What Causes Swollen Tongue


In the following article, we will address the most common reasons for a swollen tongue, which include but are not limited to, injuries, dehydration, inflammation, anxiety, biting, sore throat, and thyroid problems. If you have a swollen tongue, it could be partially enlarged, or it could be the entire tongue. Since the tongue plays such a pivotal role in day to day life, tongue swelling can be a difficult and painful condition. Knowing the cause of your tongue swelling can help in finding the correct treatment.

The following are all potential causes for a swollen tongue:

Injuries: One of the most common reasons for tongue swelling is injury. Examples include biting, burning, or piercing the tongue. While painful, injuries such as this usually just require time to heal.

Dehydration: Insufficient amounts of water can lead to dehydration. When the body is dehydrated, the lips begin to crack and the tongue begins to swell as the body loses fluids. Replenishing your fluids is the best way to avoid dehydration.

Inflammation: Your swollen tongue could be indicative of a more serious medical problem that causes inflammation. Viral infections and mouth ulcers are two common causes for inflammation, but medical attention may be necessary if the cause is unclear.

Anxiety: When in a frightening or high anxiety situation, many people experience increased heart rate, sweating, and tongue swelling. However, anxiety does not directly cause the tongue to swell, it just gives the feeling of a swollen tongue.

Biting: When one experiences a swollen tongue with teeth impressions on one or both sides it can be a sign of poor diet, body water retention, thyroid problems, or liver inflammation. Biting the sides of the tongue that are already swollen can make this cause of tongue swelling much more painful. Eating foods that are good for the spleen can help resolve these issues. Examples are kidney beans, chicken, root vegetables, kale, and fish.

Sore Throat: A sore throat accompanied by a swollen tongue can often be an indication that your body is having some type of infection or negative reaction. While many cases, like oropharyngeal candidiasis and mouth ulcers, can be self diagnosed, a reaction to medication or a severe allergic reaction require medical attention.

Thyroid Problems: Conditions such as hypothyroidism can cause tongue swelling, dryness, pain, and discoloration. It can also cause tongue scalloping, when your tongue swells enough to have teeth marks left on the sides. If tongue scalloping or other symptoms occur, medical treatment is required in order to determine if the thyroid is the cause of the swelling.

There are other conditions that can cause a swollen tongue, but they are much more rare. Angioedema, amyloidosis, and down syndrome are all conditions that can cause a swollen tongue, but they are usually accompanied by more prevalent symptoms that help diagnose these conditions.

There is a large number of causes for a swollen tongue, from a simple burn to more serious conditions. While there are many cases where the cause for your swollen tongue can be self diagnosed and treated, if you suspect that your swollen tongue is caused by a more serious condition, it is best to get in contact with a health care professional.