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Anxiety can cause a host of reactions in your body. Fast heart rate, shallow breathing, flushed skin, and blood pressure spikes are some of the more common stress reactions. One of the lesser known responses is a change in the taste in your mouth. For some people, anxiety dries out the mouth, leaving behind a bitter or metallic taste. Researchers have known for some time that when people are under stress, they become less sensitive to certain tastes. A study exposed participants to stressful situations, such as public speaking, solving math problems, and having their body parts immersed in cold water.
For some people, anxiety causes an additional taste response: the presence of a persistent metallic taste. The medical name for it is dysgeusia. It may be because anxiety can cause your mouth to dry out, and the reduced flow of saliva causes bitter or metallic tastes. One study showed that people with higher levels of anxiety often have a dry mouth condition called xerostomia. Norepinephrine , one of the neurotransmitters your body releases in stressful situations, is known to temporarily change your taste receptors in your mouth, for example.
A study showed that cortisol, a stress hormone, was associated with gingivitis and periodontal disease. Both health conditions can cause inflamed gums that bleed easily. This may contribute to a metallic taste. Endocannabinoids can make you want to eat, and they can change the way food tastes to you. One research review showed that medications can also stimulate a metallic taste — including medications that treat anxiety.
One study showed that anxiety and a metallic taste are associated with burning mouth syndrome BMS. BMS is a condition that causes an intense tingling and chronic or periodic pain, especially in the front parts of your mouth and tongue. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research , the condition is around five times more common in women than it is in men, and it often begins in midlife or menopause.
People with BMS feel as though a hot liquid has scalded their mouths. For some, the feeling comes and goes, and for others the feeling persists. Many describe taste changes along with the burning feeling. Although more research needs to be done to clarify exactly what causes BMS, researchers think it may have to do with overstimulation of your nerves in your mouth and tongue.
While some people describe the anxiety-altered taste as metallic, others describe it as sour, acidic, or bitter. For some, the taste is just generally unpleasant. It may also feel as though you have bad breath or a film over your teeth. You may be able to get rid of the metallic taste by trying one or more of these methods:.
If the bad taste continues, talk with your healthcare provider about underlying conditions or medications that could be causing the problem and treatments that may help manage your symptoms. If anxiety is causing a lasting metallic taste in your mouth, it might be a good idea to reduce the stress in your life.
Here are some preventative strategies to try:. A good place to start might be your primary care doctor or nurse practitioner. Anxiety can cause a wide range of physiological symptoms, including a bitter or metallic taste in your mouth. Talk therapy works for many people, and you may also be able to lower your anxiety by getting more rest and practicing relaxing activities like yoga and meditation.
A lower-anxiety life could improve your overall sense of well-being — and eliminate that deeply unpleasant taste in your mouth. You really don't need to check the CDC's website again. You probably do need a break, though. Here's how to cope with your anxieties over the pandemic. The next time you start to feel anxious, calm your mind with these ideas that will add tiny bursts of mindfulness to your day.
Anxiety and anger are closely linked emotions that trigger some of the same hormones in our body. We'll discuss the connection. Rebound anxiety happens when your symptoms return with even more intensity after stopping a medication. Here's why it happens and how it's treated. Looking for a job, but worried your social anxiety might limit you? No need to fret, you've got plenty of options.
Why stress alters the taste in your mouth. Burning mouth syndrome. What does it taste like? How can you stop it? Where to find help. The bottom line. Read this next. Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, Ph. Understanding and Coping with Rebound Anxiety Rebound anxiety happens when your symptoms return with even more intensity after stopping a medication. Medically reviewed by Vara Saripalli, Psy.I want to taste your sweet
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What causes a sweet taste in the mouth?