A sore burning tongue, also known as burning mouth and tongue syndrome, is a painful condition characterized by a burning sensation on the tongue, and also the gums, lips, inside of the cheeks and the back of the mouth or throat. Also called stomatopyrosis, stomatodynia, and oral dysesthesia, occurs most commonly among women after menopause.
A sore burning tongue is not the same as the temporary discomfort that many people experience after eating irritating or acidic foods. It is a condition that is poorly understood and probably represents a number of different conditions with different causes but a common symptom.
Read on for more information about sore burning tongue and how to treat it.
What Exactly Does a Sore Burning Tongue Feel Like?
Who is Affected by a Sore Burning Tongue?
A small percentage of older women (though in rare cases men), generally around the age of menopause develop a problem with chronic burning pain and phantom tastes in their mouths. The problem has seemingly been ignored for centuries because there seems to be no physical reason for the symptoms, and traditionally it was believed that it was a hysterical symptom brought on by emotional distress.
When experiencing a sore burning tongue, a painful burning sensation may affect the entire mouth (particularly the tongue, lips, and roof of the mouth) or just the tongue. The sensation may be continuous or intermittent and can gradually increase in intensity throughout the day. Symptoms that commonly accompany the burning sensation include dry mouth, thirst, and altered taste. These are the common symptoms while other possible symptoms include changes in eating habits, irritability, depression, and avoidance of other people.
What Is the Cause of a Sore Burning Tongue?
A common cause of a sore burning tongue is the use of antibiotics, which alter the balance of bacteria in the mouth, leading to an overgrowth of the fungus Candida (a condition called thrush). Ill-fitting dentures and allergies to dental materials can be causes as well.
In addition to that, the overuse of mouth rinses and sprays may lead to burning tongue syndrome, as can anything that leads to a dry mouth. If not allergies, any type of sensitivities to certain foods and food additives, including cinnamon, may play some role. Deficiencies of vitamins, including B12, folic acid, and B-complex, can cause a sore burning tongue. Iron deficiency has also been implicated as a potential cause.
How Is a Sore Burning Tongue Treated?
While a sore burning tongue is easy for doctors to diagnose, it is far more difficult to treat. Frequent drinks of water or other liquid, or use of chewing gum may in some instances help keep the mouth moist. Antidepressants are also sometimes helpful, although these drugs may make the symptoms worse by causing dry mouth. Sometimes symptoms disappear without treatment, although they may return later.
For a sore burning tongue caused by the hormonal swings resulting from menopause, there are a host of natural medicines that help level out these hormones and thus reduce the pain. Alternative treatments have proven effective in reducing many of the symptoms of menopause, including a sore burning tongue.
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