Type of disease: Rare conditions

Glossodynia, or burning mouth syndrome, is a disorder in which an individual experiences a burning or stinging sensation in the mouth. Glossodynia may caused by long term facial pain, atypical facial pain, atypical odontalgia, and temporomandibular joint dysfunction. The pain may also be caused by psychological factors, or there may be no known underlying cause for the pain (idiopathic). Other causes include certain foods and additives, vitamin deficiencies, neuropathy, hypothyroidism, medications, diabetes, and allergies.

In addition to the burning sensation, other symptoms of glossodynia include dryness, numbness and tingling of the mouth, and an altered sense of taste or smell. Symptoms often are milder in the morning and become worse as the day goes on. However, some types of glossodynia include constant pain throughout the day, or no pattern at all to the pain. The specific symptoms will often vary based on the underlying cause, if known.

Glossodynia is common in patients who are also affected by depression and anxiety. The disorder may be caused by increased pain sensitivity or reduced pain threshold. Affected individuals will often have sensitive taste, especially bitter tastes. Glossodynia is much more common in women than in men, and is particularly common in women with menopausal symptoms.

Treatment for glossodynia focuses on treating the underlying cause, and aims to improve quality of life for affected individuals. Antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and antianxiety medication may be used to treat psychological causes. Additionally, cognitive behavior or desensitization therapies are also used. Spontaneous recovery occurs in the majority of affected individuals. If you are suffering from glossodynia, talk to your doctor about the most current treatment options.

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