Lost sense of taste

Have any of you lost your sense of taste? I have Asthma, COPD and bronchiectasis as well as a hiatus hernia, Menieres Disease and an irregular heartbeat, so I'm on quite a few pills and inhalers each day.

I'm often on antibiotics and steroids and suspect the prednisolone might be the culprit making my taste buds dull. Nothing seems to have any real flavour - can't tell the difference between jam and marmalade, for example. Food has become something I just eat because I have to.

I'm wondering if others find the same thing - or is it just me?

It's not doing my waistline much good as I keep trying things like crisps (I can taste the salt) and chocolate biscuits (I remember liking them so keep trying to find some that I like).

Any solution?


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58 Replies

  • Moy, my sense of taste has been considerably changed. Because of this, I love to get something like a hot spicy curry, that I can actually taste. I know where you're going with the crisps. They may not be good for us but they are always tasty.

    Don't know what to suggest but I'm sure someone here will have a treatment they can recommend.

  • Thanks for the suggestion. I just find I am getting sweet and sour tastes but nothing much in between. I do like a curry but even that just doesn't taste normal any more. I won't give up - there must be something that tastes the same as it used to! xx Moy

  • I often wonder if its the inhalers coating the tonque

  • I guess it could be something like that. It's interesting to know how many other people have the same experience, isn't it? XX Moy

  • Weird the way it happens,I too have bronchietasis ,copd and asthma but have strange tastes after taking Azithromycin

  • From what people have posted, it does seem to be quite common in people with lung complaints. I think the meds have something to do with it, but someone else commented about lack of physical activity, and I think that could also be a factor. I'd like to get out and be more active but suffer with vertigo so don't go too far! Perhaps I should give the wii fit another go. xx Moy

  • I also have total loss of smell n it's been over a year . I crave plantains for the salt. If my condo was burning down I wouldn't smell it. N I have to throw food away after a few days cause I can't tell if it's good or bad. I go by the expiration date. Going out to dinner is no thrill anymore . but loss 50 lbs.. Love to be able to smell perfume n flowers n when it rains . dont think it will ever come back. So sad .

  • Oh, a loss of smell is worse than the loss of taste, I should think, and quite dangerous. I seem to still have my sense of smell - or think I have! It seems a bland world, though, without the joy of eating tasty food. xx Moy

  • Moy,i think BJ has pointed a good way to go forward,try upping the spice levels for enhancing flavour.I think you will find that prednesolone is a bit of a red herring as steroids more often than not tend to increase appetite.Hopefully some one with similar taste problems on here can help you out.good luck in your quest for flavour.................regards skis and fussy cat x

  • may increase the appetite but does nothing for the actual sense of taste

  • Thanks, Skis an fussy cat! You have a point about the prednisolone. I just can't think what else can be causing the problem so clutching at straws, I guess. xx Moy

  • "Food has become something I just eat because I have to." This sounds very familiar, I often say "just give me some food pills" as BJ and Skis say, spices and herbs help a lot. My sense of taste and appetite disappeared years ago, before I was diagnosed as severe I must have had copd even then. Maybe this is another symptom of our disease that is undocumented. You are not alone with this, in any case I think that a lot of the food today is very bland tasting and even healthy people find this.

  • Perhaps it's the food then-not my poor sense of taste. I remember my mother smothering her food with pepper to give it flavour, but she was a heavy smoker which I am not. I always thought it was down to that, but maybe it wasn't. I wonder if my inhalers might be having any effect. I'm on Revlar and Incruse.


  • It is a symptom of the disease because so many people with copd have said the same thing . it didn't happen till a year n a half after diagnosed n put on oxygen 24/7. I am taking my family on a cruise in Feb n I'm afraid I won't be able to get up early n spend as much time as I can with u gchildren who are 10 n 6. There are times I don't get up till 3.I pray I will find the energy to get up.

  • I hope you manage ok on your cruise and have a good time. xx Moy

  • Thank u . I think having something to wake up for will give me the boost I need to get moving. My mom was my best friend n she passed away the day after I was released from hospital on oxygen. She never knew how sick I was. She smoked 3 packs a day. I never smoked. But I miss her a lot .it's been 3 yes n since its not easy to get out I have almost no social life .but I keep myself busy . just hope I can wake up early!!

  • I bet you will! Yesterday we had to get up for an early visit to our grandson - it was a shock to the system but we did it! You will too, I'm sure. xx Moy

  • I have the same problem and it seems to get worse if my symptoms are worse. I also thought it was linked to steroids but now I’m not sure if it’s linked to the symptoms that have meant I’m on the steroids if you catch my drift! I’m currently force food down every meal time and never really feel hungry as such it makes food become a chore I think which is sad because I’ve always loved food!

