Changes in taste while eating may signal menopause

Menopause changes women’s bodies in many ways, and for every well-known symptom, hot flashes, for example, there’s usually another that’s completely omitted from the conversation. Now scientists are shedding light on something you might notice the next time you taste your favorite dish. If this is happening to you, it could be a sign that your body is starting to go through some of the hormonal changes associated with menopause, and it’s worth checking with your doctor what to expect. Read on to find out which menopause symptom can appear at mealtime and how it could impact your eating habits.

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Experts say that some women’s sense of taste and smell may be impaired when they enter menopause in their mid-40s or early 50s. This is because a drop in estrogen levels can affect saliva, which in turn can decrease or alter our sense of taste, according to the UK-based news site. My Menopause Center.

As estrogen levels decrease, the flow from your salivary glands also decreases. And since saliva helps break down food into its various chemical components, having less of it in your mouth can make your taste buds unable to detect specific flavors, the site explains.

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woman eating vegetables and frowning at a piece of broccoli
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According to Everyday health, some women notice a persistent metallic taste in the mouth while eating, as a result of menopause. As the mouth becomes dry from reduced saliva, bacterial growth can increase in the mouth, sometimes leading to tooth decay or gum disease. As part of this symptom, “some women going through menopause may experience pain or a burning sensation on their tongue, lips, gums, or other patches in their mouth,” the site reports.

A 2003 study in the British Dental Journal found that many postmenopausal women experience “decreased palatal perception” which also makes them less able to taste sugar. This can further contribute to the feeling that food tastes bitter or metallic.

woman eating chocolate cake with fork

This same study, which performed whole-mouth taste tests and spatial taste tests on 20 postmenopausal women, found that seven (or 35%) of their subjects had altered taste perception after they stopped having their rules. Nine (or 45%) of the subjects said their eating habits had changed since menopause.

“This study demonstrates that the taste perception of the tongue does not change, but that there is a palatal perception disorder in postmenopausal women,” conclude the study authors. “Also, there is a tendency to prefer sweeter foods during menopause,” they added, noting that this can affect the overall health and dental health of postmenopausal women.

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Woman at the dentist

There are several things you can do to maintain your usual senses of taste and smell during menopause, say experts at My Menopause Center. They recommend seeing your dentist regularly and practicing good dental hygiene, staying hydrated, chewing sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production, avoiding foods that dehydrate you or irritate your mouth, and avoiding alcohol and tobacco consumption, which can exacerbate this symptom of menopause. .

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