Lost your appetite?

Lost your appetite image

You may not want to eat because you feel sick, or you may simply have lost interest in food. Various treatments and medications can dull or physically change your taste buds, which may take the enjoyment out of eating.

Some people report that chemotherapy, for instance, changes the taste of food. Meanwhile, mouth ulcers, a sore throat or other symptoms and side-effects can make eating uncomfortable. 



Some people find it easier to drink liquids with a straw when they have mouth sores.

Rinsing or gargling with a solution of saltwater and baking soda (1/2 teaspoon of each in a glass of water) is found to help with mouth sores.

If a dry mouth is a problem, try sucking on cubes of frozen pineapple juice (prepared in ice-cube trays).

Patients who experience taste change often find it helpful to:
- Use plastic utensils instead of metal.
- Eat with friends or family to provide a distraction from tastes.
- Add taste by using strong flavours in foods or marinating foods.
- Serve food cool or chilled which often feels better on the tongue than hot foods.


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Life, Hope & Reality was developed and written by Afaf Girgis, Claire Johnson, and Sylvie Lambert with funding from the NHMRC and Cancer Council NSW.

Last updated 30 August 2015