Burning Tongue – Know The Causes Of Burning Tongue

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Burning mouth syndrome occurs most commonly in middle-aged or older women. About 5% of the population, usually women after menopause and people over the age of 60 are affected by this condition. Burning mouth syndrome probably represents a number of different conditions with different causes but a common symptom.

After menopause, some women have a sudden feeling that their tongue has been burned. This is called burning tongue syndrome or idiopathic glossopyrosis. There is no specific treatment for burning tongue syndrome.

Burning mouth syndrome is characterized by a burning sensation in the tongue or other oral sites, usually in the absence of clinical and laboratory findings. Affected patients often present with multiple oral complaints, including burning, dryness and taste alterations. Burning mouth complaints are reported more often in women, especially after menopause. Typically, patients awaken without pain but note increasing symptoms through the day and into the evening.

Side effect of certain medications.

Dry mouth is a common side effect of many prescription and nonprescription drugs, including drugs used to treat depression, anxiety, pain, allergies and colds (antihistamines and decongestants), obesity, acne, epilepsy, hypertension (diuretics), diarrhea, nausea, psychotic disorders, urinary incontinence, asthma (certain bronchodilators), and Parkinson's disease. Dry mouth is also a side effect of muscle relaxants and sedatives.

A burning sensation on the lips, tongue or within the mouth is called 'burning mouth syndrome' when the cause is unknown and it is not a symptom of another disease. Other symptoms include dryness and altered taste and it is common in people with anxiety, depression and personality disorders. Women after menopause are at highest risk of this syndrome. Painkillers, hormone therapies, antidepressants have all been tried as possible cures. This review did not find enough evidence to show their effects.

Difficulty Moving the Tongue
Tongue movement problems are most often caused by nerve damage. However, problems moving the tongue may also be caused by ankyloglossia, a disorder where the band of tissue that attaches the tongue to the floor of the mouth is too short. Tongue movement disorders may result in speech difficulties or difficulty moving food during chewing and swallowing.

Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a relatively common and harmless problem that affects peri- and post-menopausal women primarily (although about 10-20% of the patients whom we see with this condition are men). While it is an annoying condition, it is typically not progressive (doesn't get worse and worse), does not represent a form of cancer, and cannot be transmitted to anyone else. It often waxes and wanes in severity, and it has not been associated with any particular preceding event.

Even though the condition is called burning mouth syndrome, it really is a problem that affects several types of what are called "sensory" nerves in the oral region. The senses that can be affected include:

Pain (This is the burning or scalded sensation that many patients will experience. In many cases, the burning sensations are least notable in the morning and build in intensity throughout the day.)

Taste (either loss of taste or taste "phantoms" - tasting salt, bitter, sweet or sour even when there is nothing in the mouth)

Texture (a sensation of swelling, sliminess, dryness or roughness).

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