Have you ever had a taste in your mouth like you were sucking on nails? Some women in menopause experience a metallic taste in their mouth, a less than common symptom that can be annoying although usually not a medical concern. Here’s what you should know about menopause and a metallic taste in the mouth.
What is a metallic taste?
Sometimes people experience a bad taste in their mouth that may be described as metallic. This foul taste can affect how you taste your food, either short- or long-term.
A metallic taste in the mouth can have many different causes besides menopause. One of the most obvious is a dental issue, such as gingivitis, cavities, or abscesses. Here are a few more:
- Dry mouth, which can be caused by use of certain over-the-counter and prescription medications (e.g., antidepressants, antihistamines, decongestants, diuretics, antipsychotics, acne meds, etc), diabetes, autoimmune conditions, nerve damage, and mouth breathing.
- Pregnancy, in particular during the first trimester, can be accompanied by taste changes. The unpleasant taste goes away later in pregnancy.
- Gastrointestinal conditions, including bile and acid reflux
- Use of supplements, including those that contain calcium, chromium, copper, iron, multivitamins, vitamin D, and zinc
Taking some over-the-counter or prescription medications, including antihistamines and anti-inflammatories as well as medications for cancer, diabetes, depression, seizures, and cardiovascular problems
What is the association between menopause and a metallic taste?
According to reproductive endocrinologist Lila Schmidt, MD, in San Diego, “some women going through menopause may feel pain or a burning sensation on their tongue, lips, gums, or other spots in the mouth.” Along with these sensations can be “a metallic taste in the mouth” association with fluctuations in estrogen levels. These hormonal changes can also impact your taste buds, so your food may taste different for a while, even into postmenopause.
An uncommon symptom of menopause called burning mouth syndrome also may be accompanied by a metallic taste. Women with this syndrome may also experience a burning sensation in their mouth, especially near the tip of their tongue.
How to manage metallic taste naturally?
You can manage this unpleasant taste in a number of ways.
- Practice good oral hygiene. Although this doesn’t get to the root of the issue, regular brushing, flossing, tongue scraping, and dental cleanings can help keep this taste at bay.
- Avoid metal utensils, dishes, and cookware. Use plastic, glass, or ceramic utensils, pots, and pans to reduce a metallic taste
- Suck on hard sugar-free candies. Certain flavors such as orange, lemon, peppermint, and spearmint can lessen the unpleasant taste.
- Stay hydrated to avoid dry mouth
- Don’t smoke
- Drink Ayurvedic herbal teas. Try amalaki, arjuna, bhringarai, or shatavari
when to see your doctor
A metallic taste associated with menopause typically goes away over time. However, if you are concerned or the taste becomes bothersome, then consult your healthcare provider. You may be referred to an ear, nose, and throat doctor (otolaryngologist) for evaluation.
Some women going through menopause experience a metallic taste in their mouth. This is typically a harmless although somewhat annoying condition that can be managed naturally and usually fades with time.