Anxiety can cause a swollen burning tongue

Anxiety can cause a swollen, burning tongue

One of the strange symptoms associated with anxiety is that of a burning or a numb tongue.

Anxiety can cause a swollen burning tongueIn general the condition is referred to as burning mouth syndrome but the symptoms associated with this condition include all of the following:

  • A burning sensation over your tongue, lips, gums, palate, throat or your whole mouth
  • A numb or tingling sensation across the tip of your tongue or in your mouth
  • Progressively worsening mouth pain during the day
  • Dry mouth sensation
  • Feeling thirsty
  • A sore mouth
  • Loss of taste
  • A bitter, metallic or other adverse taste changes

As you can see the above symptoms can interfere in a serious way with your daily life. It can be difficult to eat or speak and you may have difficulty falling asleep at night which can further worsen your ability to cope with anxiety. Foods which you used to enjoy may taste bad which can cause you to lose your appetite altogether.

In some cases the cause for burning mouth syndrome may be a fungal infection or a nutritional deficiency so it is best to report your symptoms to your doctor first to see if it can’t be easily treated.

A condition called GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease is also closely related to anxiety and can either cause or worsen burning mouth syndrome. Stress like that which is seen in anxiety may increase your body’s need for vitamin B and interestingly enough burning mouth syndrome is associated with a deficiency in vitamin B-9, vitamin B-1, vitamin B-2, vitamin B-6 and vitamin B-12.

You can of course try to treat all the possible causes for burning mouth syndrome, but if anxiety is the main cause behind your symptom you will do even better if you address your anxiety first.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of talk therapy which can help you to make sense of stress causing situations and events. It has been proven to be very effective in the treatment of anxiety. This type of therapy can be combined with other techniques like relaxation exercises to further improve the outcome of treatment.

You can help yourself by making some small changes in your lifestyle like being physically active and cutting back on stimulants like caffeine and refined sugars. Getting enough sleep can help you to better deal with the daily demands of your work place and personal relationships.

You can relieve the symptom of burning mouth syndrome by avoiding hot, spicy or acidic foods like tomatoes, citrus fruits, soft drinks and coffee. Cinnamon and mint may worsen the sensation of burning mouth so try to cut it out of your diet. Drink more fluids to help relieve the feeling of a dry mouth and take a vitamin B supplement to help your body cope with stress.

You don’t have to accept anxiety as a part of your life, it doesn’t need to be. With some dedication and a few small lifestyle changes you can be your old self in no time


“Burning mouth syndrome.” MayoClinic. 2010. (November 28, 2012)

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