  • I've always loved my food too! It's rotten when you don't look forward to a meal anymore. It's interesting to hear I'm not alone with this. xx Moy

  • Moy are you alone at home,sometimes eating with someone else makes all the difference,i have never had a large appetite but when my wife was alive i had no problems,if as me your symptoms have become more severe and you are alone it is a double whammy as they say..............regards skis and an ever hungry healthy cat xx

  • Hi Skis. No, I'm not alone, I'm pleased to say. I have a lovely husband who always eats at the same time as I do. I understand what you are saying, though, as if he has a day out occasionally, I eat junk that tastes like cardboard! I used to love the odd pork pie, but now they taste disgusting to me. I hope Scruffy is a good companion to you and helps you to enjoy your food. xx Moy

  • i am pleased to hear you have a nice supportive hubby so you are half way there already.Scruffy and i had whole tail scampi for tea though she wasn't keen on the breadcrumbs,but here is the crunch(excuse my pun)lashings of a good quality Tartar sauce gave it the 'taste' and 'flavour' which made it more appetising xxx scruffs and me

  • Sounds tasty! Glad you enjoyed it. xx Moy

  • I understand . we once loved to eat n taste things now I also eat to live. I make microwave things that are fast. But realize eating healthy is more important so instant oatmeal or Cheerios n bananas are my go to for healthy eating. People don't understand how u can not be hungry. My children look at me like I'm crazy. Everyone gets hungry..Not true .sometimes I do but I crave salt. N eat very small portions. The loss of smell is more important of a sense than I realized till I lost it. I live in a condo n security came knocking loudly on everyone's door cause smoke detector went off. I am glad he did ..cause if the building was on fire I wouldn't smell it. The doctor never mentioned that loss of smell n appetite might occur. I really wish I was given more information in the beginning so I wouldn't be so concerned . it's life's and better than no life. I really thought by now I would be traveling all over the globe. And being able to fly to New York to see my grandchildren..But it's too hard with a hital hernia that doctors won't operate on due to copd. Good luck

  • I agree I have no sense of smell either and it makes a big difference to life and eating! Occasionally I get a slight whiff of something and only then do I realise what I’m actually missing out on 😢 only if others say they can smell something do I even know it’s there x

  • I think having no sense of smell must be worse than no sense of taste - but one affects the other, I guess. xx Moy

  • I have lost all sense smell. I burn incense to see if it would activate my smell but nothing. If u smell a little someone mentioned a medication they took n got there smell back in a few weeks. I cant take it causeci have ulcers. Good luck n check out the medication

  • Oh thanks I’ll see if I can find out about that x

  • I found the name of the medication. I write a lot of things down. Its called ...CARBONCISTENE good luck! Let me know what your doctor says please

  • I have had to stop taking symbicort because of the unpleasant metal taste in my mouth and I also lost my appetite(this was after using it for two months,) but fortunately I seem to be ok for not using it and fingers crossed I will not have to use it again. take care Sylvia.

  • Well, I can't make up my mind if my lack of taste is due to medication or - dare I say - the ageing process, or if it's just that food doesn't have any flavour these days. Even my lovely daughter-in-law's great cooking no longer tickles my taste buds like it used to. I am beginning to think the meds could be a factor, though. Has your taste returned to normal now? xx Moy

  • Try advair or spiriva..no metal taste. I've been taking advair for years n spiriva I'm suppose to take daily but I only take it a few times a week. Hate that metal taste.I get that from antibiotics ..zinc

  • Hi Moy I have also lost intrest in food dont even feel hungry any more and when i do eat it doesnt taste like it used to xxx

  • That's what I'm finding. D'you think it's to do with meds? xx Moy

  • Hi all. I dont think it's the meds . I have been on the same meds for 6 yrs n only loss my sense of smell a little over a year ago. I went from 150 lbs to 115 lbs . which is better for my bum knee. Xoo

  • Every cloud has a silver lining! Lol!

  • It could be and also because not active x

  • Ah! Now that's a possibility! xx

  • I could likely write pages about my sense, or rather lack of taste.

    It comes, it goes All Too quickly, constantly changing, nothing ever tasting the same.

    I to am on steroids, plus a whole host of other meds, I feel that it is often a combination of medication for your condition(s) and the condition(s) themselves.

  • Glad to know it's not just me. I must admit, there are some foods where I cannot taste. For a while I went off steaks as there was not any taste but since I started rubbing garlic on it before cooking, I am now back to enjoying Saturday nights BBQ 😀

  • Ah! Perhaps I need to go for more garlic too! xx Moy

  • Damage to the nerve endings in the back of the nose can lead to a loss of taste, usually combined with a loss of the sense of smell. A severe sinus infection may have done some damage, or an injury from something such as falling down the stairs, which happened to a young woman I knew. She could only taste and smell Aldi peach flavoured fizzy water for some reason; drank loads of it because she could actually smell and taste it as she drank it.

