What's wrong with my taste buds?
November 1, 2012 11:22 AM   Subscribe

Had a weird, persistent sweet taste at the back of my mouth for a few hours now. I don't even like sweets. Any ideas?

So I know, YANMD and all that. However, this is weird and I'm freaking out a touch. I had a brutal cold last weekend. Fever, chills, coughing, major congestion and all. The cold has passed for the most part. However, I've had a constant scratchy feeling at the back of my throat. Initially I thought this was just left over gunk from being sick. I smoke and though I rarely get sick, it takes me a while to get over it. However, today, I noticed a strange, tingling, sweet taste at the back of my mouth. It seems to be centered on the back right side of my tongue. It's been consistent for the last couple of hours, maybe a little more. A google indicates that this can be caused by low carb intake, but I doubt that's the case. I've not lacked for carbs. My diet is pretty poor overall, however. I don't have a lot of money, and getting staples on a consistent basis is sometimes iffy, like the last week, for instance. My search also brought up possible diabetic implications, which is freaking me out. Any ideas of what this could be? I've scheduled an appointment with my GP, but that's not until tomorrow. I'm not the type of person to notice every little bodily change, so this has me especially worried. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
posted by Ephelump Jockey to Health & Fitness (8 answers total)
Here's what scarysymptoms.com has to say.

The first response on this site is less alarmist and coincides with your recent cold.

And this site gives a lot of the same stuff.

So your concern is valid, but I don't think it's ER territory.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:28 AM on November 1, 2012

Dehydration can cause sweet tastes in the mouth, not sure if it's localized though.
posted by Neekee at 11:32 AM on November 1, 2012

I usually can't smell properly for about a week after I get rid of a cold, and sometimes everything just smells like vinegar to me. (Even after my nose has cleared mostly.) When my sinuses are fully back to normal it goes away. I know taste and smell are really connected, so maybe that is what is going on here? Can you smell things or is your nose back to normal yet?
posted by photoexplorer at 11:33 AM on November 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Google is both a blessing and a curse when it comes to medical info....personally, I find that flooding myself with information HELPS, but there are plenty of people for whom it's not a good idea (if you're prone to being a person who freaks out over the worst case scenario, then it's not smart).

Anyway - are there any medications of any kind you're taking now, or were taking as a result of your cold/flu/whatever? Some medications can cause weird "aftertaste" side effects (an antibiotic I took for a week left me with a persistent metallilc taste in my mouth, and the only thing I could do was to mainline Jolly Rancher candies; it sucked). As for the gunk-in-the-back-of-the-throat - I had a localized inflammation of my tonsils after a cold once that felt kind of like that. It's possible the cold just aggravated something in there and it's taking a little longer to shake. Since the sweet-taste thing has only been going on for 2 hours, I'd be surprised if this all isn't just because your cold is taking longer than usual to shake.

Also, a reminder - whatever it is that's going on, it hasn't killed you over the course of this past week. I doubt it would suddenly get so bad over the course of 24 hours that it would kill you before your appointment, especially since it's only been going on for 2 hours now.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:36 AM on November 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

I'm not on any meds. I smoke, so my sense of smell is pretty shot as is my sense of taste. That's part of what made this so strange. It's oddly intense, which I'm not accustomed to. I was brought up under the "If it's not killing you, it's probably no big deal," school of illness management, so googling symptoms isn't usually my first line of defense. But this was so intense, strange, and persistent that I buckled. Then I'm seeing diabetes and whatnot so my first thought is to consult the hivemind for a dose of sanity and rationality. My money's on infection, but by all means, keep the thoughts coming.
posted by Ephelump Jockey at 11:52 AM on November 1, 2012

Sometimes during/after a cold I have a sort of soapy sweet feeling at the back of my throat. I think it comes from swallowing snot instead of blowing your nose? Gross, I know, but at least it's nothing to really worry about.
posted by wintersonata9 at 11:56 AM on November 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding GERD, but recommending a visit to the doctor. Diagnosing requires more tools than just an account on sensations. Your doctor might be able to pinpoint what's going on with a look down your throat, swab, or a blood test. Here's hoping it's something fairly benign!
posted by samsara at 12:22 PM on November 1, 2012

You really should have your blood sugar checked. I imagine your doctor will do that. Try not to jump to any conclusions, but it can certainly wait until tomorrow.

Of course, if you know someone who is diabetic, they can take your blood sugar, if you wanna know today.
posted by Billiken at 12:58 PM on November 1, 2012

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