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A Metallic Taste When I Cough

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metallic taste when i cough

Sometimes, coughing can cause a metallic taste in the mouth. This symptom usually indicates an upper respiratory infection like a cold or sinus infection.

If your coughing causes a metallic taste, try to rest, drink plenty of fluids and take over-the-counter pain relievers. The metallic taste will go away once the underlying infection is treated.

Causes

The metallic taste that comes with your cough could be a sign of a serious health issue. It’s important to not ignore the symptom, and instead seek medical attention right away, if the taste persists or gets worse.

Your doctor will check for signs of a disease that can cause this symptom, such as high blood pressure or kidney failure. Then, they can recommend a treatment plan, such as changing your medications or referring you to a specialist for further evaluation.

Medications such as tricyclic antidepressants, benzodiazepines (often used to treat anxiety) and gabapentin (used to treat pain and seizures) are known for making your mouth feel dry, so they may cause a metallic taste. Taking too much of these medications can also cause this effect, so be sure to keep track of your dosage.

A cold or sinus infection is another common cause of a metallic taste, but it usually goes away as the infection clears up. If the problem persists, call your doctor to find out if you need antibiotics.

Some chemotherapy treatments, such as those for cancers of the head and neck, can trigger a metallic taste in the mouth. It’s estimated that 10 to 80 percent of people who undergo chemotherapy experience this symptom.

Many pregnant women experience this symptom as well. It’s likely related to the hormonal changes they go through during pregnancy, says Dr. Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, MD, an internal medicine physician in private practice.

It’s also possible to have this symptom after being exposed to metal fumes, such as in welding centers or metal manufacturing facilities that have poor ventilation. Fortunately, the symptoms often resolve within hours of leaving the area.

Other common causes of a metallic taste include drug use and poor oral care habits. For example, if you’re not brushing and flossing regularly, the result can be gingivitis, periodontitis or tooth infections that put a metallic taste in your mouth, says Dr. Ford.

Lastly, some people are sensitive to heavy metals such as mercury, copper and chromium. This can happen when you’re taking supplements, such as multivitamins or cold remedies, that have high amounts of these substances. You might be able to avoid the taste by not taking these supplements or switching to a different type of supplement that doesn’t contain metals.

Treatment

A metallic taste in the mouth can be a sign of an infection, allergy, or another health issue. In most cases, the taste will disappear once the underlying cause is resolved. However, sometimes it can be a side effect of certain treatments or medications and should be treated accordingly.

A lingering metallic taste in the mouth is a common symptom of chemotherapy and can also occur after radiation treatment. If the symptom is persistent or you develop other symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, seek medical attention.

The metallic taste is often a side effect of medication, and it should subside once the medication has been stopped. Antidepressants, cold remedies and multivitamins that contain metal salts (such as chromium and copper) can all be culprits.

Food allergies can also be a cause of a metallic taste in the mouth, as well as anaphylaxis. If you have a food allergy, avoid eating the allergen to prevent the onset of anaphylaxis and talk to your doctor about what to do if an allergic reaction occurs.

In addition, a person with Sjogren’s syndrome might notice a metallic taste in the mouth while taking their medicine. The taste should go away as the body gets used to the new medicine.

Anxiety can also cause a metallic taste in the mouth, as can depression. If you’re feeling anxious, try to relax and drink lots of water. This will help hydrate your body and reduce any fatigue you may be experiencing.

Keeping your teeth and tongue clean can also prevent a metallic taste in the mouth. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day for good oral hygiene. This can help reduce the likelihood of gum disease, which can lead to a metallic taste in the mouth.

In addition to preventing the occurrence of a metallic taste in the mouth, proper oral hygiene can help keep infections at bay. Getting regular dental checkups and cleanings can ensure your teeth and mouth are healthy and free of infections. If you experience a metallic taste in the mouth, make sure to get it checked out by your dentist as soon as possible.

Prevention

You can prevent a metallic taste when you cough by identifying and treating the underlying cause. This can help you feel better faster and avoid the lingering taste.

A metallic taste when you cough could be caused by a variety of things, including the use of certain medications, dental issues, and more. Fortunately, most of these causes can be treated, and the taste will go away afterward.

If you have a cold or sinus infection, it may also cause the metallic taste when you cough. Typically, these infections will clear on their own, but if they are causing pain and a sore throat, over-the-counter (OTC) medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can help you feel better.

Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection, or you can take antacids, which neutralize stomach acid that is causing your symptoms. Your doctor may suggest other medications to help you feel better as well, so it is important to talk to your health care provider about what treatment options are right for you.

Another common cause of a metallic taste when you cough is GERD, which is an abnormally high amount of acid in your stomach. Symptoms of GERD include nausea, vomiting, and belching, as well as the metallic taste when you cough.

The good news is that GERD often can be treated with a medication, such as a suppository or a gastroesophageal reflux device. Your doctor can also recommend diet changes and lifestyle habits to prevent or control GERD and the resulting metallic taste when you cough.

Taking oral antihistamines, which help reduce allergy symptoms, can also help with the metallic taste when you cough. They work by blocking the production of histamine, which is a chemical that causes an allergic reaction.

Other common reasons for a metallic taste when you cough include gum disease, which is usually treated with daily brushing and flossing and by quitting smoking. This can help keep the taste away as long as you follow your dentist’s instructions for good oral hygiene.

Medications or supplements can also affect your taste buds, as can some cancer treatments. If you are using chemotherapy or radiation therapy, it can make you a little more sensitive to the metals in the food and drinks you consume. It’s a good idea to discuss the side effects of these medications with your doctor, so they can be avoided.

Symptoms

A metallic taste when you cough usually means you have an upper respiratory infection. The reason is that when you cough, phlegm gets into your mouth and onto the taste buds, causing the distinctive metallic flavor.

Typically, this symptom goes away when your cold is gone, but it’s also a sign to see your doctor. If you experience it with other symptoms like a fever or difficulty breathing, you should call 911.

Another symptom of an upper respiratory infection is a metallic taste in your mouth when you cough, says Dr. Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, MD, an internal medicine physician in private practice.

It’s possible that a medication you are taking is causing the taste. Many medications that are used to treat conditions such as high blood pressure, depression or diabetes contain chemicals that may be excreted through the mouth, she says.

Other common reasons for a metallic taste include gum disease, burning mouth syndrome, recent oral surgery or a food allergy. It’s important to address the cause of the problem before it becomes serious, because if left untreated, the taste can be very unpleasant.

If you have a severe allergic reaction to a food, the metallic taste may be the first sign of anaphylaxis — a life-threatening reaction that can affect your blood vessels, lungs, and skin. If you experience the metallic taste with any other signs of anaphylaxis, call emergency services immediately.

People who are undergoing chemotherapy often have a metallic taste in their mouth, too. It’s thought that 10 to 80 percent of these patients experience it, according to the American Cancer Society.

This can be caused by a drug that you are taking or by the chemotherapy itself, says Dr. Lisa Lewis, a pediatrician in private practice.

She said that if the taste is related to a new medication, it will likely self-resolve once the medication is stopped or switched. However, if the metallic taste persists, you should talk with your healthcare provider.

Other health conditions, such as liver or kidney disease, can also cause the taste. In some cases, these problems can produce a buildup of urea in the blood. As your kidney function declines, urea can be excreted through the mouth and can give you a metallic taste in your mouth, she says.

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