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Ramsay Hunt Syndrome Shingles
An_240881 posted:
Hi! I was diagnosed with Shingle and had a Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. I did not loose hearing or have facial drooping. Had terrible vertigo which is slowly subsiding, but, have lost most of my sense of taste! It has been 3 months out since it all started and still no taste. Think it will return or am I doomed to not taste again???
Rod Moser, PA, PhD responded:
That would be impossible to predict, since nerve damage is so variable, and the body's ability to heal is really not something that we can determine. I am so sorry that you have lost your ability to taste. What about smell?
CareyLeeM replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Smell is fine, just affected the nerve that affects balance and taste. Can't complain too much, it is a great weight loss program. At least the balance is back and I can work again. Thanks for your response.
Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to CareyLeeM's response:
It is very unusual for a herpes virus to do this since it tends to follow a nerve pathway. The nerve for balance is in the inner ear; the nerves that effect taste is from the tongue to the brain. There is really not a connection....different pathways.

I am glad that your balance has improved, so perhaps this is an indication that your ability to taste will also improve over time.
WyleeKHill replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
According to the 2001 article published by Drs. Sweeney and Gilden, J. Ramsay "Hunt hypothesised correctly that a herpesvirus could spread from either a seventh cranial nerve vestigial remnant to the oropharynx or from special sensory fibres to the anterior two thirds of the tongue."
In other words, losing the ability to taste on 2/3rds of the tongue is a common symptom of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome.
LadyAT responded:
RHS affects all the nerve endings on one side of the face, including those associated with taste buds on the affected side of the tongue. Five years ago when I developed RHS symptoms, everything tasted bitter for three months. I lost twenty pounds. Then it switched up and everything tasted very salty. I developed a taste for martinis (which I enjoy to this day.) That lasted for several more months until everything started tasting sweet. Some things, like steak and broccoli just shouldn't ever taste sweet. After a couple years of these roller-coaster switchbacks, things have settled down to nearly normal, but I still have bad days with both my sense of taste and ability to smell things.
Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to LadyAT's response:
I would sincerely like to thank the last two posters for their very helpful information, and for beating me to the punch on my own research. I have to tell you that I have personally not seen taste disorders with RHS, but clearly it happens. By taking the time to post, you have educated both this person (and myself) and I thank you.
Auntie replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
I thank you for all this information. I was diagnosed with RHS 4 weeks ago and it has been very painful for me. I had Bell's Palsy in 2004 and thought I had it again and after several test doctor said RHS. My taste buds are ALL messed up and my tongue feels like all the skin is off of it and I have burned it really bad. I do stay very dizzy all the time. My face is very disfigured and my speech is slurd from it. I get frustrated trying to eat and talk but like an earlier post it is a weight loss process also. I could really use any information or help that I can get for this cause I am new at it.
Rod Moser, PA, PhD replied to Auntie's response:
Are you taking a herpes antiviral medication, like acyclovir or Famvir?
shell421 replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
I had shingles on one side of my forehead 2 months ago. My taste is severely distorted. I can't toast sweets at all. Most things taste bitter or sour. My doctor doesn't think it is from the shingles virus. The more I read about the more I sm convinced it is from shingles. My doctor had sent me for an endoscope and everything looked fine. I lost 30 pounds. I feel fine. I just have altered taste which is now getting depressing. Will it ever come back?

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