Skip to main content
Read about

Garlic Taste in the Mouth

An illustration of a woman with her mouth open and her tongue sticking out. Three white squiggly lines come out of her mouth to show smell. She is holding a garlic bulb in her hand. Her hair is dark brown and tied up in a high ponytail.
Table of Contents
Tooltip Icon.
Last updated March 21, 2024

Garlic taste quiz

Take a quiz to find out what's causing your garlic taste.

Understand your metallic/garlic taste in the mouth symptoms, including 8 causes & common questions.

6 most common cause(s)

Illustration of a doctor beside a bedridden patient.
Acute URI
Illustration of various health care options.
Arsenic poisoning
Illustration of various health care options.
Side-effect(s) of chemotherapy
Illustration of various health care options.
Acute kidney injury
Illustration of a health care worker swabbing an individual.
Possible pregnancy

Garlic taste quiz

Take a quiz to find out what's causing your garlic taste.

Take garlic taste quiz

⚡️ Powered by AI

Get personalized answers to your health questions

Our clinically-backed AI will ask you questions and provide an answer specific to your unique health situation.


Your response today was provided by ChatGPT trained on the proprietary content of this page. Please note, this tool is for information purposes only and not intended to be used as a substitute for professional advice. You assume responsibility for decisions made with your individual medical situation.

Was this information helpful?

Thank you! Buoy values your feedback. The more we know about what’s working – and what could improve – the better we can make our experience.

8 causes of metallic/garlic taste in the mouth

This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Acute viral sinusitis

Acute viral sinusitis, also called viral rhinosinusitis or "sinus infection," occurs when viruses take hold and multiply in the sinus cavities of the face.

It is most often caused by the same viruses that cause the common cold and spreads the same way, through an infected person's coughing or sneezing.

Because children have small, underdeveloped sinuses, this illness is far more common in adults.

Symptoms include clear nasal discharge (not greenish or yellowish,) fever, and pain if facial sinuses are pressed.

If there is rash, severe fatigue, or neurologic symptoms (seizures, loss of sensation, weakness, or partial paralysis,) see a medical provider to rule out more serious conditions.

Diagnosis can usually be made through history and examination alone.

Antibiotics only work against bacteria and cannot help against a viral illness. Therefore, treatment consists of rest, fluids, and fever/pain reducers such as ibuprofen. (Do not give aspirin to children.) Symptoms of viral sinusitis last for about seven to ten days. As with the common cold, the best prevention is frequent and thorough handwashing.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: headache, cough, sinusitis symptoms, sore throat, congestion

Symptoms that always occur with acute viral sinusitis: sinusitis symptoms

Symptoms that never occur with acute viral sinusitis: being severely ill

Urgency: Self-treatment

Side-effect(s) of chemotherapy

Unfortunately, chemotherapy has many side-effects, ranging from hair loss to fatigue to nausea. This occurs because the treatment affects not only diseased cells but also healthy cells.

You should discuss your symptoms with your oncologist or oncology nurse.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: fatigue, loss of appetite, arthralgias or myalgias, dizziness, sore throat

Symptoms that never occur with side-effect(s) of chemotherapy: headache resulting from a head injury

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Possible pregnancy

The earliest sign of a pregnancy is typically a missed period, but many women do experience symptoms shortly after conception:

  • Implantation bleeding may occur after six to twelve days, when the fertilized egg implants itself into the lining of the uterus. This can cause mild cramping with light bleeding or spotting.
  • Fatigue and increased desire to sleep may happen within a week.
  • Breast tenderness can start as soon as one to two weeks.
  • Nausea ("morning sickness") can occur after two to eight weeks.

If pregnancy is suspected, testing should be done so that proper prenatal care can begin. It's important to avoid some behaviors during pregnancy, such as drinking alcohol or using certain drugs or medications, so an early diagnosis should be made.

Over-the-counter home pregnancy tests are available at any drugstore. A positive test is almost certainly correct, but a negative test in the face of other symptoms may be a false negative and should be tried again after a week.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: fatigue, nausea or vomiting, stomach bloating, bloody vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding

Symptoms that always occur with possible pregnancy: missed period

Symptoms that never occur with possible pregnancy: painful urination, severe abdominal pain

Urgency: Self-treatment

Common cold

The common cold is a contagious viral infection that can cause cough, congestion, runny nose, and sore throat. Most adults catch two to three colds per year, and kids can get more than eight colds each year.

Rest and drink plenty of fluids. Colds are contagious and can easily spread to other people, so if possible, avoid close contact with others, such as hugging, kissing, or shaking hands. Colds typically resolve within 7 to 10 days.

Arsenic poisoning

Acute arsenic poisoning means that the symptoms of toxicity begin suddenly and severely.

Arsenic is an element found naturally in the earth. It is used in many pesticides and in industrial processes, and is still found in some "folk" remedies.

