Swollen Tongue: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Swelling of the tongue can occur due to inflammation of the tongue, known as glossitis, the presence of abnormal substances (such as amyloid protein) in the tongue, the collection of fluid in the tongue as a result of different disease processes, or tumors (including tongue or other oral cancers) that infiltrate the tissues of the tongue. An enlarged or swollen tongue can also occur as an allergic reaction to medications or other substances. In this case, the swelling is due to fluid accumulation in the tissues of the tongue, medically known as angioedema. A dramatically swollen tongue can lead to breathing problems and may be a medical emergency. Treatment of allergic reactions that include swollen tongue can include epinephrine, antihistamines, and/or steroid medications.

Related Symptoms & Signs

REFERENCE:

Green, Thomas E. "Acute Angioedema Overview of Angioedema Treatment." Medscape.com. May 16, 2016. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/756261-overview>.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 12/9/2016
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