What is a Geographical Tongue? Geographical Tongue is a chronic condition in which the tongue develops ugly bald patches often bordered by whitish or grayish wavy edges. These irregularly shaped red areas tend to change their position from time to time.
The smooth patches are usually confined to the tongue but it may also affect other oral mucosal soft tissue sites in rare cases. In medical terminology, this problem is also referred to as Benign Migratory Glossitis, Benign Migratory Stomatitis, Lingua Geographica, Transitory Benign Plaques of the tongue etc.
Due to its distinct appearance, the Geographic Tongue seems like an alarming condition but you can rest assured that it is harmless, although it does cause increased sensitivity to certain substances and a burning or stinging pain at times.
Do hormones make Geographic Tongue worse?
Basically, the discolored patches resembling map-like patterns develop on tongue when the papillae or taste beds present on the surface of the tongue fall off.
As the papillae replace and regenerate themselves starting from the outer boundary of the patches, the edges of the discolored patches seem grayish, yellowish or whitish in color.
Experts are still clueless about the exact reason that gives rise to this condition. However, in most of the cases, this problem is caused because of genetic predisposition. Moreover, it has been observed that Geographic Tongue tends to become worse in case of pregnant women and women on contraceptive pills.
In fact, some women taking contraceptive pills have noticed that their symptoms become worse around day 17 of their cycle. Thus, certain genetic factors and hormones may be linked to this problem.
Other conditions like Psoriasis, Eczema, Asthma, Allergy and Fissured Tongue are usually associated with an increased risk of developing Geographic Tongue. Stress and certain dietary factors, especially diet with high amount of sugar can also worsen this disease.
Matters usually get worse when you have Geographical Tongue along with other problems like Burning Tongue Syndrome or Acid Reflux. However, as Geographical Tongue varies from one individual to another, it is difficult to come to any generalized conclusion.
How to get rid of Geographic Tongue?
In case you are wondering,”is there a cure for Geographic Tongue” then you are surely not worrying unnecessarily as there is no specific treatment for Geographic Tongue in children as well as adults.
Some individuals have reported improvement in their pain and discomfort through treatments for Oral Thrush. Geographical Tongue in children as well as adults is often associated with vitamin B deficiency too.
So, try to have a balanced diet and carefully include more vitamin B foods and supplements. Zinc supplements have also been found beneficial in dealing with Geographical Tounge.
As the discolored patches of Geographic Tongue cause a great deal of discomfort due to increased sensitivity to hot and spicy foods, you should try to reduce the consumption of such foods as far as possible.
In addition, restrict the consumption of alcohol and acidic foods like tomatoes, strawberries, pineapples etc. Needless to add, restrict the consumption of highly sugary items as they tend to aggravate the symptoms of this problem.
If you are looking for relief from the burning sensation and tenderness then you can have a mint gum or chew mint leaves to reduce the discomfort.
Plus, drink adequate amount of water to keep the mouth moist avoid further troubles. Doctors generally suggest topical gels and antihistamines to get rid of symptoms like pain and inflammation associated with Geographical Tongue.