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Dysgeusia: Metallic Taste During Pregnancy

What is that metallic taste in my mouth during pregnancy?


There are a lot of things that change in your body during pregnancy, have you lost track of just how many yet? Starting with the obvious - your waistline expands (for a great cause), your hair might get thicker, your nails may get stronger, foods you once loved may seem like your worst enemy, your sense of smell gets stronger, and surprise - your sense of taste isn’t the same either. Dysgeusia is a condition that a majority of pregnant women report noticing - and for some, they notice this symptom before any other. 

Dysgeusia is defined as a distortion of taste. Most women describe this taste as a metallic taste, similar to drinking out of a tin cup; but it’s also been described as a sour, burnt, or foul taste. This taste can linger, even when you aren’t eating and is completely normal.

A symptom like having a metallic taste in your mouth may seem small, but it can be a challenge - especially when nothing else seems “normal” about this time in your life. Unfortunately, dysgeusia usually sets in during the first trimester of pregnancy, which means it’s accompanied by symptoms like food aversions, nausea, morning sickness, and cravings - all things that involve the sense of taste. The good news is that dysgeusia usually will go away on its own after the first trimester. If you are beyond the first trimester and still experiencing symptoms, don’t worry - it won’t last forever and will go away after delivery.  

As with most symptoms during pregnancy, that metallic taste in your mouth is caused by the change of hormones in your body, specifically estrogen is to blame. Your sense of smell may also be heightened, which can contribute to the effect of the metallic taste. Because dysgeusia is caused by hormone fluctuations, it’s not something that you can prevent, but you can ease the symptoms by trying a few things:

  • Brush your teeth regularly, including your tongue. This will help keep your mouth nice and fresh feeling and making sure to brush your tongue may help to neutralize the ph levels. Some doctors even recommend rinsing with salt water rinse.  
  • Change your vitamins. Check with your doctor, but it’s possible you can try a vitamin with less Iron in it, that may help reduce the metal taste.  
  • Balance the ph level with acidic foods. If you aren’t overwhelmed by the thought of lemonade or pickles, give them a try. Since dysgeusia usually hits during the first trimester, it’s possible those foods won’t sit well in your stomach, but if you are doing ok on that front, it’s worth a shot. You can try things like fruit juice, pickles, or pickled beets.
  • Try water with lemon. This is a trick you can try even if you are struggling with morning sickness. Slice up a few lemons and place them in your water. You need to stay hydrated anyway, and the lemons can help ease your morning sickness and balance the ph to relieve the metallic taste.    

While dysgeusia is a completely normal part of pregnancy, it is important to recognize that you may be seeing this symptom due to more serious medical conditions such as kidney or liver disease, diabetes, or infections of the mouth.  It’s always best to talk to your doctor if you feel what you are experiencing isn’t normal or if you are seeing other abnormal symptoms along with the dysgeusia.

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