Is a metallic taste in my mouth a sign of pregnancy?
What causes it and how can it be treated
Metallic taste in the mouth - dysgeusia to use the medical term - is a change in your sense of taste during pregnancy, which can persist even when you are not eating and is one of the more unusual signs of pregnancy.
The metallic taste is described as sour, rancid, bitter or just downright awful - in your mouth can prevent you from tasting your food and drink properly. Some women describe it as like eating coins or drinking from a metal cup. It's a common sign during the first trimester.
It’s a common sign during the first trimester, often accompanied by other early pregnancy symptoms like nausea, lack of appetite, cravings or aversions for certain foods and an increased sensitivity towards some smells. Some women say they experience it at a very early stage, even before they get a positive pregnancy test!
What causes the metallic taste in the mouth?
The metallic taste is caused by changing hormone levels, in particular oestrogen, which plays a role in controlling and moderating the sense of taste. As taste and smell are closely linked, you may find your sense of smell also changes.
When you get the taste in your mouth, it simply means your pregnancy hormones are kicking in! It’s nothing to worry about and like morning sickness, it will usually ease as the pregnancy progresses and your hormones start to settle down. However, with some women it does persist or may also return with the sudden changes in hormone levels after giving birth.
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Can I do anything to relieve it?
There are foods that can help relieve the metallic taste including citrus fruits and mints.
Citrus juices and fruits and lemonade can help, as can foods marinated in vinegar, like beetroot or pickled onions (although, they may not be something you fancy in the early stages of pregnancy).
These foods break through the metallic taste and increase saliva production to wash it away.
Brushing your tongue when you brush your teeth or rinsing your mouth out with a mild salt solution may also help, as can minty chewing gum.
Drinking lots of water, with a splash or slices of lemon in it, can ease symptoms as can wholegrain crackers.
Some other medications can make a metallic taste worse so it may be worth asking your GP about a change in brand if you think other prescribed medicines could be having an impact.