Ear, Nose & Throat Community
Sore and painful tongue. B-12 deficiency? Acid reflux? What could this ...
About This Community:

This patient support community is for discussions relating to ear, nose and throat issues, ear infections, nasal polyps, sore throats, and swollen glands.

Font Size:
Blank Blank

Sore and painful tongue. B-12 deficiency? Acid reflux? What could this be?

Hi there. I have seen three doctors since Aug and I'm still having problems. To start with, I have not drank milk or eaten eggs for many years. The only meat I would eat was chicken or beef. Until about a week ago, I had been a vegetarian for a year and a half.

This all started in June/July. I do have a pale tongue but it isn't smooth, it seems like my taste buds are swollen or infected. My tongue burns and I think it may be enlarged as well but I'm not sure about that.

I have heard clicking in my ears every time I swallow since Aug. Last time I was at the dr, she said I have fluid in my ears.

I am losing more hair than normal, not a terrible amount but 2 or 3 times more than usual.

I have had very disturbed sleep the past few months. Some nights waking up every hour on the hour and some nights unable to get back to sleep. I am usually an insanely heavy sleeper (seriously) but I am finding that I am hearing what people say in person and on the television in my sleep and placing the conversations in my dreams. This happens every night or morning without fail. My family and I have a good laugh about it after I wake but this tells me I'm not sleeping deeply at all.

This problem with my hands has recently ceased but for months I would get tingling sensations in my fingers. I would shake my hands, trying to alleviate the numbness but that never helped. It started very mildly. It didn't happen very often at first but the symptoms escalated until it was occurring several times throughout every day.

Also, I have lost over 10 pounds in just a couple weeks. I noticed the weight loss in August. I have since gained 4 pounds back.

I have been taking a vitamin b-12 supplement because of the non-meat diet, but am now reading these supplements can actually rob the body of b-12.

In case it is related, I have had an overuse of antibiotics. Last doctor I saw gave me medicine for oral thrush, but didn't take a culture and I've read that most cases where thrush is suspected, it isn't actually thrush. However, I do have a yeast infection so maybe it is thrush on my tongue. I've been on an antifungal (nystatin) for 2 weeks with improvement of yellow coating on tongue which returns quickly after stopping treatment and the bumps have not improved at all.

I apologize for the length of this post, I'm just looking for answers. Please do help if you can. Thank you so much.
Related Discussions
7 Comments Post a Comment
Avatar f tn
Your symptoms sound like what I've gone through for the past 2 years. The sore burning tongue, disturbed sleep with strange dreams, tingling in my hands (also pins and needles in my feet). Have you had your B12 and folic acid levels checked? I had mine checked in July and was low on B12 and deficient on folic acid. Ever since, I have been taking supplements (folic acid is a prescription) and have noticed a remarkable improvement. As for the coating on the tongue, that sounds like a yeast infection (thrush). I've had that as well. What I found that works is keeping your tongue clean. Scrape your tongue gently to remove the matter on your tongue. A tongue depresser works well. The nystatin will work if not ask your doctor for Diflucan. It is only one pill and works wonders. Good luck and feel better!
657020 tn?1238041118
Thank you so much for responding! :) I hadn't thoguht about folic acid, but Id id start taking a folic acid supplement (non prescription) about 5 weeks ago.

The tingling in my hands has actually ceased since I started eating meat again. It's amazing because I've had the tingling for many months and it has just been getting worse with time. Nothing seems to stop the tingling sensations. it would come and go without warning and the periods of tingling got worse and lasted longer the more time went by.

I have not had any of my levels checked. My old doctor wouldn't give me any tests or treatment. He just wanted to give me antibiotics. I'm seeing my new doctor next week. She said she thought the bumps were from the thrush. But they haven't gotten any better with treatment. I'm going to ask her about the pill antifungal. It would make much more sense because I seem to have an overall candida problem going on which has resulted from the antibiotics. It's hard getting the body's levels of good bacteria back up after depletion.

