angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. Taste problems may take months or even years to resolve. Some changes may be permanent, especially if the mouth is a target of direct radiation therapy.

Bad breath in mouth can be a sign of a serious condition. Seek prompt medical care if your bad taste in mouth is persistent or causes you concern. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you experience difficulty breathing or high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit).



What other symptoms might occur with bad taste in mouth?

Bad taste in mouth may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that frequently affect the digestive tract may also involve other body systems.... Read more about bad taste in mouthsymptoms


What causes bad taste in mouth?

Inflammation and infection of the upper respiratory tract, sinuses, mouth, and tongue can result in bad taste in your mouth. Symptoms may arise from inflammatory conditions, infections, or diseases that affect the taste buds of the tongue responsible for the sensation of taste. Gastrointestinal reflux disease has a similar affect on the surface the tongue, which may be damaged by gastric acid and bile.... Read more about bad taste in mouthcauses

Related Health Centers: Oral Cancer, Common Dental Problems

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Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP.Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

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hope this helps, but as always see your doctor huggs xxx

Thanks so much for your very informative and helpful reply. I do have acid reflux, which I have had for around 20years or so. Interestingly it became much worse last year and would not respond to my usual Zantac and was put on Omeprazole. I was on a very high dose for about a month then it was gradually tapered down. I had an endoscopy which, thankfully, was clear. I have always told the docs that I think my acid reflux was a result of my medication. My dentist has given me a clean bill of health. Its just that my lack of appetite did coincide with the foul taste in my mouth. Bad does not begin to describe it. I also have to see a respiratory consultant so maybe he will have an answer. My taste buds are not totally destroyed because I can taste coffee, cheese and a few other odds and ends. I just want my appetite back so I can gain strength. My physio reckons I am still getting by because of all my drinking. Soft drinks I mean! Fruit juices etc. Thanks again for your help, I hope you keep well and thanks for laughing at my jokes. xx

Hi huggs, reflux is a very frequent side effect from steroids and bad taste is often from bile (though many other possibilities as others above have suggested). When i have to have prednisolone i get dreadful choking bronchospasms from the additional reflux. Silent reflux (the laryngeal kind) is bad even though you often don't get heartburn. What you do get is the acid being aspirated into the lungs, making the copd worse. Vicious circle :( Glad your endoscopy was clear, mine not so good - barretts so i have to have one every two years.

Im on another forum for reflux and many there say theirs got worse after 1) increases in ppi medication; 2) after endoscopies. I've experienced the latter - maybe this could be because the endoscope irritates the LES valve into the stomach? Just a thought.

Do see your GP and Im sure the BLF helpline nurses would have useful things to say about reflux/copd connection. Click red balloon top right of page for contacts. You could get checked for hiatus hernia too if you haven't already. Take care and good luck.

Hi O2Trees, Thanks for getting back to me, and, I am sorry your endoscopy was not clear. As I said earlier I will bring it up with the dietician tomorrow, also the BLF helpline and if all that fails I will mention to my GP for about the 100th time. Keep well and thanks. xx

Hi huggs, I replied to louiseamos question about a bad taste in the mouth, I used to get it with terrible bad breath as well, I think it was because I had a bacterial infection lingering in my lungs. I have a poor appetite as well, but some medications can effect that. I know you are getting a lot of nutrition from fruit drinks, but do you think they may be taking the edge off your hunger...could you try water to drink for just a couple of days and try some light soup maybe and see how it goes. I wonder if not eating can cause taste problems too. Have you asked the BLF helpline?

Hi knitter, Thanks for the advice. I will try drinking only water today and part of tomorrow(up until I see the dietician) and see what happens. I have phoned the BLF helpline a few times, but strangely enough I can't remember if I brought this up or not! I'll check again on Monday morning. Keep well and thanks a lot.xx

Hi Huggs I also have COPD are you on antibiotics? There is some I take makes my mouth taste awful and my tongue goes black Also nightmares. Hope this helps. Rose

Hi Rose, I am on and off antibiotics, but I don't think its them. I think its either something to do with gunge and nasties in my lungs and airways, or something to do with acid reflux. I have also been examined by an ENT specialist using a camera and that was clear. I am convinced that the foul taste in my mouth has something to do with my lack of appetite. Time will tell. Someone here said that bronchiectasis can cause a bad taste in mouth. I have to see a Consultant about that. I am pleased the taste has gone for the moment, but still have no appetite. As I said earlier I see the dietician tomorrow so we'll see what happens there. Thanks for replying and I hope you keep as well as possible. hugs and xxx

I would say a lot of that is the reflux. Try a peptic liquid I used to get a foul bile more so in the mornings and the peptic seems to have helped no end. I have sleep problems and sometimes take a sleeping tablet and that leaves my mouth tasting as if I have been sucking copper coins.

I see you say you eat a lot of cheese try missing that out for a few days and see if it improves. I do take pro biotic drink every morning and have also started on Manuka Honey 10+ all seem to make me feel a little better?

