slawrence Asked October 2009

Is there something I can do to see if my mom is loosing her sense of taste or smell?

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My mother is 74 and does not want to eat. She is loosing a lot of weight and says that everything tastes bad. Is there something I can do to see if she is loosing her sense of taste or smell?

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EXPERT Lynn Harrelson Oct 2009
Loss of taste and smell can occur at any age and there can be many reasons. If the loss is a rapid onset, you may want to think about any mediations that may have been recently started. Certain medications, such as some antibiotics, high blood pressure medications and chemotherapy can cause a loss of taste. Antibiotics often change the natural flora of the mouth and GI tract. A good replacement source of lactobacillus (natural non-sweetened yogurt) may help. Also, some patients with certain medical conditions (Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease), may develop loss of taste. I would suggest that you speak with your pharmacist and ask that they review your mother’s medications as a possible source for her loss of taste. I would also discuss the possibility of sjogrens syndrome with a good ear, throat and nose specialist.
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Unfortunately the taste buds seem to go, but I have been told that the sweet taste buds are more acute even when they get old. I make mom home-made applesauce every year and she eats every drop. Also, milkshakes with protein powder and a little vanilla ice cream worked really well with my dad.
Sometimes, medicines affect the taste buds. Contact your DR. and see if any of her meds might be the culprit.
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Malibu Oct 2009
If she's not hungry like my mother was a times...we would give her "Ensure". It has all the vitamins, etc. She could live for years just with the Ensure.
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mannbs Oct 2009
My patient loves chocolate. Some of the things she picks out at the store herself are toaster pastries, chips ahoy, ice cream, chocolate covered raisins and of course I get her the double chocolate ensure. Hope this helps.
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slawrence Oct 2009
Thank you very much, I will try the milkshake with some protein powder. I will let you know how it goes.

Thanks again!!
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195Austin Oct 2009
My Mom is not interested in eating when alone and since she lives alone it is a problem if it continues she will not be able to live alone which we have not said that to her yet-she gets upset so easily she is almost 91.
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freqflyer Apr 2016
I know this is attached to an old posting, but this is something new that I had found out on my own with my own taste buds....

Whitening toothpastes and/or whitening mouthwashes can cause people to lose their sense of taste. The first time that happened to me it really scared me, and everything had an odd taste. Once I stopped using said toothpaste, eventually the taste buds came back :)
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cwillie Apr 2016
Bunny, you need to corner her doctors and ask for a straight answer. It could be that they feel she has lost her appetite because she is quickly approaching the end of her life but are no being forthright with you.
It could also be that they just failed to notice the loss of weight, so you need to insist they pay attention. There are treatments available for swallowing difficulties such as diets including pureed foods and thickened liquids.
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My mom lost about 65% of her body weight some time back. She was on a lot of pain medications, and always going to the doctor. Then she had many lab tests. Come to find out, she had breast cancer, and underwent treatment. Now, after weaning her off all narcotics, and adding Ensure and Carnation Instant Breakfast to her diet, she is finally gaining weight again. She skips meals, sometimes into the afternoons, which is a life long pattern for her, so she will never have great nutrition, no matter how we try to encourage her, but at least she's not skin and bones anymore. She did complain of food not tasting good while she was undergoing Chemo, but that's over now. She'll probably never regain totally, but she was getting quite heavy, so perhaps that's a bonus. Great suggestions above. Hope something helps the originator of this thread, slawrence, with her mother.
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nanarosa Mar 2014
My mom had knee replacement surgery and had no appetite while she was on pain medication. She has stopped the pain meds but still has no appetite. She wants to eat but says she doesn't know what to eat since she isn't craving anything. After eating some french fries she ended up with diarrhea.
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