The tongue is one of the most important organs of the body, as it is necessary to perform various functions, such as helping to ingest food and speak. Therefore, it is normal to worry when you observe any change or alteration in it, such as feeling a swollen tongue. When the tongue can be seen swollen it is said that there is glossitis.
Keep reading if you're wondering “why do I have a swollen tongue?”, as in this article we explain the causes of inflamed tongue and possible treatments.
Why I have a swollen tongue – causes
As you probably know, on the surface of the tongue are some protrusions known as taste buds, which sometimes disappear into our sight as a result of glossitis, inflammation of the tongue. The tongue itself or the inflamed papillae cause the eating process and the way of speaking to be affected, interrupting even your daily routine. Glossitis usually results from a secondary condition in another part of the body, such as another part of the mouth or throat. Normally, the causes of inflamed tongue are as follows:
- Injury or irritation.
- Vitamin B12 and B3 deficiency.
- Dry mouth and inflammation of the tongue from Sjögren's syndrome.
- Some unbalanced hormonal factors.
In the following sections we will see the most common causes of gl
Why I have a swollen tongue: oral infections
Viruses, bacteria, and fungi can cause inflammation of the tongue. Infections such as Strep infection are caused by bacteria that mainly attack the throat and pharynx and, when inflammation and infection occur in the throat, it affects the entire mouth, even causing the tongue to swell. Oral herpes viruses are also capable of producing swelling of the tongue, by direct involvement of the oral area. In addition, among the most common fungi that can cause inflamed tongue, is oral candidiasis. In this other article we explain how to cure oral thrush.
If you have a wound on your tongue, such as the one caused by a bite or a piercing, make sure that you are not infected, otherwise there will also be a glossitis, among other problems.
Inflammation of the tongue due to allergy
You may also appreciate your tongue swollen due to a food allergy, medication, or anything you're hypersensitive or allergic to. There are usually cases where a glossitis appears as a result of an allergy to certain medications, especially NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin, and ACE inhibitors.
In addition to allergies to these medications, your tongue can be swollen due to a food allergy or an irritating substance: foods that have allergens, insect bites, pollen … If you are hypersensitive to any factor that can trigger an allergy crisis in your body, surely your tongue swells for this reason, although in these cases it is more frequent to present the throat and / or swollen lips than the tongue or, all at the same time.
In these links you can learn about the most common food allergies in adults and what are the symptoms of food allergies
Vitamin B12 and B3 deficiency
A very common vitamin deficiency is a lack of vitamin B12 and B3. Given this important deficiency you will be able to appreciate your swollen, red and smooth tongue. This happens because the lack of these vitamins causes the epithelial cells of the mouth to begin to divide excessively, causing your tongue to look like this. Faced with this problem you will not only notice changes in the mouth, such as an inflamed tongue, you will also feel despondency, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, gas, loss of appetite, etc.
We recommend reading this other article about the Symptoms of Vitamin B12 Deficiency
Treatment and prevention for swollen tongue
Now that you know the answers to your question about “why do I have a swollen tongue?”, we talk about the treatment to reduce tongue swelling, which is based on some medications, in addition to taking more hygiene measures, among other aspects. Here are some treatments and remedies for inflamed tongue.
- The doctor usually prescribes steroids or antibiotics to calm the symptoms and treat or prevent an infection, but the final treatment comes based on the cause that is producing this.
- In the event of an infection, your doctor may prescribe some type of antibiotic. Unless it is caused by a virus, then it will go away over time and your doctor may prescribe medication only for the symptoms.
- You may also inject epinephrine to decrease swelling if it is a case of severe inflammation that makes it difficult for you to breathe.
- Maintain good oral hygiene, brushing teeth at least twice a day and cleaning the tongue at the same time, to prevent the appearance of infections. In this other article you can learn how to clean the tongue.
- If you are deficient in the vitamins mentioned above, your doctor will probably tell you to take vitamin supplements to cover this deficiency.
- Eliminate or reduce alcohol intake, tobacco use, and very hot drinks and foods.
- Your doctor will prescribe an antihistamine for swelling of the tongue due to allergy.
- Apply cold on the tongue, this will reduce inflammation and discomfort. Have cold drinks or suck on ice for a while to benefit from the anti-inflammatory capacity of the cold.
If you notice your tongue swollen do not hesitate to go to a doctor, especially if you have drooling, difficulty breathing or swallowing and fever, in order to rule out serious problems, and if there are to start treating them as soon as possible, and thus prevent the problem from going further.