What is a Swollen Tongue?
This is an abnormal condition that can happen for a variety of reasons. It may or may not be severe but it can be a discomforting condition. When you have a swollen tongue it can be just a portion of it that is swollen or it can be the whole tongue. Your tongue is what helps you to chew, talk, taste, and swallow and is make of muscles with the upper side lined with taste buds. Usually having a swollen tongue is a symptom of an underlying cause.
As mentioned, having a swollen tongue is usually a symptom of an underlying cause and you may experience other symptoms. Some of the common symptoms of having a swollen tongue include:
- Lesion on your tongue
- Having difficulty in chewing, swallowing, or talking
- Having pain or soreness in your mouth or on your tongue
- Having a burning feeling
- Change in the texture of your tongue such as it having a smoother surface
- Change in the color of your tongue which will usually be a darker color
- Having a fever
- Having a headache
- Spitting blood because of a trauma to your tongue
Swollen tongue due to an allergy may include symptoms such as:
- Pain or cramps in your abdomen
- Cough that is mild
- Mild diarrhea
- Runny nose and sneezing
- Mild vomiting
Swollen tongue with symptoms that might indicate a condition that is life threatening may include symptoms such as:
- Coughing up blood
- Having difficulty in swallowing
- Your throat feels tight
- Having a rash or hives
- Itching in your mouth or throat
- Vomiting or nausea
The cause of having a swollen tongue could be due to a variety of conditions, disorders, or diseases. Some of the causes could be serious and could even be life-threatening.
Common causes of a swollen tongue may include:
- Exposure to very hot beverages or food
- Spicy foods
- Biting your tongue
- Having no teeth
- Dental appliances such as braces
- Having your tongue pierced, especially if there is an infection at the piercing site.
Infections that may cause a swollen tongue include:
- Strep infection which is a bacterial infection
- Herpes simplex virus infection
- Yeast infection
Allergies and allergic reactions that may cause a swollen tongue include:
- Being bit by an insect such as being stung by a bee
- Medication allergy such as a allergic reaction to codeine or penicillin
- Certain foods
- Having an anaphylactic allergic reaction which can be life-threatening
Allergies are one of the most common reasons to have a swollen tongue.
Other causes that may cause a swollen tongue include:
- A hormonal disorder called acromegaly which is when there is too much growth hormone and over time the body tissues get larger.
- Down syndrome
- Under-active thyroid known as hypothyroidism
- Disorder of the pituitary gland
- Cancer of the tongue
- A decrease in your red blood cells due to the poor absorption of vitamin B12 known as pernicious anemia.
- Angioedema which is a serious disease and happens when there is a rapid swelling of the submucosal and mucosal tissues. This is usually seen because of a side effect of medication, especially hypertensive medications. It could even be hereditary.
- Transient lingual papillitis which is where the taste buds become red, inflamed, and swell and usually manifests at night as a swollen tongue.
The treatment that will be used depends on what is causing the swollen tongue. Some of the treatments that can be used include:
- If you notice that your tongue swells after eating or drinking certain foods you will need to eliminate them from your diet.
- If it is due to a side effect or allergic reaction to a medication you are on you need to contact your physician so they can change your medication. If it is an allergic reaction to the medication that is life-threatening then you need to seek immediate medical attention. Your tongue could swell up to double its size and interfere with your breathing, which can be fatal.
- If it is due to an infection you should see your physician to see if they need to prescribe antibiotics to get rid of the infection.
Other home remedies that you can try if you have a swollen tongue that is not causing any serious life-threatening problems may include:
- Many times when you have a swollen tongue, it can be difficult to swallow anything, including your own saliva so to help decrease the production of saliva you should avoid any sour or salty foods until the swelling goes down and it is no longer difficult to swallow.
- Follow a liquid diet until the swelling goes down
- To avoid any complications with a swollen tongue make sure that you are maintaining good oral hygiene.
- Gently brush your tongue with a soft toothbrush
- Do yoga exercises to help decrease the swelling and get your tongue moving more easily. The yoga pose that is recommended is the Lion Pose which is where you vocalize the sound “AHHHHH” as in the roar of a loin while you stick your tongue out. Doing this will help to relax your tongue. If you have never done yoga you should consult someone who practices yoga before attempting this.
- To help decrease the pain on your tongue put a half teaspoon of sugar on it.
- Drink plenty of water but do it in small quantities to help relieve your tongue pain.
- Eat semi-soft or soft foods such as soups, yogurt, etc until your tongue feels better.
Swollen Tongue Pictures
Photos, Images and Pictures of Swollen Tongue…