Geographic tongue (Migratory glossitis) is a medical condition that affects the tongue. more...
The top side of the tongue is covered in small protrusions called papillae. In a tongue affected by geographic tongue, there are red patches on the surface of the tongue bordered by grayish white. The papillae are missing from the reddish areas and overcrowded in the grayish white borders. The small patches may disappear and reappear in a short period of time (hours or days), and change in shape or size. While it is not common for the condition to cause pain, it may cause a burning sensation, especially after contact with certain foods, such as spicy or citrus foods. It may also cause numbness.
Its cause is uncertain, though tends to run in families and is associated with several different genes. Geographic tongue is more commonly found in people who are affected by environmental sensitivity, such as allergies, eczema, and asthma. Some think that it may be linked to stress. Its prevalence also varies by ethnicity (.6% of Americans, 4% young Iraqis, 2% young Finns).
While there is no known cure or commonly prescribed treatment for geographic tongue, there are several ways to suppress the condition, including avoiding foods that exacerbate the problem. Some people affected by geographic tongue also report that taking Vitamin B supplements causes the condition to go away temporarily. Burning may also be reduced by taking antihistamines.
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