Can Liver Damage Cause Burning Tongue?
The condition known as burning tongue – another common name for burning mouth syndrome, or BMS – can be every bit as painful and frustrating as it probably sounds. Not only are the symptoms of burning tongue potentially debilitating, but the options for diagnosing and treating the condition are fairly limited, meaning that many with this ailment are condemned to suffer, with little recourse aside from trying to manage their pain.
One important step in helping those with burning tongue or burning mouth syndrome is figuring out what might be causing their symptoms; one question being asked is whether liver damage can cause burning tongue. To explore this topic in greater detail, keep reading as the people at Chemo Mouthpiece™ explain.
What Are Some Common Causes of Burning Tongue?
Though trying to find the cause of a patient’s burning tongue can be difficult, the endeavor is far from impossible. In fact, a number of conditions have been linked to burning tongue, including liver damage, so doctors often have at least an idea of where to start looking.
However, research on this illness is still scarce, so it’s tough to say with any certainty whether liver damage (or any other identifiable condition) could be causing someone’s BMS without first putting them through an extensive battery of tests (Source).
Even then, it’s not uncommon for all the tests on a patient with burning tongue to come back negative, in which case they are diagnosed with “primary” burning mouth syndrome (as opposed to “secondary” BMS, which indicates the presence of an underlying condition, such as liver damage).
Those with primary BMS or burning tongue are generally left without a clear reason for their symptoms, though many experts believe that the pain of this condition is caused by damage to nerves in the mouth.
Some other common causes of burning tongue include the following:
- Poor oral habits, including biting your tongue, overbrushing your tongue, or using mouthwashes too frequently
- Chronic dry mouth, whether as a result of another health problem or a side effect of chemotherapy
- An allergy or sensitivity to a specific food, dye, fragrance, or material used in dental implants
- Nerve pain caused by liver damage or kidney disease
- A lack of certain nutrients, especially vitamin D, vitamin B, iron, or zinc
- Psychological issues, such as depression, anxiety, or extreme stress
- Medication side effects, especially those from drugs used to treat high blood pressure
- Hormonal changes, including those resulting from menopause or a disorder of the endocrine system, such as diabetes or hypothyroidism
- Oral infections and other illnesses, including thrush, yeast infections, or a condition called oral lichen planus
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease, more commonly known as acid reflux
How is Liver Damage Linked to Burning Tongue?
At a glance, it might be difficult to see what link could exist between liver damage and burning tongue and to be fair, there is not currently any conclusive evidence proving that such a link exists. However, it has been posited that chronic liver disease could lead to burning tongue in some cases, as one result of this type of liver damage is a condition called peripheral neuropathy, which refers to nerve damage located outside the brain.
There is clear documentation that this type of nerve damage can occur after the liver has been damaged, and there are other possible causes of neuropathy as well, such as HIV or kidney disease. That said, the lack of clear evidence linking liver disease to BMS means that liver damage may not be the cause of your burning tongue, so your doctor is more likely to explore other possible reasons for your pain (Source).
Tips for Treating Burning Tongue Caused by Liver Damage
With an illness as poorly understood as burning tongue, it can be difficult for even the most resourceful health care provider to come up with an effective treatment. Perhaps, if your burning mouth syndrome is caused by a fairly simple condition, such as a vitamin B deficiency, then you could treat it without much trouble (in this case, a vitamin supplement).
However, a more serious causative condition, such as liver damage, could be impossible to rectify, and if you don’t have a clear cause to address, you may have to settle for ways to temporarily mitigate your discomfort.
One such option is medication; some patients have had success with drugs designed to block the nerve pain caused by liver damage and other ailments, while others have been helped by antidepressants or the anticonvulsant medication clonazepam.
Certain medicated mouth rinses, especially those made with lidocaine, may help with liver damage-related oral pain, and if you suffer from dry mouth as well as pain, an artificial saliva product could be of use (Source).
Another option is cryotherapy, a type of drug-free treatment in which freezing or near-freezing temperatures are applied to areas experiencing pain. If you’ve ever iced an injury, you know how effective this type of therapy can be, as it both numbs pain and provides cooling relief that can soothe burning sensations. While some patients use ice chips as a form of cryotherapy, a more effective option is available: the Chemo Mouthpiece™.
Although it was first created to help cancer patients suffering from oral mucositis, the Chemo Mouthpiece™ is nonetheless a powerful yet simple tool that excels at cooling the mouth and soothing burning tongue caused by liver damage.
In fact, over the course of half an hour, this specialized oral ice pack can lower the temperature of the mouth by as much as 30 degrees, and it does so without causing the often painful tooth sensitivity that ice cubes or pops do.
Plus, the Chemo Mouthpiece™ reaches the entire oral cavity, so if your burning mouth syndrome extends beyond your tongue – if your liver damage-related nerve pain affects, say, the cheeks, gums, or palate – the Chemo Mouthpiece™ can still cool the affected area with ease.
Oral Cryotherapy Device to Help Manage Burning Tongue Caused by Liver Damage
If you or someone you know has struggled to deal with a burning tongue because of liver damage, or any other cause, consider trying the Chemo Mouthpiece™.
To learn more about this device, including how it can help those with burning tongue or burning mouth syndrome, visit us online or call (866) 461-7518 today.