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Hypersensitivity to Taste - Difficulty with Chewable and Liquid Medications

Discussion in 'Help and Support' started by Bud Charles, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. Bud Charles

    Bud Charles New Member

    Oct 11, 2018
    Hi, nice to meet everyone. I was diagnosed with Aspergers at age 8, and because it was diagnosed early, I recieved a lot of help with the social skills side of things. However one thing that I've never been able to treat or overcome is my hypersensitivity to sounds, smells, feelings and tastes.

    When I feel my fingernails or toenails touch smooth fabric, my entire body flinches, I get a shiver down my spine, and I get goosebumps all over. When I hear someone getting into a nylon sleeping bag the exact same thing happens. When I hear the sound of people chewing or smacking their lips I have this overwhelming reaction of disgust, as if I'm hearing the sound of people having sex in front of me (I've learned not to express that reaction outwardly but it makes things like dinners difficult). When people wear perfumes, scented deodorants, hair spray or anything of that sort, I feel like I'm suffocating when I'm in the same room as them and I have to either leave the room or cover my face with my shirt, either way it's very embarrassing, but if I stay I will start to panic, I feel this overwhelming urge to get away from the sensation.

    But none of that is the reason I'm posting this. The main reason is that I have recently been diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD), and so far all the medications the doctor has put me on haven't worked. So while I'm waiting for a few months until there's an appointment available to get an endoscopy done, my doctor wants me to use Gaviscon to prevent acid reflux during the night, so I can actually sleep for the whole night and not wake up at 3 am with a burning throat. The problem is that Gaviscon is only available as either a chewable tablet or a drinkable liquid - and with my hypersensitivity, the taste of it is absolutely unbearable. And I don't mean mildly unpleasant, I mean when I put the stuff in my mouth, my entire face cringes involuntarily, I stumble backwards as if I've just been punched, and I have to use all my energy to stop myself gagging and spitting it back up. Doing this every single night is unrealistic, but that's what I'm going to need to do if I want to sleep for the next 3 months while I'm waiting for the appointment.

    So I was wondering if anyone here has any suggestions for ways to deal with hypersensitivity to taste? Do you know of any ways to make the taste of medications more tolerable, to reduce your ability to sense taste, or to solve this problem in any other way? I'm really quite desperate so any advice you can give is good advice, I will really appreciate it!

    Thanks so much!
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  2. Streetwise

    Streetwise very cautious contributor V.I.P Member

    Dec 6, 2016
    I have The aftermath of GERD , I take lansoprazole in a capsule ,it's Gelatin and I can swallow that ,another thing you need to practice mindfulness, your mind is very powerful -so you have to control it !don't let it control you! The CPN gave me a CBT technique which was specifically for me !it was simply you don't have to worry so much, i've cut it down to you don't have to worry.
    I still have to say it when I remember ,you would be prescribed lanzoprazole if your reflux isn't healed by an antacid like ranitidine .
  3. owlet

    owlet Well-Known Member

    Sep 20, 2017
    Do you mind me asking which medications you've tried? I was diagnosed with silent reflux earlier this year and had some bad reactions to medications for it, but pantoprazole has been working well for me for a couple of weeks and apparently has the fewest side effects of the PPIs (or so my doctor says). Other than trying something like that, my advice would be lifestyle/dietary stuff, like not eating within two hours of going to bed and making sure your bed is tilted (you can buy these little stand to put the legs of your bed on) and you're using pillows to avoid being horizontal. Also try eating small, regular meals and avoiding certain foods (there are lists online).

    Unfortunately, I can't offer much advice on getting used to strong tastes, other than try having diluted amounts of them for a while to build up a tolerance - but if you do that, the Gaviscon won't be effective. I hope it works out though.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  4. Autistamatic

    Autistamatic He's just this guy, you know? V.I.P Member

    Sep 2, 2018
    Hi @Bud Charles
    Welcome on board.
    I don't have quite the same taste/smell sensitivities as yourself - the same things trigger me but not as severely as you describe. I have also suffered from GERD since my early teens, along with Gastroparesis (slow stomach transit) and excess acid problems. I'm now in my forties.
    Treatment is usually with two types of drugs. The most common are drugs which reduce acid production such as PPIs (Proton Pump Inhibitors like Omeprazole, Lansoprazole and Esomeprazole - they all end in "...prazole") or H2 Bockers like Ranitidine and Cimetidine.
    Gaviscon, Rennie and the like are simply antacids - they neutralise excess acid with calcium carbonate (chalk) either in liquid suspension or tablet form and are only really effective for mild to moderate heartburn.
    The second type are Anti-Emetic drugs such as Metaclopromide and Domperidone. These work by relaxing the sphincter at the bottom of your stomach to allow food to pass more quickly into your intestine and reducing the likelihood of bringing your food back up into your oesophagus or mouth.
    I've tried 'em all and had more cameras shoved up both ends than I care to mention.
    All drugs can have side effects and one of those with Anti-Emetics is restless leg syndrome. I got that really bad - kicking out, waking myself up and sometimes injuring myself so I had to stop them. They were quite effective for the digestive problems though.
    I have been taking Omeprazole for about 20 years and it really helps keep the acid down. Ranitidine worked for me, but not as well as the Omeprazole does. I've not had any side effects from that so far :)
    As to the bringing food back up - I've had to make lifestyle changes to minimise that. I eat smaller meals - little and often being the key. I don't eat raw fruit or veg after lunchtime, nor cooked mushrooms because they are the first things to come back up and I don't want to be kept up at night by it. I also buy the best quality meat I can find or eat fish. Again, gristle or fat on meat is one of the first things to come back up. Drinking alcohol, vigorous exercise and stress can all make it worse, so I have to be careful with all of those, which in the case of stress, is not always easy!
    Sorry I can't help you with the over-sensitivity side of things because I've never sought to treat it - it's an issue for me but not one I've been overwhelmed by. I hope the personal experience of GERD is useful to you though ;)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  5. clg114

