Hunting the mysterious origins of geographic tongue

by guest blogger Kara

My experiences with geographic tongue (GT) started about ten years ago. GT is an unpleasant condition where patches of papillae are missing from the surface of the tongue and appear as smooth, red areas with slightly raised borders. The patterns of the lesions can change daily or hourly. It’s considered benign, but it can be painful, especially when eating acidic or abrasive foods, and is very unattractive. Because my GT makes me feel like my mouth is dirty all the time and that I have bad breath, I generally open my mouth less, am always covering my mouth or restricting myself when I laugh, and feel embarrassed to kiss my husband.

There seems to be no definitive understanding of what causes GT. When I ask doctors about it they don’t seem to take it seriously, so I’ve been doing research on my own. I’ve gathered bits and pieces of information from the internet and conversations with others and from monitoring my own condition. I have three theories as to the cause: 1) allergies, 2) vitamin B12 and/or zinc deficiency, or 3) post-nasal drip in general, either allergy related or caused by colds.

I developed GT in my early 30s, around the time I started developing my first allergies. We were living in an apartment in New York City that was situated right next to a garbage chute and had a bad roach problem. My husband was able to fill a small snack-bag with the roaches he had sprayed and killed. (He brought the bag down to the super, demanding they bring in an exterminator). Interestingly, my youngest daughter, who was about two, developed GT at the same exact time that I did. She also had dry patches of skin behind her knees and the inside of her elbows. I vaguely recall her doctor saying it was a form of eczema and that it was allergy related, but I can’t recall for sure. I once read somewhere that GT is similar to eczema in the way it manifests itself in changing patterns.

The coincidental timing of my GT and allergy onset and that of my daughter’s led me to believe that GT is an allergy symptom -– specifically, allergies which cause sinus congestion and post-nasal drip. I became further convinced of this when I came down with a bad sinus infection and my doctor prescribed antibiotics and Zyrtec. After taking these medications for a couple of days, I felt complete relief from my GT symptoms for the first time.

As the years progressed, however, my allergies worsened, and the Zyrtec did not seem to have the same effect. I eventually developed allergy-induced asthma and went to an allergist who told me that I have allergies to dust, roaches, cats and mold. I started going to her on a weekly basis and have been going to her for the past three years or so. My asthma is now under control, and I generally suffer less from my allergies. The geographic tongue improved noticeably with the allergy treatments, but did not resolve completely.

Because another woman I know with GT is also a vegetarian like me, I started wondering if the cause could be a vitamin B12 and/or zinc deficiency, developed as a result of my vegetarianism. My thinking was that the deficiencies were causing an imbalance in my immune system, but I’m not sure. I take B12 regularly now, but I don’t see any clear improvement. My next experiment will be to try taking zinc lozenges in addition to the B12, to test whether zinc might play a part in this.

When I get a sinus infection or regular cold that results in post-nasal drip, the GT comes back with a vengeance. This makes me wonder if it’s related not to allergies but to sinus issues in general. I don’t know. Do bacteria drip down my throat from my sinuses and trigger the GT?

My daughter’s GT seems to have gone almost completely away. Her tongue is as smooth and healthy as a baby’s, which I am thrilled about. She still does have occasional flare-ups of eczema, but I haven’t been taking note of whether her GT comes back during these times or not.

NOTE REGARDING THE COMMENTS:
Kara is the post author, but is no longer able to respond to comments herself. I (Marjorie) have been responding in her stead. I am NOT the post author. Apologies for the confusion.

51 thoughts on “Hunting the mysterious origins of geographic tongue

  • Tina

    I have posted before, but get the notifications when someone else posts to the thread. I am struck by how many – if not most – of you had an onset of GT at a certain time in life and connected to a particular event. Or that it “comes and goes.”

    I have always been told by doctors and dentists that some people just have GT and that it isn’t so much a condition like a rash, but more like a characteristic like freckles. That is certainly true for me – it is just something I’ve always had and is completely benign.

    So, I guess I have learned a different view on GT reading all of these comments. Maybe I have a completely different condition or maybe there are different types of GT?

