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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

What Causes a Metallic Taste When I Cough?

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A metallic taste when you cough can be caused by a number of things. Some are benign, while others could indicate a serious health issue that needs treatment.

Some medications such as antibiotics (like tetracycline or amoxicillin), lithium, which is used to treat certain psychiatric conditions, and allopurinol, which treats gout and kidney stones can cause a metallic taste in the mouth. Some also cause dry mouth, which can impact your sense of taste.


When a metallic taste is paired with coughing, it’s most often the result of an upper respiratory infection such as a common cold. Infections of the throat, nose and sinuses can cause phlegm to contain traces of blood, which can irritate your taste buds and lead to a metallic taste when you cough. Typically, a cold will also come with symptoms like a runny or stuffy nose, a sore throat, bad breath and congestion.

A metallic taste in the mouth may also be a side effect of some medications. Antibiotics and antidepressant drugs, for example, can have a metallic flavor, as can medications for chronic conditions like diabetes. Certain chemotherapy medications can also change the way you taste foods, so it’s important to talk to your doctor if you notice this side effect of treatment.

You may also have a metallic taste when you cough because of indigestion, a condition in which your stomach or intestines are irritated or upset. Indigestion can be caused by a variety of health problems including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), gastritis, stress and irritable bowel syndrome. Some medications like antacids and over-the-counter pain relievers can give you a metallic taste, too.

Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy can also leave you with a metallic taste when you cough. This is because they can alter the normal flow of saliva, which changes how you taste food. This side effect is common and usually goes away after you finish treatment.

In rare cases, a metallic taste when you cough can be a sign of a serious medical problem such as kidney or liver problems or undiagnosed diabetes. However, these reasons are uncommon and usually accompanied by other symptoms.

In addition to the above, a metallic taste when you cough can also be a symptom of gum disease or an injury to your mouth or throat. You may also develop this sensation if you’re taking a multivitamin with heavy metals, such as iron or calcium, or have recently had an oral surgery. In these cases, your doctor can prescribe a different medication or provide a solution to help with the metallic taste.

Respiratory Infection

A respiratory infection can cause a metallic taste when you cough, especially if it’s due to sinus congestion. The heaviness of the congestion can lead to blood in the mucus that’s being coughed up, according to Medical News Today. This can give food a metallic or rancid flavor. It’s important to see a doctor if you start experiencing symptoms like this, especially if the blood in your sputum lasts more than a week or if the color changes. In some cases, it can indicate that you’re suffering from pneumonia and need to seek emergency treatment.

Certain medications can also cause a metallic taste when you cough. This can happen when a medication interacts with your body’s natural enzymes and chemicals to alter the way you taste things, such as vitamins. A metallic taste may also be a side effect of cancer treatments or medications used to treat other conditions.

If you notice that a particular medication is giving you a metallic taste, talk to your doctor about alternatives. If the metallic taste is due to a cancer treatment, it’s likely that the medication will need to be stopped or switched.

A metallic taste can also occur if you have a central nervous system disorder that affects your sense of taste. These include conditions such as Bell’s palsy and multiple sclerosis. Getting the right treatment for these diseases can help you get back your normal sense of taste.

Having a metallic taste can make it difficult to enjoy your favorite foods. It might be helpful to add tart ingredients such as lemon juice or vinegar to your meals to mask the flavor. You can also try switching out metal utensils for plastic ones, since this will prevent you from inhaling metal particles that can alter your taste buds. In addition, avoiding consuming too much salt and sugar can reduce the metallic taste in your mouth. It’s also a good idea to drink plenty of water and chew sugar-free gum, as this can promote proper oral health. This will help you avoid dental and throat infections that can trigger a metallic taste when you cough.

Acid Reflux

A metallic taste during coughing could be a sign of acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease. When stomach acid backs up into the throat, it can damage the lining and cause a bitter or metallic taste that lingers after you eat. This symptom may also be accompanied by heartburn, bloating or difficulty swallowing. A physician can work with you to determine if your symptoms are related to acid reflux or something else, such as an infection, and help you find a treatment plan that works.

Certain health conditions can also change the way your mouth tastes, and it is important to talk to a healthcare provider if you notice this symptom, especially if it is paired with other symptoms such as fatigue or fever. Diabetes, especially hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), can sometimes cause a metallic taste in the mouth. Other health conditions, including asthma and inflammatory bowel disease, can also alter the way food tastes.

People who are taking antidepressants or antipsychotic medications can experience a metallic taste in their mouth, but the taste should go away once the medication is stopped. The same is true for antacids, but if you stop taking these medications and the metallic taste persists, talk to your healthcare provider.

Some medications can also affect the taste of your own saliva, and this condition is called dysgeusia. People with dysgeusia usually feel as though their food has lost its sweetness or saltiness and can often taste sour, rotten or metallic. It is not a serious condition, but you should talk to your doctor about the best way to manage it.

Changing the way you eat can often help reduce the metallic taste in your mouth during a coughing episode. Avoid using metal utensils and cookware, and instead use plastic or glass items. You can also try drinking water mixed with baking soda to help regulate the pH balance in your mouth and neutralize any metallic flavor. You can also eat more foods that are high in salt, sugar or citrus fruits, which can mask the metallic taste.


When you have a common cold, the phlegm and mucus can give your mouth a metallic taste. This is a normal side effect of the infection, and it should go away as the infection clears. Similarly, some antibiotics may give your mouth a metallic taste. If you notice this side effect, talk to your doctor. They can help you find another medication.

A metallic taste when coughing could also be a sign of a serious medical condition. According to Donald Ford, MD, the taste change is known as dysgeusia and can be a side effect of kidney or liver problems, undiagnosed diabetes and certain cancers. However, these conditions are not commonly associated with this problem and are typically accompanied by other symptoms.

Some medications can cause this metal-tasting sensation, including some antidepressants, steroids and other drugs used to treat psychiatric disorders. Pregnancy can also bring on this strange taste in the mouth. The cause is often due to changes in hormones, particularly the increase in estrogen. Morning sickness is one of the most common causes, but it can also occur at other times during pregnancy.

Intense exercise can sometimes increase the pressure in the chest, which can push fluid into the lungs. This can lead to a condition called exercise-induced pulmonary edema, where red blood cells enter into the lungs and can be coughed up. The metallic taste is caused by the red blood cells.

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) can also lead to a metallic taste. This is because the condition can cause a buildup of urea in your body, which can create this taste.

Most viral respiratory infections will resolve on their own, but bacterial infections require prescription antibiotics. The metallic taste will usually go away when the antibiotic treatment does. Acid reflux can also have a metallic taste, which is caused by the stomach acid irritating the throat lining. Taking an OTC drug like phenylephrine or pseudoephedrine can help relieve this side effect. A recurring taste of metal can also be a symptom of an infection in the gums or teeth, such as gingivitis or periodontitis.

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