• Loss of smell and taste affecting appetite

    Asked by JanetteC on Tuesday, December 18, 2012

    Loss of smell and taste affecting appetite

    The smell and taste of food has been seriously affected post cancer treatment (radiotherapy, chemo and brachytherapy - finished on 21st November 2012), is this normal and when am I likely to return to normal? I'm barely eating and am seriously concerned this will affect my long term recovery.

    10 Answers from the Community

    10 answers
    • RMSHEPARD1's Avatar
      RMSHEPARD1

      http://news.cancerconnect.com/taste-changes/

      This is a good website that can help answer some of your questions. How is your tummy handling food? There are so many things that can be done to spice and flavour a good broth. I couldn't eat spicey foods for years after my hysterectomy but I found the garlic and onions that are heavy flavours in some middle eastern foods to be easy to eat and tastey enough to keep my appetite going. Shwarma, is a nice lightly spiced and juicy with flavour goat or lamb or beef meat. It depends on what you order but the way they slow roast it settles the garlicy flavour into the tender meat. I hope this helps.

      about 4 years ago
    • JanetteC's Avatar
      JanetteC

      Hi RMSHEPARD,

      Thank you for your reply, its very much appreciated.

      I spent the last 4 years living/working in the Middle East/Afghanistan and loved the food of those regions so I'll try some of those dishes (we have a Middle Eastern restaurant close by) I'm also a fan of mild, Indian dishes (I'm a Brit and we love Indian food!) so now that the area of the tumour is healing, I can start moving away from the low fibre/residue diet I've been on and can try a korma/Masala...good, strong tastes and the korma has the sweetness which seems to agree with my palate right now!

      The smell of food cooking makes eating unappealing, I'm sticking to cold, sweet foods right now, especially fruits, yoghurts and milkshakes although I've now started eating chicken and pork with a sweet marinade on them. I've also managed to eat fried eggs and English muffins as well as a little white pasta. I'm suffering from nausea at times but I rarely vomit and all food I do eat, I manage to keep down so thats good!

      Thanks again for replying, I think your advice is most helpful!

      about 4 years ago
    • Nancebeth's Avatar
      Nancebeth

      I had that issue as well, but found a few foods that I could tolerate and ate those. Mostly it was grilled cheese, tacos and cupcakes. I was lucky that I didn't have the nausea usually associated with chemo, so as long as I could eat something palatable to me, I could keep it down. The trick was to discover what foods were palatable :-)

      about 4 years ago
    • JanetteC's Avatar
      JanetteC

      Hi Nancebeth,

      Thank you for replying too.

      I've just managed English muffins with butter, I'm feeling so proud of myself right now! When I was on chemo, I was given steroids which made me eat like a horse so to go to barely eating anything has come as a big shock! But myself and my husband are experimenting with what is agreeable with my palate, it can be frustrating but I have noticed I've increased my fruit intake which is pleasing even if its not always filling!

      I guess the next few months will be about trial and error and I hope to return to normal eating habits sooner rather than later just to give me more strength and a feeling of well being because when I do manage a meal, I notice I feel happier mentally also...very important when fighting this dreadful disease.

      Thanks again for taking the time to reply to my post. :)

      about 4 years ago
    • Nancyb's Avatar
      Nancyb

      Mine lasted two to three weeks just in tiime for next treatment to start over again. I ate yogurt drank v8 and annything I could swollow down quickly that would not stay in my mouth more than a minute just to. Try to stay nourished.

      about 4 years ago
    • packerbacker's Avatar
      packerbacker

      My sense of taste has come back slowly, and it still isn't normal. Like everyone says, find the things you can tolerate or taste and stick with that. I can taste sweet and spicy, but spicy is too much for me, as my mouth is kind of raw after the chemo I received. But, I can kind of taste things, better than at first. I started chemo October 31st of last year, and it took probably 3 months. I had to make myself eat on more than one occasion. Best of luck to you!

      about 4 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      I lost my taste, saliva glands got nuked, so now a dry mouth all the time, lost my voice for a month,(wife didn't mind) sores in my mouth, etc. But after treatments stopped I started recovering and most of it went away, but I still have a dry mouth, and severe dental problems from the radiation to the mouth area. You will recover most of the things, although, everything may not return to where it was before.
      Hope you do as well as you can.
      Greg P
      Team WhatNext

      about 4 years ago
    • JanetteC's Avatar
      JanetteC

      Thanks to everyone who has replied, it's been a great help to me to know I'm not alone with this problem.

      Have any of you also noticed your sense of smell was/is affected? This is the root of my problem, I find. Everything, and I mean everything, smells so vile be it food, cleaning products, perfume even myself!! Its making life pretty miserable right now :(

      about 4 years ago
    • GregP_WN's Avatar
      GregP_WN

      Janette, my smell has probably gone a little on the enhanced side. I smell things that others can't, kind of like I have a "spidy" nose. One thing that still sticks with me is things that I smelled when I was taking treatment, I can't stand now. My wife wore a particular type of perfume then, I can't stand the smell of it now. And I can smell Heparin, from 100' away.

      about 4 years ago
    • JanetteC's Avatar
      JanetteC

      Greg, nothing smells as it should to me, nothing smells nice either, its driving me nuts! I cannot describe the smell but at least I can't smell the smell of radiotherapy anymore, I truly hated it.

      I guess this is all part of the healing process and I just have to get on with it and hope my sense of smell and taste return to normal soon, its having a massive impact on my life as I don't want to leave home due to it and with Christmas almost upon us, it's not going to be a joyous time for me.

      Thanks to everyone who has replied, wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a healthy 2013!! :)

      about 4 years ago

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