  • Margaret

    I am 46. I have had GT for years – at least since my late teens.
    I’ve always been curious what causes it. Mine usually doesn’t hurt; it just looks bad. However, if it does hurt, I’ve found that Gly-Oxide (Carbamide Peroxide ) works wonders for helping it to heal. So, you may want to try that.
    I’ve had thrush on my tongue before. That HURTS. It mimics GT a bit, because the taste buds will disapear around the cuts on your tongue. This happened to me after being on antibiotics for too long and generally being sick. Clearing up the yeast infection is key when that happens.

    I came to this page today, because I have a huge patch on my tongue now; but I haven’t had this for a while. I was curious if it was related to b12 deficiency. I am low in b12, but I have been taking supplements for a month, and I just got my first b12 shot last week. So, maybe it is triggered by b12 fluctuations?? I’m not sure.

    • Marjorie

      Margaret: I can only offer this: If the thrush returned after you started B12, perhaps it is due to a deficiency in whatever the B12 is competing with? Acu-cell dot com has information about nutrient antagonists. Also, if you haven’t already read it, Could It Be B12? explains which B12 preparations are most effective (methylcobalamin) and which less so (cyanocobalamin). Not covered by the book is a protocol of some B12 users which says that three different forms need to be used, at different stages of recovering from B12 deficiency: adenosylcobalamin, hydroxocobalamin, and methylcobalamin.

    • Margaret

      Thanks for the additional info. I have heard of that book, but not read it yet. I guess I should!
      Do you know where I can find the protocol for the different b12 forms when recovering from b12 deficiency? I have just asked the doctor what form I received.

    • Marjorie

      Please note this protocol is unrecognized by any mainstream doctor. I came across it about seven years ago on a discussion forum for chronically ill, undiagnosed people (wrongdiagnosis.com, now defunct), and it has since spread across the internet, especially among chronic fatigue forums. It was presented by a person with the username Freddd — thus “Freddd protocol” — who recovered phenomenally after years of being almost bedridden. A couple of the CFS patients have summarized it in pdfs available on these links:
      http://forums.phoenixrising.me/index.php?entries/a-guide-to-freddds-protocol.1618/
      and this one (which is also linked on that first link)
      http://forums.phoenixrising.me/index.php?entries/my-understanding-of-freddds-protocol.1697/

      The archive of that original wrongdiagnosis.com discussion thread, which had the title “Vitamin B12 deficiency is commonly misdiagnosed”, can theoretically be found at the links below, but I cannot find a way to search those discussions by user name. Perhaps you can if you register on the site.
      http://www.ourhealth.com/showthread.php/62327-Active-B12-Basics
      and
      http://www.ourhealth.com/showthread.php/9948-Vitamin-B12-deficiency-is-commonly-misdiagnosed

    • Marjorie

      I forgot to mention that several years ago I developed a painful tongue thing due to the sorbitol in a GABA sublingual supplement. A lot of B12 formulations also use it and I had to search a bit for one without it. I settled on Natural Factors’ methylcobalamin. The weird thing is I had taken that GABA supplement for 18 months before I developed a reaction to it.

  • William

    Hey I too have been suffering with GT mine started after I had my tonsils out. Two weeks after I had my tonsils out I had a major bleed from so I was rushed back in hospital for a emergency operation I was injected with tons off antibiotics once i was better I started getting GT. I do believe antibiotics have caused major imbalance in stomach bacteria for two years before the operation I was constantly on antibiotics for tonsillitis.

    6 years now IV been battling with it I use aloedent toothpaste and mouthwash to sooth the pain and it seems to speed the healing process up. I really hope they find the cure.

    Excuse my grammar I hope soon we all will have the answers

    • Ken

      Has anyone tried the ahcc supplement? It boosts the immune system and I’m curious if it would help. It’s expensive but I see it’s being used in clinical trials for a different issue.

    • Marjorie

      Ken: I have not heard of it. If you haven’t already, you might look at iherb dot com and Amazon reviews for those products.

  • Kenneth

    I didn’t get geographic tongue but I ended up burning tongue. My daughter ended up with geographic tongue maybe a year or so after my symptoms started. I always had a fleshy colored tongue. Then the whitish color started appearing and the red tongue tip. Finally it developed into my tongue being on fire. Anyway, the burning stopped some months afterwards but my tongue still has the whitish color with red spots and is always puffier than the old normal. My daughters symptoms still continue with the random patterned tongue.

