What Is Your Tongue Saying About You?
What’s on My Tongue?
No really, what is your tongue saying? Without using any words, your tongue can help diagnose medical issues. Is your tongue red? Look like a strawberry? Black and hairy? White with patches? All of these can be tell-tale signs to watch for.
A healthy tongue is pink and covered with small papillae or nodules. Your tongue’s normal functions allow you to talk, taste and swallow food. Your tongue is continually moving. When change happens with your tongue, you will notice quickly. Tongue problems are irritating and bothersome. Some problems will take care of themselves on their own. If you see discoloration or pain longer than a few weeks, seek medical advice. Let’s look at some symptoms and causes.
If your tongue looks like it’s got cottage cheese on it, you could have an oral yeast infection known as candidiasis or thrush. This can occur when people with diabetes aren’t being kept under control. Or someone who uses an inhaler for asthma or lung disease. Even someone on chemo or one with a weak immune system.
Have a strawberry looking or red tongue?
Some may look smooth and glossy. Others may look like an enlarged strawberry with the taste buds dotting the surface. One with a high fever and a red tongue should contact a doctor because chances are you may have scarlet fever. A child under the age of 5, with a high fever, red tongue and swollen red hands and feet should be taken to the doctor immediately. They may have an autoimmune disease which affects the blood vessels called Kawasaki Syndrome. One with a red tongue could have an iron deficiency.
Do you have a black hairy tongue?
The papillae on your tongue is continually growing and changing. Since the tongue is always chewing, drinking and talking, they get worn down. Sometimes really long papillae are a harbor for bacteria that grow and look black. Papillae that are overgrown will take the look of hair. Someone who smokes, drinks coffee or dark tea, can add to the darkening color. One who is diabetic, on antibiotics or chemo may have this condition as well. Also one who is HIV positive can have a black hairy tongue. Using a tongue scraper or just brushing your tongue could help solve this.
Have a sore, bumpy or burning tongue?
This could all be caused by trauma, like scalding your tongue with hot food. Stress can cause enlarged papillae or canker sores on your tongue. Oral cancer symptoms are a sore or lump on your tongue longer than two weeks. A burning tongue is seven times more likely in women than men. Post-menopausal women particularly suffer from this syndrome. The tongue may appear normal, but hormonal changes can cause a stinging burning sensation.
So, again I ask: what is your tongue trying to tell you?