Be well

Thanks for replying Offcut. I think you could well be right, but time will tell. I have peptic liquid that I can use if needed. Thanks for bringing up about the honey because I have seen a lot of people mention it, and thought that I should look into it. Needless to say I forgot so thanks for reminding me. I will ask the dietician what she thinks about pro biotic drinks. I hope you keep well and thanks. xxx

Aldi do Manuka 10+ for £3.99

Thanks again Offcut. I live on a small island with few shops. In my present condition I can't get to the mainland so I will look online for it. Or if someone is visiting from the mainland they may be able to get it for me. Thanks. hugs and xx

Hi again, I just went onto Amazon to look for this honey and there are loads of different types and prices! From there I went to Manuka's own website which has led me to be more confused than ever. They have everything from capsules, lozenges, snacks as well as many different types of flavour and jars. Can you possibly unconfused me in any way? Its very expensive the ones that I have seen. Of course if it helps it is well worth it. Thanks again. xxx

Hi, perhaps you've got this sorted by now but I just remembered my Probiotic Acidophilus capsules.

I've been taking one per day for some time to rebalance the gut bacteria that all these antibiotics destroy.

I got mine from H&Barrett, 2for1.

Manuka, I get via Amazon by post. At present I have Nelson's 20+ because I've been low.

Now I'm deffo on the way up so will cease both the above for a while.

Hope you're okay today :) xxxx P

Maybe strong spicy food ... With eg turmeric etc ... helps lungs too and may overcome bad taste?

Hi Julie, I use to love strong spicy food but problems with my stomach soon put a stop to that unfortunately. I am vegetarian and use to eat their peppered beef slices with just a little mustard. I tried that again last week and had to force it down. Thanks for your suggestions anyway. hugs and xx

Ribena helps me a bit when bad taste from sinus infection...seems to coat mouth as does honey. I do hope you get some relief from this. Maybe try the nose saline spray? X

Hi again Julie, I drink quite a lot of Ribena anyway, but I never thought of trying a nose saline spray. Keep well. hugs and xxx

I think it is probably down to your current, fairly restricted diet. Try to extend the types of food you eat and drink - even if it is just a little at a time. If you have truly been getting by on cheese and toast and fruit juice this will affect your gut metabolism and could cause bad breath/belching which could manifest itself as bad taste in your mouth.

I have had bronchiectasis for 60 years and had no problem with bad tastes. Meds don't bother me in that way either. It's your diet, I believe.

Hi Happyfeet59, I have tried eating just little bits and pieces in small amounts, but I am not really tasting it and usually have to force it down. I have done this with soup, quorn and occasionally a cheddar biscuit. I sometimes enjoy the biscuit. I have been at the stage for a long time now, that, whatever I fancy I will try and eat so at least I am eating something. Thanks for your advice and keep well. xxx

am same eat small amounts but feel sick after side effects of meds ?

Not the same thing but my husband is on chemotherapy which causes a bad taste in his mouth. He finds pineapple helps, either fresh or tinned (in juice not syrup). Might be worth a try.

I am sorry about the situation with your husband and hope everything goes very well for him. Funnily enough I bought these fruit fingers from the chilled section of the supermarket. There was melon, grapes, papaya and pineapple. I did manage some of them which I enjoyed. However I ended up giving most of the away or they would have gone off. Its just going to be a matter of perseverance I think and literally forcing things down for a while. Take care of yourself and hubby. xxx

Hi Huggs,

I have Bronchiectasis, and when I have an exharbation and start with a lung infection, that makes me feel poorly ,I always get a nasty taste in my mouth, and my sputum turns darker green.

HI Fern369,

I am not sure if I have bronchiectasis yet as I am still waiting to see a Consultant. I saw a dietician yesterday who told me to drink water and take a multivitamin pill. What a waste of time and a let down. Peeg has given me some very helpful advice which I am going to follow up on. I hope you keep well and take care. hugs xx

Hi Huggs,

I take Manuka 10+ Honey several times a day to sweeten herbal teas, I think it helps my immune system and tastes good too with No side effects.

Hi Fern369,

I also, among other things, have Bronchiectasis and have the same problem as you. I've always put it down to the antibiotics I have to take each day. Do you have a solution to the nasty taste in your mouth?

Hi Lovinggrandmother,

The nasty taste starts with an infection flare up , and goes away after course of antibiotics.I am taking nebulised Colistin daily now (as my lungs were colonised with Pseudomonas aeruginosa), which seems to keep the bad taste and infection at bay quite well.For me the taste was always a good indication that antibiotics would soon be needed.

Hi Fern369

Thank for the reply. Unfortunately I take antibiotics each day to ward off infection My lungs were scarred by the many investigative operations as a child as my lungs were damaged with Mercury poisoning caused by Pink Disease as a baby. My lungs collapsed when I was 11 yrs old. Eventually causing Bronchiectasis. I believe the nasty taste and bad breath comes from the mucus but I am going to try your suggestion of Manuka 10+ Honey with herbal tea as it does sound quite nice.

Thanks Peeg, That is very helpful indeed. I am going to look into it right now. The dietician I saw yesterday was no use at all and it was a complete waste of time going. She told me to drink nothing other than water and to take a multivitamin pill.! She said she will see me in a month. That's what she thinks! Thanks again Peeg, and also to everyone who has replied. Keep well

I've had similar problem for over a year. At long last my resp consultant has decided to try to do some investigating as my anxiety is soaring & not being taken seriously is not helping. I have had blood tests done this morning to see if its a vitamin deficiency. Will let you know if it comes to anything.

Thanks for replying nanniesue, I am at my wits end with it all Peeg gave me some good advice which I am going to try out. Depending on your blood results you might want to look at what Peeg has to say on the matter. In fact there is a ton of advice on this problem and what might be right for you, may not suit me and vice versa. I think its a case of trial and error. Keep well and take care. hugs and xxx

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