    I personally believe what caused both of ours was a fungus. We were outside and hit this bracket fungus growing on this tree thinking it would be solid but it wasn’t. Spores went everywhere. It shocked me and I inhaled a lot of it. My daughter didn’t think she breathed any of it in. Anyway, my symptoms started about 3 months after this. My daughter about a year to year and a half after (less exposure is my theory). Now my crazy idea…the spores are somehow in the mucus lining of our mouths and the fungus is excreting a toxin that we are allergic/reacting to. Crazy huh?

    I’ve had a normal looking tongue twice since then. Once using the Atkins induction diet for 3 weeks and the other time using Peridex. Peridex is a prescription oral rinse that I was applying to my tongue with a tongue scrapper. Using the Peridex it took about a month for my tongue to look “normal” again.

    I believe the fungus (fyi: mold is a fungus) is feeding of the sugars we consume. I know if I eat a lot of sweets or ice cream my symptoms are worse. Remember, ice cream has a lot of sugar in it!

    • Marjorie

      Scary, but makes sense. My understanding of mold poisoning is that you don’t even have to inhale the mold/fungus itself for the mycotoxins to enter your body and wreak havoc. The toxins will screw up your innards until you remove them with binders or sweat them out.

  • Allison

    I have had GT for years now-but it’s not white but gets raised circular type sores with the red edges and in spots I’m getting fissures. I have constant post nasal drip, always get a sinus infection after a cold and my gut is never ever happy. After eating certain foods, especially salted, or spaghetti sauce I’m in terrible pain. It’s constant though-nothing seems to help. I’m just dying to know what to do.

    • Marilyn

      I have had gt since August/2017 and saw a tongue specialist in the Niagara Region. He said that a steroid with some sort of sticky cream would help but it heals ok and then shows up some where else on the tongue. It is very painful.

  • Dave

    Thanks for the article and many comments. I too have GT and I am happy to knowi am not the only one to suffer with this. I am not sure about the connection between allergy and GT but I developed GT around October last year and I had been suffering from allergic sinusitis from July last year.i do had b12 deficiency. I had been treated for b12 with sublingual tablets. Currently my GT is there and I do feel little better when I take multivitamin with b12.

  • Adam

    I wanted to follow up on the Zantac idea.

    I got GT after a course of antibiotics when I was 30, which was about a year ago. The only time it has really fully gone away was when I had a stomach issue and was taking a lot of chewable pepto bismol. I have since tried to gargle and rinse with the liquid version, but it seems to make no difference.

    So either it was
    1. A coincidence
    2. Related to something in the chewables that is not in the liquid version
    3. Related to changes that actually swallowing it made to my stomach
    4. Related to the temporarily stomach illness itself.

  • Kianna

    I have had geographic tongue my entire life. I am 30 and have recently found out that I am gluten intolerant. I have a severe vitamin b12 deficiency that has caused peripheral neuropathy in my legs. The only thing that has eradicated my geographic tongue is taking l-glutamine and probiotics or sauerkraut. I believe my geographic tongue is due to an imbalance in gut bacteria that may have been caused by eating gluten. The only time I get patches is by eating gluten or night shades. The l-glutamine powder and probiotics usually take a week and a half to fully clear my tongue. Hope this helps someone.

    • Tafa

      I’ve had GT since I was a child, and found out a year ago that I have Celiac disease. I’ve been doing the AIP diet with low FODMAPS to control my symptoms, with great success. Anyway, at the moment I am pregnant and eating FODMAPS in abundance as I tolerate them better now. And… am experiencing a big GT flare, as well as some stomach upset. So perhaps GT is linked to gut flora? Also, I’ve been taking an iron sup, which apparently can cause unhelpful gut flora to thrive. Although I have heard of links to hormones, and rhinitis as well. Oil pulling has helped me a lot to relieve the pain – but I don’t think it is a cure.

