A condition in which one can witness a map-like formation on the upper surface and sides of the tongue is known as a geographic tongue. The upcoming article sheds light on the various aspects of this state of the tongue.
Geographic tongue, also known as benign migratory glossitis, is an inflammatory condition characterized by the presence of irregular, swollen, beefy red patches on the tongue which migrate over time. In some cases, the patches are bordered by a white lining. This condition can show up at any age, but generally tends to affect middle-aged or older adults. According to studies, it usually affects 1 to 3% of the population. It is known to be more common in women than in men.
Geographic Tongue Treatment
- Reassuring the person that the condition is absolutely benign, and not at all cancerous, can help a great deal in treating this state of the tongue.
- Rinsing the mouth with over-the-counter anesthetic and antiseptic agents proves beneficial.
- Usage of corticosteroid creams and zinc supplements is also suggested.
- One should avoid taking the following: tobacco, toothpaste with additives, and spicy foods. It is said that chewing mint leaves and taking vitamin E supplements can provide temporary relief.
- Drugs such as antihistamines and anxiolytics are generally prescribed by doctors.
- In case of an associated medical complication, cure involves removal of patches.
- Geographic tongue is said to run in families, and is reported to be related with several different genes.
- Smoking, tobacco consumption, and psychological stress are known to aggravate this condition.
- Vitamin B2 deficiency is also considered to be a likely cause.
- It is sometimes believed that it occurs due to the loss of a layer of small bumps, called papillae, from some parts of the tongue. The reason behind papillae loss has not yet been discovered.
- This condition has been reported in patients suffering from psoriasis, diabetes, eczema, and anemia.
- Many people tend to acquire it on eating cheese and other dairy products.
- Upon consumption of spicy foods, one might experience a burning or tingling sensation on the tongue.
- One may experience an increase in sensitivity in the tongue region on having certain fruits such as strawberry, pineapple, tomatoes, etc. Symptoms tend to aggravate during menstruation in certain women.
- There have been many cases in which the lesions spread to other parts of the mouth like lips. It may persist for as long as 7 to 9 months or even longer in some cases.
Benign migratory glossitis is distinguished from atrophic glossitis on the basis of the migratory patterns of the lesions and the presence of a whitish border. In atrophic glossitis, the lesions enlarge in size instead of migrating and is devoid of the whitish border.
Alcohol intake and smoking are often known to delay the natural healing process of this condition. One should immediately seek medical advice upon experiencing problems with breathing, speaking, swallowing, or chewing.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.