Burning Mouth Syndrome: A Menopause Symptom That Affects a Third of Women

Burning mouth syndrome is a painful menopause symptom that affects a third of women. Learn how to treat and manage this condition with lifestyle changes, over-the-counter treatments, and prescription medications.

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Can you imagine feeling like your mouth is constantly on fire? That’s the reality for millions of women who suffer from burning mouth syndrome (BMS), a painful menopause symptom that affects up to a third of women.

What is burning mouth syndrome?

BMS is a chronic condition that causes a burning sensation in the mouth. The burning can be mild or severe, and it can affect the entire mouth or just certain areas. Other symptoms of BMS can include dryness, tingling, numbness, and a metallic taste in the mouth.

What are the causes of burning mouth syndrome?

Though the mechanism for burning mouth syndrome isn’t fully understood, it’s another symptom that can be associated with low oestrogen.

Burning, hotness, and a scalded sensation can be there all the time – or come and go. Others describe a bitter, or metallic taste. Taste may even go. Often symptoms worsen as the day goes on.

Burning mouth isn’t only associated with menopause, though, so if you are experiencing this, it’s worth considering other causes too:

  • Allergies
  • Infections inside the mouth, such as oral thrush
  • Side effects of medication i.e. ACE inhibitors
  • Over brushing teeth
  • Poorly fitting dentures, if worn
  • Acid reflux
  • Thyroid disorder
  • Diabetes
  • Nutritional deficiencies (such as B12)
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Over brushing teeth
  • Neurological damage

How to treat burning mouth syndrome

Well – HRT might help, but studies have been unclear. Drinking more water or sucking ice chips can help, and so can making lifestyle choices like stopping smoking, drinking less acidic drinks, or choosing less acidic or spicy foods.

Like many menopausal symptoms, relaxation and exercise seem to improve things. I know we say this a lot – but stress heightens most things, so learning ways to slow down and calm your body is important.

Seeing a dentist can help – to ensure that your dental health is good. Changing your toothpaste to one that neutralises acid (contains bicarbonate) or is for sensitive teeth may help. Remember that menopause also impacts our mouths by drying them out, and this can lead to gum and tooth problems. Other health issues, such as autoimmune conditions, can also do this and are more common in women.

Conclusion

Burning mouth syndrome is a painful but common menopause symptom. There are a number of things you can do to treat and manage this condition, including lifestyle changes, over-the-counter treatments, and prescription medications. If you are struggling with burning mouth syndrome, talk to your doctor or dentist, or consider a consultation with Spiced Pear Health.

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A note on our language

Throughout this website, we use the term women when describing people who experience hormonal symptoms. However, we acknowledge not only those who identify as women require access to menopause and hormone health information. For example, some trans men, non-binary people, intersex people or people with variations in sex characteristics may also experience menopausal symptoms and PMS/PME or PMDD, and we warmly welcome everyone who needs this support in our clinic.

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