Acute poisoning occurs from ingesting a large dose of arsenic. This may happen accidentally, but unfortunately is most common in cases of attempted suicide or homicide.

Symptoms are severe and include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, often with blood. There may be numbness and tingling in the hands and feet; mental confusion or other signs of brain damage; dehydration with resultant drop in blood pressure; irregular heartbeat; fainting; or seizure.

Arsenic is very toxic and if exposure is suspected, it is a medical emergency. Take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Diagnosis is made through patient history, physical examination, urine tests, and blood tests.

Treatment involves hospitalization for IV fluid replacement and other supportive care; possible gastric lavage (stomach pumping;) and possible hemodialysis.

Rarity: Ultra rare

Top Symptoms: vomiting or diarrhea, abdominal pain (stomach ache), being severely ill, fatigue, nausea

Symptoms that always occur with arsenic poisoning: vomiting or diarrhea, being severely ill

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Acute kidney injury

Acute kidney injury, also called acute renal failure or acute kidney failure, does not necessarily refer to a physical injury. It means that the kidneys have been severely damaged and are suddenly no longer able to filter wastes from the blood.

Anything that interferes with blood flow to the kidneys, or to the urine draining from them, will injure the kidneys. This includes: blood loss; clots; heart disease; high blood pressure; diabetes; infection; dehydration; lupus; toxins; and any number of medications.

An older person who is hospitalized, and/or critically ill, is most susceptible.

Symptoms include decreased urine output; swollen ankles; shortness of breath; nausea; chest pain; and sometimes seizures or coma.

Acute kidney injury is a medical emergency. Left untreated, it can result in permanent kidney damage or death. Take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Diagnosis is made through urine tests, blood tests, ultrasound or CT scan of the kidneys, and sometimes kidney biopsy.

Treatment involves hospitalization to treat the underlying cause of the kidney injury, and may include dialysis.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: abdominal pain (stomach ache), nausea or vomiting, urinary changes, shortness of breath, fatigue

Symptoms that always occur with acute kidney injury: urinary changes

Symptoms that never occur with acute kidney injury: vaginal bleeding

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Acute bacterial sinusitis

Acute bacterial sinusitis, also called bacterial rhinosinusitis or "sinus infection," has symptoms much like viral rhinosinusitis but a different treatment.

Any sinusitis usually begins with common cold viruses. Sometimes a secondary bacterial infection takes hold. Like cold viruses, these bacteria can be inhaled after an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Anyone with viral sinusitis, upper-respiratory allergy, nasal passage abnormality, lung illness, or a weakened immune system is more prone to bacterial sinusitis.

Symptoms include thick yellowish or greenish nasal discharge; one-sided pain in the upper jaw or teeth; one-sided sinus pain and pressure; fatigue; fever; and symptoms that get worse after first improving.

See a doctor right away for severe headache, high fever, stiff neck, or vision changes. These can indicate a medical emergency.

Diagnosis is made with a simple examination in the doctor's office.

Bacterial sinusitis can be treated with antibiotics, but this is not always necessary.

Often rest, fluids, and over-the-counter pain relievers and decongestants are enough.

Prevention is done through good lifestyle and hygiene to keep the immune system strong.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: fatigue, headache, cough, sinusitis symptoms, muscle aches

Symptoms that always occur with acute bacterial sinusitis: sinusitis symptoms

Symptoms that never occur with acute bacterial sinusitis: clear runny nose, being severely ill

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Side-effect(s) of radiation therapy to the head and neck

Radiation therapy is a common treatment for cancer and more than half of cancer patients will undergo a form of this treatment. The radiation attacks cell DNA in order to prevent the cells from growing more and kills them.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: sore throat, hoarse voice, dry mouth, mouth pain, changed sense of taste

Symptoms that always occur with side-effect(s) of radiation therapy to the head and neck: current radiation therapy to the head or neck

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Questions your doctor may ask about metallic/garlic taste in the mouth

  • Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Are you experiencing a headache?
  • Do you have a sore throat?
  • Do you have a runny nose?

Self-diagnose with our free Buoy Assistant if you answer yes on any of these questions.

Metallic/garlic taste in the mouth symptom checker statistics

People who have experienced metallic/garlic taste in the mouth have also experienced:

  • 6% Nausea
  • 4% Fatigue
  • 4% Abdominal Pain (Stomach Ache)

People who have experienced metallic/garlic taste in the mouth were most often matched with:

  • 75% Acute Kidney Injury
  • 12% Common Cold
  • 12% Acute Viral Sinusitis

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from Buoy Assistant.

Share your story
Once your story receives approval from our editors, it will exist on Buoy as a helpful resource for others who may experience something similar.
The stories shared below are not written by Buoy employees. Buoy does not endorse any of the information in these stories. Whenever you have questions or concerns about a medical condition, you should always contact your doctor or a healthcare provider.

Was this article helpful?

15 people found this helpful
Tooltip Icon.
Read this next
Slide 1 of 3