Swollen Cracked Tongue
A swollen and cracked tongue can be the result of several medical conditions. Swelling and cracking can be uncomfortable, making it difficult to eat, drink and even speak. Depending on the cause, the condition might clear up on its own, but in the case of an allergic reaction, immediate medical attention is required.
The tongue is composed of many muscles and is covered by taste buds, papillae and a mucous membrane. It is an essential part of food digestion as it manipulates food to aid in chewing as well as swallowing. The tongue also is necessary for speech, as it helps you form words. There are several painful and debilitating conditions that can inhibit the tongue from carrying out these various functions.
Tongue swelling can be unsightly and rather painful. According to MedlinePlus.com, a swollen tongue is associated with Down syndrome, acromegaly, myxedema, amyloidosis, rhabdomyoma and several other disorders. It also can be caused by infections, leukemia, lymphangioma, neurofibromatosis, but one of the most common causes of a swollen tongue is a food allergy.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, cracked sores on the tongue might be canker sores resulting from a viral infection. These sores tend to heal on their own. To help relieve pain or discomfort, rinse your mouth with salt water or diluted hydrogen peroxide. Over-the-counter medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen also can help relieve pain.
Salivary Duct Stones
Salivary duct stones are one cause of painful swelling of the tongue. According to the National Institutes of Health, salivary duct stones occur when chemicals crystallize and block salivary ducts. Salivary duct stones can make it difficult to open and close the mouth and cause dry mouth. This condition is treated by pushing the stone out of the gland or by surgically removing the stone.
Treatment and Prevention
If you are experiencing severe pain and discomfort from a swollen and/or cracked tongue, consult you physician to determine the cause and best treatment for you. If you have trouble breathing due to swelling, go to the emergency room immediately. There are several ways to to help relieve swelling and/or cracking, depending on the cause. Ointments can help relieve sores and your doctor might prescribe an antibiotic or antihistamine to help relieve swelling.
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