Suddenly, everything tastes sweet.
December 16, 2004 7:05 PM   Subscribe

MysteriousTasteBudChange!Filter: Everything I drink tastes sweet to me now. Even water and salty broth. Strangely enough, I can still taste salt in food, and a pinch of salt on the tongue tastes exactly as it should. What the hell is going on? Am I going to die of a brain tumor or something?
posted by calistasm to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
Has anything else happened to you recently? Illness, injury, etc.?

Either way, go see a doctor, as there is a chance it could be serious. The Merck Manual of Geriatrics mentions something similar (search for sudden change in taste) to this, but there is no way to rule out anything without some tests.
posted by bh at 7:38 PM on December 16, 2004

Much better information here.

Beware Medical School Syndrome, though.

The best use for online medical research is to be able to discuss things intelligently with a real doctor, not to become one.
posted by bh at 7:46 PM on December 16, 2004

It seems to have gone away, and everything tastes as it should. But I shall keep this information if it ever happens again. Thanks guys!
posted by calistasm at 8:00 PM on December 16, 2004

a cursory search of "sweet taste" with "symptom" brings up ideas as various as diabetes. carcinoma, and blood sugar fluctuation caused by Atkins-style low-carb diets.

Sounds like it's worth a call to the Doc.
posted by Miko at 8:03 PM on December 16, 2004

Have you had a cold recently, or taken any cold medication? It's possible that something connected with your nose brought this on, though sweet is a basic taste bud sensation and not one of the subtleties associated with smell. That said, a serious sinus infection can completely destroy a person's sense of taste.

This is what happened to two people I know. Although both are still able to sense the basic tastes, i.e., knowing when something is sweet, salty, etc., basically food tastes like cardboard. It seems that being prone to this happening might also be hereditary.
posted by spaghetti at 8:46 PM on December 16, 2004

Hormones can do a number on your taste buds. And just because it's never happened before when you were menstruating or ovulating or pregnant or nursing, doesn't mean that your body hasn't decided to shift gears and make things interesting THIS time.

I divine from your profile that you're female, so I thought I'd throw that in.
posted by padraigin at 8:56 PM on December 16, 2004

I had a job once where I ground copper all day, polishing the metalwork for the Madison capitol building; sometimes, after a particularly metal-grindy day, this would happen to me. Been around any fine metal-powders lately?
posted by interrobang at 9:40 PM on December 16, 2004

blood sugar fluctuation caused by Atkins-style low-carb diets.

Right. One of my friends who is doing Atkins says that everything tastes sweet to him.
posted by kreinsch at 9:59 PM on December 16, 2004

If it only lasted a few hours, did you use a new toothpaste or morning mouth refresher thing? I once used a toothpaste that made things taste sweet (oddly enough, cigarettes) for a while after using it.
posted by modofo at 9:31 AM on December 17, 2004

I've heard of and rarely experienced occasional spells of dysgeusia like this. My pet theory is that it's a viral thing like vestibular neuronitis - a virus with a proclivity for certain peripheral neurons - but that's very hard to prove.

Eating an artichoke will cause everything you eat for the next few hours to taste sweeter than it is - one reason why the French don't pair them with wine.
posted by ikkyu2 at 5:42 PM on December 17, 2004

Hey, BH - that link you linked was written by Steve Bromley, who I trained with at the Neuro Institute of New York! Cool to see it, I'd been wondering what he was up to.
posted by ikkyu2 at 5:44 PM on December 17, 2004

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