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Why Is My Tongue on Fire?

Why Is My Tongue on Fire?
Ladies, may you NEVER experience Burning Tongue Syndrome...

Okay, time to talk about those odd perimenopause symptoms I’ve never experienced but am utterly fascinated by their absurdity.

Let’s start with the burning tongue syndrome, also known as burning mouth syndrome. From what I’ve read, this is no joke. A serious, painful condition, this syndrome is characterized by a burning sensation not only on the tongue, but on the gums, lips, inside of cheeks, and the back of the mouth or throat.

In other words, it’s like that 60s Johnny Cash song: “I went down, down, down, and the flames went higher. And it burns, burns, burns, the ring of fire. Or it’s Disco Inferno all over again – burn, baby, burn. Or, for you younger perimenopausal women, how about the 80s song, “Burning Down the House,” by the Talking Heads?

I mean, REALLY? Isn’t it enough that we menopausal women are brought to our knees with hot flashes, heart palpitations, mood swings, and insomnia? Must we also feel like our tongues are on fire?

Sorry ladies, but it only gets worse.

Although the pain is usually minimal in the morning, it gradually escalates through the day until it can reach almost unbearable levels. Add to all that fun, burning tongue syndrome can also give food a bitter, metallic type taste. You can’t even enjoy your comfort foods without consequences with this lovely little side effect.

And just try explaining this burning tongue thingy to your loved ones when they already think menopause has caused you to go off your rocker.

The exact cause of burning tongue is not fully understood; however, as with all our other menopausal woes, the fluctuating hormone levels and lack of estrogen is thought to be responsible. Estrogen plays a role in the production of saliva. As I mentioned in my article, Dueling Dragon Breath, this can cause bad breath – as well as your mouth feeling like it’s on fire – which I guess makes the term ‘dragon breath’ all the more applicable.

Don’t shoot the messenger, girls. I never claimed it was fun and games here in menopause land. So what can you do to treat burning tongue syndrome? You can try the following recommendations:

  • Supposedly the cure to all menopausal symptoms, drink more water, of course.
  • Chewing sugar-free gum and sucking ice may bring some temporary relief.
  • Avoid acidic foods like tomatoes, orange juice, and coffee as well as spicy foods. Also limit carbonated beverages and alcohol which can dehydrate an already dry mouth.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Practice good oral hygiene.
  • Prescription pain medication is available as a last resort.

What else? As usual, a sense of humor is your first line of defense! Hum Disco Inferno if it helps.

Baby boomers who want to learn more about finding their bliss, can visit Julie’s blog.    

About Julie Gorges

Julie Gorges enjoys writing as a creative way to express her feelings, share her warped sense of humor, bare her soul, and hopefully inspire and educate her readers on important subjects like menopause mania. She's the author of three books, has had hundreds of articles published in magazines and newspapers, and won three journalism awards while working as a newspaper reporter. You can enjoy Julie's own blog at


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