  • Vivien

    I have had geographic tongue for years. I agree with a previous poster red wine really irritates my tongue. I have been taking a b vitamin multitablet and it helps the condition a lot. I have exclude all wheat from my diet with zero change in my tongue. I dont have allergies or sinus issues or eczema etc. So for me I really think its one of the b vitamins. Will be looking up that info about vitamin b2 (riboflavin) as my sister is studying naturopathy Nd she asked me if I had been tested for b2. I said only for b9 and b12 (which were both fine).

  • james

    Kara, thank you. I have been so frustrated with my GT, but I’ve been even more frustrated with every medical professional I’ve seen. Like another poster, I have seen my GP, Dentist, Oral Surgeon, and ENT. They have all been dismissive of the condition. Mine HURTS when it flares up. And that pain muddys my speech. And speech affects pretty much every interaction I have. Including simple stuff like just reading a book to my kids. The only time we’re going to see any research done on this is if a doctor gets it. They’ve been taught to be dismissive, and can’t be bothered to humor their obviously hysterical patients.

  • Nigel

    I have just got geographic tongue again after a long break from it. I have been on a diet almost completely excluding dairy and flour products and the geographic tongue mostly went away. It would come back slightly if my diet slipped when i had the occadional dairy or flour products. Yesterday it came back and I had started eating bread, yogurt and drinking milk in the last few days, thinking that I may now be able to reintroduce these foods to my diet. I believe it is allergy related, at the same time I get sinus and a muddy head like a mild headache and problems with my left ear. My gut has always been sensitive and I it is much better and my health in general is much better without flour or dairy. Also I know probiotics are supposed to be good for your gut but i feel with my weak gut that probiotic yogurt causes further imbalance in my gut flora and therefore allergy problems as well. The geographic tongue started a few years ago as my allergies got much worse with age. I definitely think it can be diet related and recommend to try removing processed foods and switch to whole foods.

    • Marjorie

      I’m the same way with probiotics and yogurt, too, separately or together. Have you tried Siliphos? I forget the generic name for it but it is an over-the-counter — well, over-the-internet-counter, anyway — liver cleaner. I mention it because it seems to vacuum out my sinuses when I use it.

  • Peter

    Found my way to this page by searching for Post Nasal Drip and Geographic Tongue, as I do have GT and suspect I may have PND too.
    I can only say like of the other commenters above that your experience mirrors mine to an absurd degree.
    I more or less have GT constantly and when it is located on the tip of my tounge (which has a sort of split on it) it becomes itchy and sore. The red patches on top do not bother me except esthetically.
    I too first noticed the GT when I turned 31 and, just like in your case, my daughter got GT too when she was around two. She does not seem to be bothered by it at all, but she is bothered by eczema.
    At the same time I started noticing dry patches of itchy skin on my left shin and just above my groin, also on the left side.
    I get light colds all the time and this usually results in Post Nasal Drip and as soon as autumn rolls in I get a chronic cough, hampering me from running like I usually do.
    I have done some allergy tests but the doctors did not find anything, and I’ve tried b12 without result. I am not a vegetarian and should have no problems with this as far as I can tell. I will try Zink and see it it helps any.
    I also eat a lot of yoghurt. A large bowl every morning for breakfast. Maybe I should cut down on it and switch to oatmeal as it is the only dairy I usually consume. The only thing I’ve found that definitely aggravates the GT is red wine.
    I guess I’ll have to see a doctor about a deeper allergy evaluation and see if anything turns up there.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Tina

    I am 49 and I’ve had geographic tongue my entire life. It doesn’t cause me to have bad breath and, I guess since I have always had it, I have never been self-conscious about it. It’s just how my tongue is. Although I haven’t had problems with allergies in over 20 years, I suffered from terrible allergies as a child. I was allergic to everything they tested me for and they tested over 80 allergens on me when I was 10. I took shots for allergies for 10 years (only quit because I went on a 6 month backpacking trip).

    Occasionally, certain foods will irritate my tongue and cause it to swell slightly and tingle, but, in general, my geographic tongue is unremarkable but for its appearance.

    • Tina

      I should add that my geographic tongue does not “come and go,” although the pattern changes constantly. I have had a patterned tongue every day of my life.

