Burning tongue, or the sensation that a hot liquid has burned the mouth, is a menopause symptom that affects as many as two in every five women. In many cases, it is related to a decrease in estrogen, which can negatively impact both nervous system signaling and bitter taste buds on the back of the tongue.
Fortunately, this symptom can be treated, and the daily irritation can be relieved. Continue reading to learn about the different ways to treat burning tongue.
Three Approaches to Treating Burning Tongue
The treatment of burning mouth syndrome is divided into three types of approaches: (1) Lifestyle Changes, (2) Alternative Medicine, and (3) Medications.
Women are recommended to first try lifestyle changes, the treatment approach that involves the least amount of risk. In severe and persistent cases, medications may be a practical option, but they are typically used only as a last resort.
The first stage involves the lowest risk, but it entails the greatest degree of self-discipline. For many women, minor lifestyle changes can help to relieve burning tongue while also enhancing overall wellness.
Practicing good habits is essential to minimizing burning tongue sensation. Since alcohol and tobacco are known irritants and can also damage the tongue and taste buds, it is imperative to moderate and eventually eliminate the use of these substances as much as possible. Naturally, good oral hygiene is crucial, and using a different type of toothpaste can help, especially one that does not contain mint, cinnamon, or another special flavor. Sucking on ice cubes or chewing sugarless gum can help stimulate saliva and reduce the pain.
Naturally, dietary changes can also help relieve burning tongue. In particular, it is best to avoid acidic and spicy foods, since these can worsen the symptom. Burning tongue can be caused or worsened by a deficiency of iron or B vitamins, so it is important to eat enough whole grains, tuna, beans, tofu, and other sources of these essential nutrients. Drinking water or other non-caffeinated, non-alcohol beverages can also provide a measure of relief.
Tips for Managing Burning Tongue
- Stress reduction
- High intake of iron and B vitamins
- Plenty of water
- Yoga or Pilates
Regular exercise is also important in managing burning mouth. While it may not help the symptom directly, exercise can help to relieve stress, promote weight loss, and benefit the endocrine system. Aerobic exercise is best for weight loss, while yoga and Pilates are good forms of relaxation for women of all fitness levels.
While lifestyle adjustments are a healthy approach to treating burning tongue, it can be hard to practice them on a daily basis. Additionally, most changes do not address hormonal imbalance, the underlying cause of many cases of menopausal burning tongue. However, alternative medicines can provide relief by balancing hormones. Read on to learn more about natural treatments for burning mouth.
This approach encompasses many possible treatment options, such as massage and biofeedback. However, many women prefer herbal supplements, which are easier to follow, require less time and money compared to other alternative medicines, and are capable of balancing hormone levels.
When deciding on herbal supplements, two kinds in particular can be used to treat hormonal imbalance: phytoestrogenic and hormone-regulating supplements.
These supplements, such as dong quai, are high in phytoestrogens, or plant-based estrogen compounds that act like estrogen in the body. They can balance estrogen levels and relieve symptoms, but their prolonged use is not recommended, given that introducing outside hormones into the body can diminish its ability to produce hormones naturally.
Instead of using external hormones, these supplements, such as Macafem, function by nourishing the hormonal glands, thereby promoting stable hormone production. This results in a balance of not only estrogen, but of other hormones as well. In addition, these supplements are considered safe because they have virtually no side effects and can be used as long as necessary.
From "Nature and Health Magazine," Dr. Gloria Chacon says:
"Macafem nutrients help restore natural hormones in women. Unlike hormone drugs, which are basically resumed in taking synthetic hormones, Macafem acts totally different in your body. It nourishes and stimulates your own natural hormone production by inducing the optimal functioning of the endocrine glands." Click on the following link to find out more about Macafem.
A combination of approaches - namely lifestyle adjustments along with herbal supplements - is generally considered the most effective means of treating burning tongue. In severe cases, however, medical treatment may be desired. Before advancing to this approach, it is important to understand the pros and cons.
Treatments at the final level carry the most risk and are often the most expensive. In the U.S., the most popular prescription for hormone related burning tongue and other menopause symptoms is hormone replacement therapy, or HRT. This medication can be speedy and effective, but it also can increase the risks of breast cancer and other diseases, as detailed in the study below.
In 1991, the National Institutes of Health commenced a new study, the Women's Health Initiative (WHI). The objective of this largest-ever clinical trial was to research the risks and benefits of HRT. However, 11 years later it was cut short due to the findings that the long-term use of synthetic hormones raises the risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, heart disease, and stroke. The results of the WHI were subsequently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Other prescriptions for burning tongue are also available. These include oral rinses, medications to replace saliva, certain antidepressants, alpha-lipoic acid, and some painkillers. While they may provide some relief, they all carry potential adverse side effects, and they do not address the fundamental hormonal imbalance behind most cases of menopausal burning mouth. Therefore, it is important to talk with a healthcare professional if burning tongue persists.
The three approaches to treatment can be used separately or combined as necessary. More and more women are discovering that a blend of lifestyle changes complemented by alternative medicine is the best way to relieve burning mouth.
A Safe Way of Treating Burning Tongue
Making lifestyle changes:
- Staying hydrated
- Maintaining good oral hygiene habits
- Eating a balanced diet rich in iron, B vitamins, and estrogen-boosting foods
- Spicy and acidic foods
- Mint and cinnamon products
- Mouthwashes with alcohol
- High stress
- Alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco
And taking hormone-regulating supplements like Macafem:
- Supports natural hormone production at balanced levels
- Full of nutrients, free of hormones, effective, and all-natural
- Dahiya, P. et al. (2013). Burning Mouth Syndrome and Menopause. International Journal of Preventive Medicine, 4(1), 15-20. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3570906/
- National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. (2014). Burning Mouth Syndrome. Retrieved April 22, 2016, from http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/oralhealth/Topics/Burning/BurningMouthSyndrome.htm
- Office on Women's Health. (2012). Oral health fact sheet. Retrieved April 22, 2016, from http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/oral-health.html