Characteristics of taste disorders

Eur Arch Otorhinolaryngol. 2013 May;270(6):1855-60. doi: 10.1007/s00405-012-2310-2. Epub 2012 Dec 11.


Aim of this retrospective study was to obtain information about the frequency of taste disorders, their most frequent causes, and typical symptoms. A total of 491 out of 4,680 patients (presenting for the first time between 1998 and 2011) exhibited taste disorders (10.5 %). All patients underwent a thorough physical otorhinolaryngological examination including detailed assessment of smell and taste functions. The three most frequent causes of disorders were idiopathic (34 %), posttraumatic (24 %), and postoperative (15 %). Patients with idiopathic and postoperative taste disorders complained mainly about hypogeusia and parageusia; in comparison, patients with posttraumatic taste disorders exhibited a relatively higher degree of partial, local, or complete ageusia. Among patients with phantogeusia and parageusia, 38 % reported salty, and 22 % mixed sensations like bitter-salty or sour-sweet. In approximately 1/3 of this group of patients the cause of dysgeusia is unknown. Twenty-one percent of the patients complained of qualitative rather than quantitative taste problems.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Female
  • Germany / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Taste Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Taste Disorders / epidemiology
  • Taste Disorders / etiology*