Burning Mouth Syndrome - Signs and Symptoms

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What are signs and symptoms of burning mouth syndrome?

Moderate to severe burning in the mouth is the main symptom of BMS and can persist for months or years. For many people, the burning sensation begins in late morning, builds to a peak by evening, and often subsides at night. Some feel constant pain; for others, pain comes and goes. Anxiety and depression are common in people with burning mouth syndrome and may result from their chronic pain.

Other symptoms of BMS include:

  • tingling or numbness on the tip of the tongue or in the mouth
  • bitter or metallic changes in taste
  • dry or sore mouth.
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See what others are saying

Comment from: Grando, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 02

I was just diagnosed with burning mouth syndrome (BMS) and esophageal hypersensitivity. I have been sick for a year and my doctors were not able to diagnose me and sent me to Mayo. I have a very tender face and scalp. It hurts to wash my face and apply makeup, and hurts to wash and brush my hair. I don't know if it is from the BMS or the hypersensitivity. Also my nose (sinuses) hurt all the time. I use saline spray but nothing helps. My eyes are also affected. The doctors told me to take 4 teaspoons of water and add 1 to 2 drops of tabasco sauce and swish it in my mouth and spit out. Do this 3 to 5 times a day. Build up the number of drops of tabasco but never use more than 4 teaspoons of water. It is supposed to desensitize your mouth. It will make your lips swell a little bit. It will burn at first but that goes away. I am up to 4 drops of tabasco. I do think it is helping some, it is worth a try since I have not found much to help. I have really bad pain in my esophagus. I was on a Fentanyl patch up until two weeks ago for the pain, but now they have put me on nortriptyline for the hypersensitivity so I weaned off the patch two weeks ago. Today I have experienced bad pain again which scares me. I don't like being on an opioid. I am not use to taking pain medications. I have also been on Lyrica but the side effects are so bad that I have been weaning off of it. It did help my pain some. There is no cure for either of my illnesses. My doctors here have never seen anybody with it and don't know what to do for me. My life has been turned upside down. My old self is gone. Now I live in chronic pain.

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Comment from: Susie, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: May 09

I woke up after back surgery on October 5, 2012 with back pain relief and horrible burning mouth syndrome (BMS) pain. After one exhausting year traveling all over the country the only conclusion was, BMS and good luck to you. Klonopin for me helps a bit, 0.5 mg in the morning and at bedtime. Tough, exhausting, addictive drug. Just that if I don"t take it I get into real burning horror, blisters, rancid taste, dry mouth, etc. It amazes me that after 12 years of me having it and many more years of millions of people suffering with it there is no cure... or even a little help. Not enough money to be made. Only 5 plus million BMS sufferers worldwide. It"s a real shame. It"s truly changed my life, in a painful, sad way. I have to fight the pain and burning every second of every minute of every day.

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