  • How weird is that? I seem to have retained my sense of smell, but just the taste buds don't seem to be working properly. Haven't had any sinus problems or falls that could cause the problem. xx Moy

  • I looked up loss of smell on Google n there was a study with about 300 people n they found that the loss of smell was related to an early death for part of the people suffering from this, in their study. I don't want to believe it n it's only 1 article I found that states this. Has anyone else ever seen this on Google search pertaining to loss of smell??

  • I read this in a newspaper too. The loss of smell may not be a causal factor but a symptom of something else. As a lecturer once told us in a Principles of Investigation lecture, the divorce rate and the importation of bananas to the UK have both increased since WWII, but these may not be directly connected. Now, whenever I have a bored moment, I try to imagine how bananas might be implicated in divorce.

  • Funny . let me know your dings ..lol

  • Now that u mention it .when I was staying with my mom when she was going blind I nted going to bathroom . I broke my nose in so u places that it took 7 surgeries to me where I am today. So add that to the equation of copd it makes sense that's loss my sense of smell ty

  • Hi MoyB

    I have similar issues which have come on over time. I have Bronch and Asthma as well as epilepsy and high blood pressure.

    The interesting thing is we can taste sweet, salt, sour etc meaning that our taste buds are functioning perfectly. What's failing is our sense of smell!

    All of the complex flavour comes from the aroma not from the tongue.

    My good lady wife recently found a potential treatment using strongly smelling essential oils but I think I may be too far gone and I can't stop the Meds anyway.

    I was lacing all my food with salt and sugar to get sone taste. High salt with prednisone is an issue and can lead to water retention which I was suffering from. I've had to go on a low salt diet and added to the lack of flavour I could basically be eating cardboard.

    Have a look at this essential oil idea, it's supposed to retrain the sense of smell and you may respond to it.

    Otherwise go easy with the salt and sugar. I make a lot of use of balsamic vinegar and lemon these days.

    Sorry to not have an easy fix - I think it is, as someone else said, a part of our condition.

    Keep your chin up, chocolate seems to largely come through!


  • Thanks, Ian. Which essential oils have you tried? I could give them a go. xx Moy

  • I have very severe COPD. I posted recently about losing all sense of smell and taste for many months. Was given carbocisteine, 6 a day. It took 2-3 days and I realised I could smell coffee in the next room. Nowadays I even pick on on perfumes and sprays on folk in the supermarket. Have even had to move away fast because they are so strong. Can't beat the smell of baking bread!

  • That's great! How lovely to get your sense of taste and smell back. xx Moy

  • Moy.

    I never found oral steroids affected my taste buds at all.

    I was on Pulmicort which contains Budesonide and that really affected my taste for years. Antibiotics affect my taste - I asked to go back on Seretide and was told "no" on umteeen occasions. Finally when I moved into a village, I got Seretide back and it has made a difference,

    People on medication mostly do have taste changes - like you I can taste salt and sweet products and that lead me to brush my tongue with salt on a toothbrush - it does help to a degree getting helping to get rid of oral thrush which is one of the culprits of taste loss.

    It is not a cure, but does help me to a degree,

  • I haven't heard of anyone doing that before! Do you mean brushing with salt is good for getting rid of thrush? xx Moy

  • Moy.

    It helps me. Salt kills most things so I thought it may help kill thrush which is a yeast infection. I don't swallow the salt.

    Salt retains water so anyone with high blood pressure would be advised not to try this. Works for me and salt is also abrasive and helps scrape thrush away, so a duel action.

  • I'll keep it in mind - might be worth a try! xx Moy

  • I've just discovered Sainsbury's salmon fishcakes with chilli and ginger - I could really taste the ginger. Hooray! xx Moy

  • I got diagnosed with Bronchiectasis about 12 years ago and also suffered from severe nasal polyps at about the same time which I had removed (and four more times since....). I haven't had any sense of smell at all ever since and have just recently lost most of my taste as well. I have wondered if the constant drugs have perhaps been to blame but to be honest, the medical world doesn't appear to be that bothered, adopting an "oh dear never mind " attitude whenever I've brought the subject up. I am now undergoing acupuncture as a possible way of maybe getting the taste back, early days........

    I too tend to eat just because I have to as well, I really can't say I enjoy food much anymore. You're not alone in liking crisps and all things salty either! Biscuits are good, in fact most things sweet. So I guess if and when I ever get my taste back, all my teeth will have rotted and fallen out and I'll have to buy a new (larger size) wardrobe. Let's hope the acupuncture starts to help soon!!!

  • Good luck with the acupuncture! My sense of taste seems to be improving at the moment. Had some tasty chicken last night - for once it tasted of meat not cardboard. xx Moy

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