  • Janet

    I have a 4 year old with geographic tongue. Oral surgeon recently suggested that because he has asthma and uses a preventer, next time he has an onset of GT to use his preventer inhaler, Flixotide Jnr and spray his tongue. Apparently it is a corticosteroid and so similarly to applying cortisone to a rash on the skin, there is some research to suggest it can resolve symptoms of GT. Right now my son does not have GT so I have not been able to test this but I realised that he also has not had a bad case of GT since prior to being diagnosed with asthma and using the preventer daily. Im posting this as it may help others.

  • Dave

    Hey guys, I started getting geographic tongue a couple of months ago. I am a singer, so my mouth is something people tend to look at a fair bit. I also have had eczema on my scalp for the last 3 years or so which I hold back and treat with Nizoral. I am convinced it is the high level of mould particles in my apartment that triggered this. There is mould everywhere you look, on the ceiling, corners of walls – it gets into everything. It gives me a sore throat too and also a bad taste in my mouth, which is usually the sign I will get geographic tongue. After a few days of being clear, it comes back.

    While I tackle the mould by replacing ceilings and adding ventilation points, I plan to get an HEPA air filter to reduce allergens / mould in the air which should also help stop the mould spreading more around my home. When I take a video on my phone with a flash I can see a high concentration of particles of one sort or another floating around while viewing the screen. So I am certain this will help. At work my office is air-conditioned / filtered and I instantly start feeling better there. At home I sometimes suffer from days of sneezing fits and runny eyes from dust and mould. I also developed asthma about 20 years ago while living in a dirty/dusty bedsit.

    My girlfriend recently started getting eczema on her skin , I am convinced mould is causing all of this. Although I went abroad recently where it was fresh and dry , clean tiled floors and walls but I started getting GT there too… so who knows…

    One thing for sure, the lack of research is shocking! I would volunteer myself to be researched on but I can’t even find anyone studying it!

    Dave.

    • Marjorie

      Have you read Ritchie Shoemaker’s books? I’ve been investigating the mold angle myself for 6 months now and there are all sorts of illnesses associated with it. I finally just moved out of my apt. There is a free pdf on avoiding mold at http://paradigmchange.me/. And a few more links on the right hand side of this site: http://biotoxinjourney.com/.

  • P. Floyd

    My issues with GT appear within days after eating products with gluten, eggs, and dairy. The GT comes with a mild ear ache and sore throat, and dry patches of skin around the nose and beard area. Luckily it goes away completely within 1 to 2 weeks. I have not seen an allergist but I find that I do not have the problem as long as I restrict these products. (trust me… it is a challenge) I have not considered any deficiencies, as I eat a fairly balanced diet, including plenty of poultry and fish, but no red meat. I take Zantac occasionally for an upset stomach, but I do not have any other GI issues.

  • marti

    I have had GT for many years, and for a long time almost every day. Then as a result of an iron deficiency, I was put on iron (slo FE over the counter time release iron sold at Walmart, target etc… ) and vitamn D. Amazingly the GT went away and would only come with cold or virus(vs all the time and every day)… so essentially it is an autoimmune disease caused by vitamin deficiency or illness, basically anything that triggers your immune system to react. If I stopped taking iron and vitamin , the GT came back everytime… so I recommend trying it… its over the counter, and made a big difference for me.

  • JM

    Just wanted to express my empathy with anybody suffering with GT. I was diagnosed four years ago with a major flare up – my mouth was sore and dry for a month! Nothing for nearly four years and this year have had two big flare ups within several weeks of each other. The thing that bothers me the most is the constant soreness (like my mouth is burning) and the complete lack of research that is being done to investigate this frustrating condition. I take great comfort in the fact that no matter how annoying and horrible it is, it is thankfully benign. Have spoken to my GP but get very little help. Was prescribed Betamethasone but has had little effect so far. I asked recently whether I should be referred to a specialist and the GP says they do not refer for such conditions. Asked if there was anything they could offer for pain reflief and all they suggested was Bonjela. For me it just goes randomly but in the meantime I get very low with it. Hope more research is undertaken soon and that a way to relieve the symptoms, if not a cause and cure, are found.

