What Causes Bleeding Tongue?
The tongue is vulnerable to injuries because of the place it is located. Also, there are a number of conditions that could lead to bleeding of the tongue.
A few conditions are serious while a few might pose a long-term risk.
Injury is the most common cause of bleeding from the tongue. A tongue can be injured by many things such as:
- On being bitten
- Radiation therapy
- Broken teeth
- Sharp foods
As the injury heals, the bleeding stops. A little bleeding is nothing to be much concerned about. But if in case it bleeds excessive or frequently due to the injury a doctor should be consulted.
There are other causes as well that might cause the tongue to bleed. Some heel themselves while others might require a doctor’s consultation.
- Thrush is a common fungal infection.
- It is most often seen affecting the babies. In adults, it affects those with a compromised immune system or those taking antibiotics.
- Thrush leads to yellow, white painful spots or open sores in the mouth and back of the throat.
- Thrush is painful and can interfere with eating. It is not serious but a doctor can be consulted if the symptoms appear.
- It can be diagnosed by visual examination.
Treatment: Topic antifungal medication is given. If the infection is widespread oral antifungal medications are prescribed.
Oral herpes is caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV-1).
It is spread by oral contact that can be through kissing or oral sex. It can also occur if anything such as glass, fork or towel is shared with the person suffering from herpes. Viral shedding can occur in these things which can cause the spread.
About 50-80 percent of Americans are found suffering from oral herpes(1)
The symptoms of oral herpes include:
- Redness and pain
- Rashes or blisters
- A cluster of blister forming a large lesion
- Itching tingling or burning sensation in the mouth
- Oral herpes can be diagnosed by visual examination. It can be difficult to diagnose as it looks like other conditions. A viral culture can be taken to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment: Oral herpes cannot be cured. Oral antiviral medicines and topical creams can be used in the treatment.
- Ulcers in the mouth are also known as canker sores or stomatitis.
- They can appear as white sores in the mouth and can be painful. It is not a serious condition. Ulcers with red circular edges can be difficult to get rid of.
Treatment: Mouth ulcers mostly clear up in a couple of weeks without any treatment. Mouthwashes and lozenges can be given to get relief from the symptoms.
Blood Vessel Or Lymph System Malformation
- Malformation of blood vessels or hemangioma can lead to bleeding from the tongue. Lymph system abnormalities such as lymphangiomas and cystic hygromas can also cause bleeding.
- These conditions are found in the head, neck, and mouth.
- About 90 percent of these abnormalities develop before the age of 2(2)
- Malformation of blood vessels can be diagnosed by physical examinations
Treatment: These lesions are not dangerous or cancerous. They do not cause discomfort. Unless they are not causing any discomfort or are unsightly, they do not require any treatment.
Steroids can be given to give relief from the symptoms. They can also be removed surgically.
- Single mouth ulcers that do not heal can be oral or oropharyngeal cancers. These ulcers expand and become hard. They can be painful and might bleed as well.
- If diagnosed early, such cancers can be cured.
- Smoking, regular and heavy drinking, human papillomavirus (HPV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can place a person at risk of getting oral cancer.
- The condition is diagnosed by taking a biopsy of the affected tissue. Further tests such as endoscopy, X-ray, computed tomography or MRI, are conducted to determine the spread.
Treatment: Treatment options for such cancer include surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy.
Home Remedies For Bleeding Tongue
There are certain home remedies that do not cure but can provide some relief from bleeding tongue.
- Ice: Ice wrapped gauze or washcloth can be applied to the sores to stop the bleeding. Make sure to wash hands before doing it.
- Yogurt: Yogurt contains active cultures. It helps restore the levels of bacteria. Yogurt also helps boost the immune system and aids digestion.
- Baking Soda: Baking soda can be added to the cup of warm water and can be used to rinse the mouth. It can be done several times a day.
- Milk of Magnesia: If canker sores are present, milk of magnesia can be used.
- Avoid Acidic and Spicy Food
- Avoid Hot Water and Food
- Cool water and popsicles can help relieve the burning sensation in the mouth
Most of the condition of bleeding tongue are not very serious or pose any health risk. It is important to see a doctor if the symptoms do not improve.