Archive for May 2014

Different Types of Taste Disorders

The sense of taste is important to every person. Taste is what motivates most people to eat a particular food or to dislike a certain kind of food. That is why when a person experiences a taste disorder, it could take a significant impact on his or her overall health because eating can become abnormal.

More than 200,000 patients visit doctors in the US every year due to problems with their taste and smell. These two problems are somewhat related. Some people have mistaken a smell disorder for a taste disorder and only discover their real problem after they have seen their doctor.

Every person has taste cells or gustatory cells in the mouth. These cells are clustered together in the taste buds located at the upper portion of the mouth along the throat lining and in the tongue. When a person chews food or drink, these cells stimulate special sensory receptors that send a message to the brain to identify the taste. Every taste cell has receptors that will respond to any one of the basic tastes, namely sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and umami or savory. At birth, it is estimated that a person has about 10,000 taste buds and they start to die out after the age of 50.

However, for various reasons, a person may suffer from a taste disorder. It could develop after an illness affecting the middle ear or the respiratory system. Others have it after a head injury or after a surgery affecting the nose, ear and throat. When a person is exposed to certain chemicals, medication, antihistamines or antibiotics, there is also the risk of developing taste disorder afterwards. Radiation therapy in the neck or head of cancer patients may also cause this disorder. In addition, a person may also be born having this condition. It can also develop over time due to dental problems or poor hygiene.

There are different types of taste disorders that could affect people. One of the most common is the phantom taste perception which is characterized by a lingering taste even though you have nothing in your mouth. Some people also experience metal taste in mouth or sweet taste in mouth. There are also cases when a person has reduced ability in the five different kinds of taste and this condition is called hypogeusia. There is also a condition called dysgeusia when a person’s sense of smell and taste is distorted. In this condition, there is a persisting foul, rancid, salty or metallic taste in the mouth. At worst, some people cannot identify any taste at all when they are suffering from ageusia. But it is a rare case because the loss of smell is more common than loss of taste.

A doctor who specializes in taste and smell disorders is an otolaryngologist. An otolaryngologist specializes in conditions affecting the nose, ear, throat, neck and head. Normally, the doctor will measure the lowest taste quality that a patient can detect to recognize the type of disorder. He may also conduct a physical examination of your nose, ears and throat as well as dental examination to assess your oral hygiene. Once a physical test is done, that patient may also have to undergo a series of other tests to support his diagnosis.

A taste disorder may or may not be treatable depending on its cause. But in all cases, you should see your doctor if you are experiencing it so that he or she can give you the best advice for its proper remedy or treatment.

Causes and Treatment for Scalp Acne

There are many TV advertisements about facial care products that can help prevent or treat acne and pimples on the face. However, little is known about scalp acne and its treatment. Although it is not as common as acne on the face, this skin problem may affect anyone. It may not be directly noticeable by other people but this type of acne can be as painful and annoying as nodular acne when touched. This poses added challenges when combing and grooming the hair. In addition, it can also result to hair loss if not treated properly.

Acne on the scalp develops just like acnes on other parts of the body. When the pores of the skin are clogged with oil and dirt, they will cause the follicles to swell up, developing into acne. Because hair traps dirt and oil, treating this kind of acne can be more challenging as they tend to keep coming back.

There are commercial products as well as home remedies that can help treat acnes on the scalp. Any kind of mild shampoo can be used to remove oil and dirt on the scalp which can clog the pores. Most over-the-counter acne treatments can also be used to treat scalp acnes. However, it is best to avoid products with benzoyl peroxide because they can result to discoloration of the hair.

During treatment, maintaining a short hairstyle can be helpful as it allows for easy application of topical medications without trapping dirt and oil which can clog again the pores. Avoiding oily hair styling products is also recommended. Instead, the best options are petroleum-free products or oil-free noncomedogenic products because they don’t clog the pores. And before sleeping at night, the hair must be washed to remove dirt, oil and other topical products that could be trapped in the pores.

Aside from using commercial products to get rid of scalp acnes, there are also natural remedies available. One of the most popularly used natural remedies is a mixture of equal parts water and apple cider vinegar. This solution is massaged on the scalp and then rinsed after at least five minutes. It is effective in disinfecting and recovering the pH balance of the scalp as well as in removing dirt. Another known remedy is the use of tea tree oil which contains anti-fungal, antiseptic, antiviral and antibacterial properties. This oil can be diluted in water and then massaged on the scalp before rinsing. Honey and cinnamon can also help treat acne on the scalp. Honey and cinnamon are usually mixed to form a paste and then applied on the scalp. It should sit on the affected area for at least 15 minutes before rinsing to get the best effect.

The effects of commercial and natural remedies may vary from one person to another. Some people may find natural remedies to be more effective on them than commercial products, while it could be the opposite for others. If the acne still prevails despite trying all known remedies, it is best to see a dermatologist for proper treatment.