  • Victoria

    I have had GT since I was very young and I am now 38. It used to only flare up occasionally but lately it has been more than twice a week. It gets really painful and my tongue gets the scalloped edges. I am so frustrated that there has never been any real research into this disorder. Someday I hope someone gets answers. As for my situation….. I have been to allergist (ruled out the cause of GT)….I don’t get post nasal drip…..I might have a vitamin deficiency. My med details (in hopes they match someone else)

    -Had graves disease and was treated with radioactive iodine and now hypothyroid. But my levels have been stable for over 10 years
    -Had endometriosis- just had a hysterectomy (kept ovaries)
    -Have premature ovarian failure
    -Just recently I have been getting joint pain and feeling like I have the flu for a few days and then get better.

    • Marjorie

      Victoria: I don’t have geographic tongue like Kara (the author) but I do regularly get a painful tongue that is so bad I don’t want to leave the house. 500 mg of niacin makes it go away. It might be that less works, too. Maybe it’s worth a try. I use regular niacin from the drug store, the kind that makes you flush.

  • holly

    Research the genetic test MTHFR – the defect is a methylation problem and your body does not absorb the b vitamins or folate efficiently. One must buy methyl b vitamins and methyl folate. This deficiency is believed to have the symptom of a geographic tongue. I am a dental hygienist and have waited 25 yrs. in finding a link that would be a better answer than cause unknown. Do the research… a few great doctors cover this material. Thanks to them for posting their findings on line, for the rest of us to learn.

  • applewine

    I forgot to mention. I also suspect post nasal drip could be the cause or part of the cause, but am not sure. I stick my tongue in my nasal cavity often to see if there is a little mucous as a habit. It is great for keeping my tonsils clean though, but I probably shouldn’t be putting it in my nasal cavity when I’m not sick and don’t need to. Sometimes I’ll spit a little mucous out and it will be a tiny bit yellow when i feel fine. I may have been sick with a cold the first few times I noticed the geographic tongue, but I’m not sure. I don’t consider myself to have post nasal drip though, so it is the sticking of my tongue in my nasal cavity which is similar to if a person had post nasal drip.

  • applewine

    I have geographic tongue too. It comes and goes. I’m not sure when I had it for sure. I noticed it around the same time I started getting eczema around late 20’s. One thing that happened around that time that I wish I didn’t do is I took a lot of antibiotics and have since learned they can effect the micro biome and immune system. I was having muscle pain issues and got referred to a doctor who used a fake test that said I had lyme disease. He said I had to take 4 different antibiotics for a minimum of 2 years. I took it 6 monthly skeptically and after learning more on my own decided he was crazy. I took azithromycin, bactrim, refampin and minocycline. I also developed petechia spots on a few plants around my body and they won’t go away and also developed neurological symptoms that feel like cold water, burning or itching all over my body. They have continued for years. The antibiotics caused capillaries to break and they stay and look like red paint flakes. I still have the muscle pain and maybe an altered immune system and a few new conditions and a wallet a few thousands dollars lighter.

  • lych

    I’ve had the condition for more than 15 years and suffice to say, I haven’t come across anything that makes it go away forever; it’s something that has to be managed, like one would manage a healthy diet or workout schedule.

    I do have a dust and termite allergy, so possibly it has something to do with that. Eating highly acidic, starchy, fatty, salty, sugary foods (eg tomatoes, eggplants, potatoes, pineapples, mayonnaise, certain types of salad dressing, ) aggravates the soreness without fail every time. On the other hand, leafy greens don’t do any harm. Reducing junk food and dessert intake seems to be the only way to minimise its harm.

  • Kristina

    I have suffered this since roughly 4 1/2 years ago. I had biopsies and seen every dr from dentist, oral surgeon, dermatologist to ENT and gastro Dr. Even my GYN I have had so many test. Every Dr just shrugs there shoulders. They mentioned lupus I had a positive ANA and yet the Rheumatologist said no lupus. Yet I believe it is geographic tounge it is identical to all the pictures, but I do get some on the underside of my tounge. Mine is painful with certain foods. I have tried every vitamin and supplement possible in the past 4 years, I’ve been treated for thrush just incase but nothing helps. I am stressed because of it, and the pain. I’m thinking food allergy, but not sure what. Other than sugars and dairy. Possibly gluten. I tried eating just Atkins diet for two weeks and I did clear up a bit but not completely. A clean mouth is better, but sometimes it’s painful to brush but I have to. I now use bakingsoda and salt with coconut oil and a tiny bit of peroxide to brush my teeth I’m done with the toothpaste. Plus my mouth feels cleaner. I’ve tried oil pulling and that cleared it up but a couple tiny ones but then it came back. If anyone has any other food allergies or thoughts please share. Hope you all are well!

