The senses of smell and taste are closely related. Working together they can both alert us to dangers and enhance our enjoyment or dislike of certain foods. Our tongues are covered in thousands of little bumps called taste buds. These taste buds contain receptors that allow us to perceive five elements of taste: sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and savory.
A reduced ability to taste is called hypogeusia. A distortion in taste is called dysgeusia or parageusia. The complete lack of the sense of taste is called ageusia.
There are many things that can alter one’s ability to taste, such as common viral infections, smoking, or certain medications. People with multiple sclerosis (MS) undergoing intravenous steroid treatment for relapse frequently report a temporary “metallic” taste in the mouth. But that’s not the only way that MS might affect taste.
A problem with taste in MS is thought to be rare; but when it does happen, it can seriously impact one’s quality of life. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Neurology reported that taste deficits may be more common in people with MS than previously thought and are associated with MS-related lesions in specific parts of the brain.
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MS Signs & Symptoms: Loss of Taste or Hypogeusia