Claire Williams

Can the menopause cause burning mouth syndrome?

Claire Williams
 Can the menopause cause burning mouth syndrome?
burning mouth

Have you noticed a tingling or burning sensation in your mouth? You might be surprised to learn that it could be a symptom of ‘the change’ 

Burning Mouth Syndrome

Burning mouth syndrome is a painful condition in which burning pain occurs on your tongue, lips, roof of mouth, cheeks, back of throat and widespread areas involving your whole mouth.

The condition affects more women than men. however, postmenopausal women are at greater risk of developing this condition because an hormonal imbalance is known to be one of the causes. Estrogen plays an important role in the formation of saliva, therefore, once estrogen levels decrease, as occurs during the menopause, this can cause a burning mouth. The condition can sometimes occur in younger people but is more common in women in their middle years and older. 

Some sufferers feel constant pain, but for others the discomfort can come and go. The sensation felt is often described as scalding. The onset of burning mouth is very often immediate and it has been known to last for several months to several years.

The condition is usually absent at night, sufferers typically awaken pain free with symptoms getting progressively worse throughout the day into the evening where they peak and then subside.

Common symptoms of burning mouth:

  • Dry mouth
  • Itchy mouth
  • Sore mouth
  • Sticky mouth
  • A metallic taste in the mouth
  • A tingling or numb sensation in the mouth or at the tip of the tongue
  • Loss of taste
  • Increased thirst

If you’re not going through the menopause, then there may be another reason you’re suffering…

Other causes of burning mouth syndrome:

  • Diabetes
  • Oral candida (fungal infection of the mouth)
  • Medications (some blood pressure medications, oral medications and diuretics)
  • Dry mouth
  • Vitamin deficiencies (Vitamin B-12, iron, folic acid, niacin)
  • Gastric acid reflux
  • Blood abnormalities (anemia)
  • Allergies (toothpastes, mouthwashes, chewing gums, foods)
  • Dental disease
  • Psychological causes (anxiety, depression)
  • Inflammatory diseases
  • Tobacco use
  • Oral cancer
  • Chronic infections
  • Geographic tongue (inflammatory condition of the tongue)
  • Tongue biting
  • Lingual nerve damage

Ways to relieve a burning mouth:

  • Increase water intake. Water can stimulate saliva production and keep your mouth moist
  • Chewing sugar-free gum can also help to keep the mouth moist
  • Rinsing out your mouth with cold apple juice can bring relief
  • Sucking on a piece of ice can bring instant relief
  • Avoid spicy and acidic foods and beverages
  • Use only alcohol-free mouthwashes
  • Increase intake of foods containing Vitamin B (bananas, lentils, liver, turkey, tuna)
  • Add iron rich foods to your diet (spinach, broccoli).
  • As burning mouth during menopause is associated with hormonal imbalance, natural menopause relief supplements may assist in bringing about a natural balance to your hormone levels.
  • If symptoms persist, visit your doctor

Further reading on the menopause:

7 ways to manage the menopause

Reasons not to be scared of the change

Your menopause questions answered

The Yours guide to the menopause

  • For more expert health advice get a copy of Yours Magazine, out every fortnight, on a Tuesday.