    clg114 Still crazy, after all these years. Staff Member V.I.P Member

    Oct 27, 2011
    Welcome to AutismForums!
  6. Lysander

    Lysander Well-Known Member

    Sep 21, 2014
    If it is possible to fit the pill version into an empty capsule, that would definitely block the flavor. There's also the option of inserting the pill into something very soft like a bite of yogurt that doesn't risk getting caught in your throat.

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  7. BraidedPony

    BraidedPony Just Enjoying Survival V.I.P Member

    Aug 11, 2018
    You could try drink it through a straw while holding your nose. Holding your nose works because we can’t taste what we can’t smell. The straw helps because the liquid gets to your throat and bypasses a lot of taste buds.
    Have a glass of water nearby so you can drink down the last of the medicine quickly clearing it out of your mouth.
    If there is a scent you like, get some essential oil and put on a tissue, you can smell this right before and after taking the medicine.
    I’ve had GERD and ulcers.
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Pats

    Pats Well-Known Member V.I.P Member

    Aug 18, 2018
    Omeprazole is what I've been taking for year, too. The smaller, more frequent meals, avoiding spicy foods and alcohol, etc. Mostly not eating before lying down - I'm talking at least 4 hours and sleep on an incline. I just kept the head of my bed higher than the foot. And Gaviscon works pretty good, but it IS hard to deal with the foamy chalk once it's foes into your mouth. I think it'd make someone gag who didn't have these sensitivities. You can buy omeprazole over the counter while you wait and it is something you have to take every day. If I forget to take my pills in the morning I know it because it's not long that the heartburn is starting - and that reminds me to take my pills.
    Solid pills just takes practice - putting them far enough back on your tongue but not so far that it causes you to gag. And if you have a hard time swallowing them with liquid, have small bite of something that you can swallow without chewing. It's the first line of defense if you ever get a pill stuck in your throat, too - opens the throat wider than liquids.
    Smells and tastes have always been difficult for me, too. And, sorry @BraidedPony , I don't believe that if you can't smell it you can't taste it. It may lessen the taste, but once something touches my tongue, that's when I taste it. They work together to make things more pleasant or more disgusting - I'm grateful that I don't automatically taste smells. :) Though some scents (like certain perfumes) do put a taste in the air.
    My biggest thing is texture. I've always had to occupy myself somehow when I'm eating, reading, listening to someone - whatever to keep my mind off the food. Even my favorite food, if I even start thinking about the texture I have to spit it out and can't finish it.
    Touch and texture is probably my most difficult sense to deal with. Constantly tugging at clothes because it drives me crazy if an article of clothing starts slipping or isn't exactly where it's supposed to be. Tags and anything even slightly itchy. I dislike certain softs - like tissue paper, I hate the feel and have to try to avoid thinking about the texture when I need a tissue, but it IS like someone scraping their nails against a chalkboard (except that doesn't bother me as much as the feel of tissues). But I love other softs, like blankets and stuffed animals and I can't resist the feel of those. I buy way too many blankets because they are sooo soft, and find myself with hand tucked inside the blanket enjoying the softness as I continue the rest of my shopping. My mouse pad has a velvety feel and I'm constantly running my fingers over it. And I choke if anything is within an inch of my throat.
    Anyway, Bud Charles - welcome to the forum. :)
    • Like Like x 1
  9. tlc

    tlc Well-Known Member

    Mar 8, 2014
    Welcome. I've been dealing with many digestive problems my whole life, including GERD for 12 years. Good advice, I avoid eating anything more like 4 hours before bed, until I can tell that it is digested. I also only lay on my left side, I learned this from anatomy in elementary school. The esophagus goes down the middle but the stomach goes more to the left, so laying on the left helps keep food down. Certain foods are worse than others, and it varies per person. I'm currently on Protonix but the one thing I've found that works for me is Ranitidine. Or even baking soda, I've learned to get used to the flavor, you can also mix it with drinks and it sometimes has a cool flavor.

    What would happen in my early days is acid would back up and fill up my lungs, I'd wake up rather than drown and would be hacking up what tasted like battery acid for 3 days. My lungs are compromised from it.

    I can't swallow pills, and have the worst gag reflex that dentists have seen, they have to IV sedate me to even stick a finger in or do x rays. I've gotten used to the flavor of pills, but if needed I either mix them with a small amount of drink and chug it, or just chew them. Capsules I just empty.

    I've also had problems getting food to go down for 12 years, doctors have found a hiatal hernia that explains a lot, along with severe erosion which is not healing well. I hope to get surgery scheduled soon. The only reason I had an endoscopy/colonoscopy to begin with was because of blood in my stool, otherwise my insurance won't cover it. Now it might be too late.

    Best wishes for your endoscopy. Glad to see you getting a step in the right direction.