Bitter Taste In Mouth

What Causes Bitter Taste Sensation?

Bitter taste sensation can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'troubling' to 'generally fatal'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose bitter taste sensation, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "bitter taste sensation" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Malaria
  • Heartburn
  • Infectious Mononucleosis
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Hepatitis
  • Liver Congestion
  • Jaundice
  • Diabetes II

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
being in late pregnancy
occasional runny nose
rapid decline in speaking ability
major unexplained weight loss
broad-spectrum antibiotic use
omnivorous diet
itchy skin
having excess body fat
severe right lumbar pain
frequent unexplained nausea
having a high fever
occasional unexplained nausea
... and more than 130 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of bitter taste sensation:
Cause Probability Status
Heartburn 90% Confirm
Jaundice 28% Unlikely
Liver Congestion 25% Unlikely
Infectious Mononucleosis 4% Ruled out
Malaria 1% Ruled out
Pancreatic Cancer 0% Ruled out
Diabetes II 0% Ruled out
Hepatitis 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate mouth problems, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Do you ever have a bitter or sour taste in your mouth that is not caused by foods that you have eaten?
Possible responses:
→ No / rarely / don't know
→ Yes, sometimes a slight bitter/sour taste
→ Yes, often slightly bitter / sometimes significant
→ Yes, often a significant bitter/sour taste
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate slight bitter taste in mouth, bitter taste in mouth or significant bitter taste in mouth, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Diabetes Type II

The bitter taste experienced by a Diabetes patient may be due to diabetic damage to the tongue.  This 'phantom taste' may last until blood sugar levels have been normalized for a long time.

Heartburn / GERD / Acid Reflux

Reflux of acid, bile and/or gastric juices into the esophagus may cause a sour or bitter taste.

Hepatitis

Symptoms may include bad breath and bitter taste in the mouth.

Jaundice

Jaundice also suggests the following possibilities:

Cirrhosis of the Liver

Jaundice is a yellowing of the skin and eyes that occurs when the diseased liver does not process enough bilirubin.

Gallbladder Disease

The gallbladder releases bile into the small intestines through a tube called the cystic duct, which connects to the bile duct.  When gallstones are obstructing these ducts, bile builds up in the gallbladder and increases the concentration of a yellowish substance called bilirubin in the blood, causing a yellowing of the skin known as jaundice.

Malaria

Malaria can cause jaundice through the loss of red blood cells.

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