Acid reflux and burning mouth are two wearisome symptoms of menopause that many women suffer through. However, what they may not know is that the two have a common connection.
Continue reading more about acid reflux and burning tongue as well as the link between them so you can have better knowledge of your reproductive health.
Acid reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux (GER), is when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, leading to a taste of regurgitated food or sour liquid.
Although acid reflux is commonly referred to as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), GERD is a long-lasting and more severe form of reflux whose most common symptom is recurrent heartburn. Other GERD symptoms include coughing, difficulty swallowing, wheezing, and chest pain.
Acid reflux and GERD occur when the esophageal sphincter weakens or relaxes when it shouldn't. Conditions that increase the risk of this happening include periods of reproductive significance, such as menopause and pregnancy.
Burning tongue, or burning mouth syndrome (BMS), is characterized by a burning, scalding, or tingling feeling in the mouth.
If no irregularities nor clear cause can be identified, the condition is called primary BMS. Primary BMS is thought to be related to taste and sensory nerves of the peripheral or central nervous system.
On the other hand, secondary BMS is caused by an underlying medical condition. Because it occurs five times more often in women versus men and is commonly found in those over the age of 60, it is believed to be caused by drastic hormonal fluctuations distinctive of the menopausal transition.
Other secondary causes of burning tongue include nutritional deficiencies, like B vitamins, iron, or zinc; medication side effects; oral conditions, such as thrush or fungal infections; mouth irritations; other endocrine system disorders, like diabetes or hypothyroidism; among others.
Some women may wonder what the link is between acid reflux and burning mouth symptoms. More specifically, can acid reflux cause burning tongue? The answer is yes.
Secondary BMS can be caused by stomach acid that enters your mouth from your stomach because this acid can offset healthy salivary levels. Without sufficient amounts of saliva, women can suffer from a burning sensation throughout their whole mouth and, particularly, on their tongue.
Also, drastic fluctuations of reproductive hormones in menopausal women can also cause a variety of digestive problems, such as acid reflux, in addition to burning tongue.
In sum, the link between acid reflux and burning tongue is not as far-fetched as one may think.
Acid reflux happens when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, leading to common symptoms of a taste of regurgitated food and heartburn. Burning tongue, also commonly known as BMS, is when a woman has tingling, scalding, or burning sensations in the mouth.
Accordingly, the connection between the two is that stomach acid from GER can re-enter the mouth and disturb saliva levels, thus provoking BMS. Also, both may be symptomatic of hormonal fluctuations during menopause.
Luckily, there are many natural measures women can pursue as burning tongue treatments, focusing on attacking the underlying cause behind both symptoms throughout the menopausal transition, hormonal imbalance. Click on the link to be one step closer to a symptom-free life today.
- Imura, H. et al. (2016). Characteristic changes of saliva and taste in burning mouth syndrome patients. Journal of Oral Pathology & Medicine, 45(3), 231-236. doi: 10.1111/jop.12350.
- Mayo Clinic. (2017). Burning mouth syndrome: Symptoms & causes | Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Retrieved January 8, 2019, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/burning-mouth-syndrome/symptoms-causes/syc-20350911 | https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gerd/symptoms-causes/syc-20361940
- National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. (2018). Acid reflux is a possible cause of burning mouth syndrome (BMS). True or False? | Burning Mouth Syndrome. Retrieved January 8, 2019, from https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/acid-reflux-possible-cause-burning-mouth-syndrome-bms-true-or-false | https://www.nidcr.nih.gov/health-info/burning-mouth/more-info
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (n.d.). Acid Reflux (GER & GERD) in Adults. Retrieved January 8, 2019, from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/acid-reflux-ger-gerd-adults