Can Anxiety Cause Burning Mouth Syndrome?

What is Burning Mouth Syndrome?

Burning Mouth Syndrome is a benign oral condition characterized by a burning sensation around the lips, the roof of the mouth and the inner part of the lips(1). This burning sensation does not have a known source, even on blood tests(1). Burning Mouth Syndrome is observed to occur generally in females who have attained menopause(1); although males and females of reproductive age can also at times suffer from this condition.

An individual with Burning Mouth Syndrome will experience intense burning sensation as if he or she has eaten something very spicy or hot. Patient with Burning Mouth Syndrome may also have bitter or metallic taste in their mouth afterwards(2). Due to Burning Mouth Syndrome, individuals tend to find foods less tasteful than normal(2).
Even though there is no specific cause for Burning Mouth Syndrome there are certain characteristics, which can be easily observed in individuals with Burning Mouth Syndrome(1). An individual suffering from Burning Mouth Syndrome will have minimal burning sensation in the mouth upon awakening in the morning, which eventually will start worsening as the day progresses and will be at its peak late in the evening(3).

Throughout the day the symptoms of Burning Mouth Syndrome will be unrelenting with little to no improvement. It is extremely rare for an individual with Burning Mouth Syndrome to have certain days where he or she does not have symptoms.

While there is no clear cut cause for Burning Mouth Syndrome, there have been cases where diagnosed patients have had a history of anxiety(3). This article discusses whether anxiety can cause Burning Mouth Syndrome.

Can Anxiety Cause Burning Mouth Syndrome?

The answer to this question is YES, certain emotional conditions like extreme stress, fear, depression and anxiety can cause symptoms of Burning Mouth Syndrome(4). This is especially seen in individuals who have extreme fear of developing cancer(5). In fact, even the vice versa is possible.

In certain cases, symptoms of Burning Mouth Syndrome have lead to the development of anxiety, as the patient mistakes it as a precursor for cancer. The fact of the matter is that Burning Mouth Syndrome is an extremely benign condition and has absolutely no relation with either increasing the risk for cancer or development of cancer(5).

For such patients, physicians recommend antidepressants or cognitive behavioral therapy to allay their fears and allow them to come to in terms of their reality that is nothing is wrong with them and they are just suffering from a harmless, albeit irritating disorder, which causes a burning sensation in the mouth.

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