Burning tongue can be a very irritating and painful symptom of menopause. Just like the name suggests, burning tongue occurs when an individual experiences a burning sensation on the tongue. Everyone has sipped a beverage such as coffee or tea that is too hot and burned her tongue. This is the sensation that those who suffer from burning tongue experience constantly.
Burning tongue affects women seven times as often as men. Women going through hormonal transitions, such as the time leading up to menopause, are at an even greater risk of developing the symptom, because hormonal imbalance is known to cause burning tongue. Continue reading to learn more about burning tongue, its causes, and the options available to treat burning tongue.
About Burning Tongue
Did You Know?
Burning mouth pain is often absent during the night, but progressively increases throughout the day and into the evening.
Also known as burning mouth syndrome, burning tongue has a self-explanatory name. It is also known by its medical names: glossodynia, glossopyrosis, oral galvanism, stomatodynia, and stomatopyrosis. Burning tongue is accompanied by burning pain on the tongue, especially on the tip or back of the tongue, or other areas of the mouth. Following the onset, which is often instantaneous, burning tongue has been known to last for several years. There are typically no visible signs or lesions on the tongue or mouth in those who suffer from it.
On the left are some other common symptoms of burning tongue.
Continue reading to learn more about the causes of burning tongue.
A rarely-mentioned symptom of menopause and other factors, chronic burning mouth and tongue is misunderstood as a rare condition. The reality is that affects more than a third of women at some point in their lives. Read on to learn more information about this disorder.
Causes of Burning Tongue
Did You Know?
"Supertasters" are individuals with abnormally dense and abundant taste buds who have a heightened sense of taste. Supertasters are affected more dramatically by burning tongue than those with a normal amount of taste buds.
There are several possible causes of burning tongue, but because it is most common in postmenopausal women, researchers believe the primary cause in women is hormonal imbalance, specifically low estrogen levels. In fact, burning tongue affects up to 40% of menopausal women, with the onset typically occurring between 3 years prior to menopause and 12 years following menopause.
Estrogen is known to play a part in the makeup of the saliva, which researchers believe can cause burning tongue once estrogen levels decrease. But perhaps more prominently, estrogen affects the bitter taste buds located at the back of the tongue. Without adequate levels of estrogen, some women begin to lose their bitter taste buds. These taste buds are surrounded by a basket-like collection of pain neurons that activate when the taste buds are damaged by lack of estrogen.
Other causes of burning tongue
Although hormonal imbalance is the primary cause of burning tongue in women at the age of menopause and older, there are other causes of burning tongue as well. They are:
• Oral candida (oral yeast)
• Dry mouth (xerostomia)
• Medications (diuretics, oral diabetic meds, some blood pressure meds)
• Blood abnormalities (dyscrasias, anemia)
• Nutritional deficiencies (especially vitamin B-12, niacin, iron, or folic acid)
• Gastric acid reflux
• Allergies (foods, toothpastes, mouthwashes, chewing gums)
• Geographic tongue
• Dental disease
• Noxious oral habits (tongue biting, scalloped tongue)
• Psychological causes (depression)
• Chronic infections
• Inflammatory disorders
• Lingual nerve damage
• Tobacco use
• Oral cancer
If pain or soreness in your tongue, lips, gums, or other areas of your mouth persists for several days, consult a doctor. A doctor can search for the possible cause or causes to help guide treatment.
Continue reading to learn the treatment options for burning tongue.
Burning tongue is an odd sensation in the tongue and mouth that most commonly affects women who are entering or going through menopause. Though researchers are not sure what causes it, several suspects include irritating dentures, nerve damage, or hormonal imbalances. Also provides tips on how to manage burning tongue through treating the hormonal imbalance associated with menopause.
Burning tongue, especially over a long period of time, can be both painful and frustrating because it is difficult to find the cause and therefore the correct treatments. Though menopause is one of the most common causes, there may be other reasons for a burning tongue, such as mood disorders, acid reflux. Treatment hinges on identifying the exact cause.
Treatment for Burning Tongue
Because burning tongue brings with it physical pain and discomfort, those who suffer from it often seek treatment for it. When exploring treatment options, it's important to begin with methods that are the least obtrusive, with the least likelihood of side effects, and progress from there.
Chewing sugar-free gum can be an easy remedy for burning tongue.
This means that lifestyle changes are the best place to begin. Some simple tasks can alleviate some of the discomfort of burning tongue. Drinking more water, for instance, can stimulate saliva production and relieve some of the symptoms. Certain foods may be best to avoid, such as spicy foods, cinnamon, or mint.
Typically, combining lifestyle changes and alternative medicines will produce the best outcome. Alternative medicines can be different herbs and supplements, or even techniques like acupuncture. When seeking out alternative medicines, keep in mind that because burning tongue during menopause is associated with hormones, look for substances that bring a natural balance to the hormonal levels, for this will go a long way to alleviate burning tongue.
Finally, if still experiencing burning tongue, there are different medications and surgeries that can be explored. Medications are often prescribed simply to cope with burning tongue, but do nothing to treat the source of the problem. This final option also comes with the most risks and side effects.
Click on the following link to learn specific treatments for burning tongue, which begin with lifestyle changes, move on to alternative medicines, and finally, if those options don't seem to help, medications and surgery. The most effective treatments for burning tongue typically combine lifestyle changes and alternative medicines.
Prescription drugs and surgery are the highest-risk solutions to most health problems, and burning tongue is no exception. Learn about low-risk alternatives you can use to get relief from the comfort of your own home by simply modifying habits like diet, exercise, and hygiene. Bonus: two options for instant relief!
Burning tongue syndrome is a condition involving a burning or tingling sensation in the mouth, tongue, and gums. It is often seen in women transitioning through menopause because changing hormones can affect the mouth. It can also occur as a result of other conditions, such as allergies, oral thrush, or nutritional deficiencies. Treatment will depend on the underlying condition.
- Epstein, Joel B.; Gorsky, Meir; Grushkamier, Miriam. "Burning Mouth Syndrome". American Family Physician. www.aafp.org.
- "Burning Mouth Syndrome". Associated Content. www.associatedcontent.com.
- "Burning Tongue". Atlantic Dental Group PC. www.atlantadentist.com.