Burning Tongue Syndrome-Symptoms, Causes, Treatment


Burning Tongue Syndrome, also known as Burning Mouth Syndrome (BMS) or Glossodynia, is a condition characterized by pain or a burning sensation in the mouth, without obvious signs of injury to the affected areas.

Signs and Symptoms of Burning Tongue Syndrome

The sensation may vary from person to person. Some describe it to be a mere tingling sensation, while others experience pain similar to that of a toothache. Pain intensity also varies, but it usually occurs at mild levels in the morning, and then slowly progresses through the day. This condition primarily involves the anterior tongue, but may also affect other parts of the mouth, like the lips, palate, and inner cheeks. Other symptoms include dryness of the mouth, bitter taste, and altered taste. There are no known visual signs and symptoms for the condition, making it quite difficult to diagnose.

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Causes of Burning Tongue Syndrome

The primary cause for Burning Mouth Syndrome or Burning Tongue Syndrome is unknown. But researchers have found that it is more prevalent in women than in men, and that it occurs during their middle ages; thereby, linking the condition to menopause.

Diseases, injuries, and dental procedures that disrupt the natural lining of the mouth may precipitate the condition. Some doctors suggest that illnesses affecting circulation or blood flow may cause burning mouth, illnesses such as diabetes mellitus II, anemia, and yeast infections.

Other possible causes include nutritional deficiencies, mainly in Vitamins B1, B2, B6, and zinc. Chronic anxiety, depression, medications, as well as underlying diseases of the mouth and mucous membranes also contribute to the condition. Researchers are also considering the possibility of cranial nerve damage, specifically the trigeminal nerve (Cranial Nerve V), the Glossopharyngeal nerve (Cranial Nerve IX), and the Facial Nerve (Cranial Nerve VII). Injury to these nerves may cause increased sensitivity to pain and alteration in taste.

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Diagnosis of Burning Tongue Syndrome

To confirm that it is indeed Burning Tongue Syndrome, doctors run blood tests and cultures to rule out other existing conditions. Knowledge of the patient’s health and clinical history may also prove useful in determining whether or not other factors are causing the patient’s symptoms. If results turn out normal and everything else checks out okay, then Burning Tongue Syndrome is diagnosed.


To completely cure a disease, one must aim for its root cause. Burning Tongue Syndrome does not have any one definitive cause, making it more difficult to cure. However, there are plenty of options, depending on the person’s current health status. Management of the underlying health disorders is very important, as well as correcting unhealthy living routines. Hormone replacement therapy, for instance, may be prescribed to menopausal women; while dietary supplements may be given to those with nutritional deficiencies.

Some medications have proven to be effective in some cases. These include low dosages of benzodiazepines, tricyclic antidepressants or anticonvulsants. One must remember, though, that treatment for this condition is mainly palliative, meaning treatment measures are aimed mostly to relieve the signs and symptoms.

Burning Tongue Syndrome or Burning Mouth Syndrome is not a medically serious condition. However, it may produce coping and emotional problems in some people in the long run. Pain in itself may cause a person to become moody, irritable, and anxious. The duration of this condition is still unknown.





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