Swollen Tongue: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Home Remedies

The tongue is considered as the strongest muscle in the body, which is essential to taste food, swallow and also help to talk. Usually a healthy tongue is pink in color and is covered with tiny nodules termed as Papillae. The tongue sometimes shows some kind of unhealthy symptoms which are termed as tongue problems including the soreness, discoloration, swelling, etc. It is usually considered that these tongue problems are mostly not serious and can be eradicated easily in quick time. However, it must be noted that sometimes such swollen tongue can be life threatening when the infection passes to the throat and causes a blockage in the air passage. Moreover, it is even true that growing with these problems in the tongue can actually be very much frustrating and irritating many times. So, such a condition of swollen tongue must be taken seriously.

Swollen Tongue

In this current article we will be discussing on one such common tongue problem known as “Swollen tongue”; where we will take a look on the causes, symptoms, treatments and home remedies for the swollen tongue.

Understand What Swollen Tongue Is:

Swollen tongue is actually an abnormal condition in the tongue occurring due to tongue inflammation, where either a part or the entire tongue gets enlarged, and fatter than the normal tongue size. It is true that tongue in its swelling conditions is taken as a kind of defense mechanism which helps in fighting against the infection and aids in healing. However, when there is an excessive swelling for longer time; the swollen tongue can be actually very much harmful.

It must be mentioned that tongue inflammation or the swollen tongue condition can result from the excessive fluid accumulation in the tongue tissues and termed as Angioedema. This swollen tongue can also occur due to excess deposit of abnormal substances like the amyloid protein and also can be result from any kind of allergic reactions to certain medicines. Let us discuss more about this condition of swollen tongue in the following array of the article.

Symptoms Of Swollen Tongue:

Look below for some of the important symptoms of swollen tongue:

  • Enlarged, puffy tongue due to excessive swelling
  • Difficulty breathing when tongue swelling outgrows to the throat or the air passage.
  • Discoloration or redness seen sometimes due to inflammation
  • Problem while swallowing foods.

What Can Cause Swollen Tongue?

Now when we are known to the symptoms of swollen tongue, it must be obvious that you might be looking for the underlying reasons that leads to such a tongue inflammation. So, here below we are with the various causes of swollen tongue.

  • Tongue sores usually caused due to virus.
  • Strep infections can cause swollen tongue.
  • Sometimes burning of tongue while eating food in hot conditions can lead to the trauma and swollen tongue.
  • Vitamin D deficiency can also lead to swollen tongue and other tongue inflammation.
  • Certain allergic reactions can cause swelling in tongue.
  • Patients suffering from genetic disorders like down’s syndrome, are likely to have swollen tongue.
  • Tongue cancer, leukemia etc causes swollen tongue.
  • Breakdown of skeletal muscle tissue or Rhabdomyolysis can cause swollen tongue.
  • Hypothyroidism, amyloidosis etc can also lead to tongue swelling.
  • Excessive alcoholism and smoking also causes swollen tongue.

When To Look For A Medical Help in The Event of Having Swollen Tongue?

You know you require a medical help and consultation from an expert; when you find difficulty swallowing, breathing or speaking. It is also advised to consult a professional if the swollen tongue symptoms exist for more than a week, it is still better to consult at the earliest.

Treatments Available For Swollen Tongue:

Before we come to the treatment procedures prescribed for swollen tongue, it is highly necessary to take care of the underlying causes leading to the swelling of tongue and look for eradicating the issues. So, first let us list the special ways to treat the underlying causes of swollen tongue.

  • Treat the iron or vitamin deficiency syndromes by taking prescribed supplements
  • Go for a healthy lifestyle by reducing alcohol intake and quit smoking.
  • Treat necessary antifungal, antibiotics and try to suppress the inflammation that leads to swollen tongue.
  • Keep proper oral hygiene.
  • Take care of your dietary habits. Stay away from the foods that cause allergic reactions.

Now coming down to the available treatments for swollen tongue, here we come up with the list below.

  • Usually swollen tongue is treated with antihistamines and corticosteroids if there is no great severity seen in the swelling of the tongue.
  • Epinephrine injections are required in case the swelling is caused due to allergic reactions.
  • There are also self injector pen with epinephrine doses available for treating tongue swelling due to allergic reactions. It must be noted that you must use this in a proper manner. EpiPen, Twinject etc are some of the known brands.

Please Note: In case you find the swollen tongue symptoms are spreading rapidly and if there are chances that the inflammation might get spread to the throat of air passage; which may be life-threatening due to respiratory distress, it is strictly advised to call the emergency number (911) for immediate treatment. Usually such conditions are caused due to certain kind of allergic reactions.

Home Remedies For Swollen Tongue:

Swollen tongue is usually not very much severe, unless the inflammation has reached the air passage. So, mostly these swelling of tongue symptoms can be treated at home in a natural way. Here below are some of the crucial home remedies for swollen tongue.

  • Take enough of butter, soups, yogurt, gravy and broths in regular diet. In fact try to switch on the semi-solid foods which help in providing relaxation in swollen tongue condition.
  • Cold temperature helps in reducing the tongue swelling. So keep some ice cubes in your mouth and relax yourself.
  • Include celery sticks in diet and provide enough relief to your swollen tongue.
  • Make a dilute solution of turmeric in a warm glass of water and gargle with the solution to get relief from tongue inflammation and swollen tongue.
  • Drinking small amount of water at regular intervals help you ease the swelling of tongue.
  • Placing a spoon of sugar on the tongue also help you in reducing the swelling of tongue.
  • Soak some rosemary, mint and aniseeds in a bowl of water overnight, strain the mixture and use it as a mouthwash in the morning. This will help you greatly.
  • It is also advised to take less amount of salt and prevent excessive production of saliva, which might cause difficulty swallowing with a swollen tongue.

Now, that you are known to some of the important home remedies to treat swollen tongue, why not apply these remedies and treatment procedures in your practical life and come out of those irritating symptoms of swollen tongue?

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 25, 2022

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