Chemotherapy Taste Changes: Metallic Taste Side Effects

Hair loss and digestive issues are common and well-known chemotherapy side effects. One chemo side effect that gets far less attention (unless you are an actual chemo patient) is the fact that a person’s taste can change. In fact, roughly one-half of chemotherapy patients experience taste changes during treatment. Patients in chemotherapy treatment complain of a number of changes to their sense of taste, from bitterness, to sweetness, to a loss of taste in general. In this article, you can learn more about how to get around that metallic taste that chemotherapy leaves for some patients.

A constant metallic taste in the mouth can make eating, already a chore for many cancer patients, a very unpleasant experience when foods that a patient used to love suddenly become downright inedible. This becomes a serious problem if it leads to an aversion to eating in general and/or malnutrition. Unfortunately, doctors’ hands are most likely tied when it comes to this chemotherapy side effect. Here are some tricks and tips to help cancer patients overcome metallic taste so that they can continue to take in sufficient nutrition.

  • Acidic drinks such as lemonade often overpower the metallic taste. Don’t try this tip if you suffer from mouth sores.
  • Plastic utensils rather than metal can help weaken this taste.
  • Strong herbs and spices often help a patient forget about the metallic taste in his or her mouth, as do sauces like ketchup, barbecue, or teriyaki.
  • Try not to eat for 2-3 hours after chemotherapy treatment, when the metallic taste is often strongest.
  • Chilled foods like frozen fruits, ice cream, and popsicles often offer some relief.
  • To combat metallic taste in between meals, try chewing gum or sucking on a hard candy.

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