    • Kara

      Hi Kristina, that’s very interesting about the oil pulls. I have actually started oil pulling myself and like the results. I can’t say that it’s made a difference with my GT, but it strangely makes my mouth feel clean and my teeth smooth and shiny. I will try to oil pull more often.
      Kara

  • Marjorie

    FYI, as I was researching riboflavin (vitamin B2), I found the info below. I use B2 for non-GT reasons. Normal riboflavin doesn’t do much for me, but riboflavin 5′ phosphate does. You have to order away for it.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=Whu_zOWPaTQC&pg=PA286&lpg=PA286&dq=By+Gerald+F.+Combs,+Jr.,+riboflavin+geographical+tongue&source=bl&ots=pTwYsAa3Zv&sig=docffBuDV4An0ymu_y4tWoLlKEg&hl=en&sa=X&ei=EAykT_rMCYqC8ASlu-yDCQ&ved=0CF4Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false

  • chris

    I have GT for many years now and am allergic to cats, dogs, pollen, and lots of plants. I also don’t eat so great I tend to eat a diet high in sugar, starches, and flower. hope we all find an answer I’m afraid people may have already or will judge me saying I have herpes/hiv/aids

  • Val

    I developed GT 5 years ago when I turned 40 along with allergies. I have not tried Zantac but I will. The only thing that works for me is 500 mg. of Clarrithromycin twice a day with food and sure enough in 2 days it goes away. I only resort to taking it when my tongue is so painful that I can’t stand it anymore. If you ever try this please let me know.

  • Mr Anonymous

    Oh my goodness, you and I, going through exactly the same thing. I’m in my early 30’s, just moved to a new city, and within a few months I started experiencing geographic tongue. I have had it for over a year now and nothing makes it go away. I too tried B12 supplements, zinc supplements and tablets, I tried brushing my tongue, nothing worked. The only clue I ever found was after taking some Zantac, the day after I started taking it my geographic tongue was 100% gone! I was so excited, it remained gone for a few days, then 3 days later it came back with a vengeance. I’m convinced it has something to do with my digestive system and potentially my post nasal drip. Whenever I mention it to my doctor, he also brushes it off as nothing. If you ever find any way to resolve it, please do share it here, I would be very curious to know. It makes my tongue look grotesque and terrifies my wife, wish it would disappear…

    • Kara

      Hi Mr. Anonymous, Sorry for the delayed response. Please tell your wife not to be terrified –I’ve been kissing my husband for a long time now, and no harm has come to him. Tell her to think of your GT as if it were any other allergic reaction, such as a stuffy nose. I clearly don’t have the answer to solving GT, but my suggestions to you would be: a) go to a doctor and have your B12 and Zinc levels checked (when I requested a Zinc level check for the first time, my doctor didn’t even know if one existed, but it does!); b) go to an allergist and get tested for allergies (including mold); and c) if you can tolerate milk and are not vegan, try incoporating plain yoghurt into your diet. My understanding is that many people who have never had allergies before in their life develop allergies for the first time in their early 30s. Maybe allergies are being brought on by a B12 deficiency, and B12 works in conjunction with Zinc, which is an important component of our immune system, and allergies are resulting from your immune system going awry. I suggest yoghurt because it is both a good source of B12 and contains probiotics, which promote the growth of good bacteria in our intestines (many people are not aware that much of our immune fighting takes place in the intestines). Having said all that, please keep in mind that I do not have any medical training whatsoever and that you should use your judgement and the advice of your doctors to treat yourself.

      I thought your experience with Zantac was very interesting. I looked up Zantac and found that in addition to treating acid reflux, it is also used to treat hives and other allergic reactions. One person specifically mentioned a mold allergy, which is one of my worst allergies. So very interesting, thank you for sharing this. If I can think of anything else or learn anything new, I will post it here. Thanks, Kara

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