This condition is known as burning mouth syndrome, which can cause a persistent, painful burning sensation in the lips, tongue, or other areas of the mouth. It may also be accompanied by a dry or numb mouth, a bitter taste, or changes in saliva production. The symptoms may be constant or intermittent.
Symptoms of burning mouth syndrome
The symptoms of this condition may occur daily, with mild sensations upon waking that worsen throughout the day, or with severe sensations that persist throughout the day from the moment of waking. For some individuals, symptoms may come and go. Eating or drinking may temporarily alleviate the sensations experienced. The symptoms can persist for months or even years without treatment and typically do not result in any physical changes to the appearance of the tongue or mouth.
What causes burning mouth syndrome?
Burning mouth syndrome is a relatively uncommon condition, affecting around 0.75 to 15% of the population according to research. It appears to be more prevalent in women, especially those who are menopausal or aged over 50. The exact cause of the syndrome is not fully understood, but it may result from a dysfunction in the nerves responsible for transmitting sensations from the tongue to the brain.
Why see a burning mouth syndrome specialist?
Long-term symptoms of burning mouth syndrome can lead to other negative effects on a person’s health and wellbeing, such as disrupted sleep patterns, fatigue, frustration, and low mood. For some individuals, it can also interfere with daily activities, such as conversing or enjoying meals with others. Seeking the assistance of a specialist is advisable if you are experiencing burning mouth syndrome. A gastroenterologist specialising in this condition can diagnose and provide appropriate treatment to alleviate your symptoms, allowing you to better manage your condition.