I used to always scrape my tongue when brushing my teeth but I can't do that anymore because it irritates the tiny little red bumps on my tongue. Sometimes my tongue is so sore, it hurts to drink water!

Thank you for writing back :) I'm going to ask my new doctor about a prescription for diflucan.
Avatar f tn
I could have written your post. I had no idea what was happening and my doctor would just take guesses. When I asked about my tongue I was told it was an allergy, no solution was attempted. The tingling in my hands and feet progressively got worse. I went to my doctor in June and she gave me an anti-inflammatory. Didn't help. I switched doctors in July, (my new doctor is an angel). She did a slew of tests and that is where the B12 and folic acid fit in.

I can't understand why your doctor gave you an antibiotic. For what? I'm not a doctor but an antibiotic for tingling in your hands? Doesn't make sense.

As for your tongue? Don't use your toothbrush to scrape it. The bristles on the toothbrush make your tongue hurt more. Use something straight with a smooth edge to gently scrape it. Keeping your tongue clean really does work. The Diflucan works too especialy if the candida is throughout your body. It's only one pill and works well however last year I had to take two courses of it.

Good luck with your new doctor and hopefully he/she will listen to you and provide the right treatment. Let me know how you make out! Feel better.

657020 tn?1238041118
I'm so glad you ended up finding someone to help you in finding out what the real problem is. I have been on a three month long internet venture trying to find out what is going on. I am a little sore when it comes to the subject of "doctors." It seems like they never listen. People should not have to self-diagnose. I find I am always having to bring a list with me of conditions with reasons as to why my symptoms fit. My old doctor wouldn't listen to me at AT ALL. I have had nasal problems for 4 years and 1 month. I can hardly breathe out of one nostril. It's extremely uncomfortable, and when I do get sick, I can't breathe out of either nostril and have to sleep sitting up! Anyhow, after many doctor's visits and being told repeatedly I have allergies (have you ever heard of allergies in ONE nostril??), I did online research and decided I had either a sinus infection or a deviated septum. After an xray, my doctor said I have chronic sinusitis and gave me antibiotics to take, antibiotic nasal spray, and steroids. Didn't work. I went back and told him I believe it to be a fungal infection as opposed to bacterial, but he brushed this off and gave me more antibiotics. I knew they wouldn't work, but I took them just so I could say "Ok, I tried it your way, can we try mine??" BAD idea. I now have an overall candida infection and am doing everything to fix the problem. As for the tingling in my hands, he told me it was from "tension." Now you can see my problem with doctors lol.

I have an appointment with my new doctor tomorrow. I won't be able to have levels checked but will ask about diflucan for sure. They put me on some low income program so I'm not able to get certain things done. I applied for regular health insurance that I would pay for but unfortunately was denied because of an unrelated medical condition (cervical cell dysplasia). So I am having to go the medi-cal route, which is a bummer. I was hoping to finally be able to get a good doctor who would listen to my concerns, and not have to wait so long for appointments and referrals as well. But maybe they will let me continue seeing this new doctor.

My tongue looks so much better since the last course of nystatin, but still isn't fully cured. My sleep is getting a lot better too. I slept through the whole night last night. Maybe it will just take a while to get my levels up from eating meat again. I read that people who are b-12 deficient need only to begin eating meat again to take care of the problem, as opposed to b-12 shots or supplements. I suspect I have acid reflux in addition to a b-12 deficiency, and the bumps have actually gotten a lot better since I started chewing antacids regularly. I'll find out tomorrow if I do have acid reflux and she should be able to give me something for it. I can still see the bumps but they seem less "angry looking" and they also seem fewer. In addition, the pain in my mouth has decreased to a great extent! I find a good majority of my sense of taste has returned as well! I'm unsure if it is because of the nystatin treatment, the meat eating, or the antacids.  

Out of curiosity, what symptoms of folic acid deficiency did you experience? I haven't actually looked into folic acid deficiency symptoms as of yet.

Thanks for listening to my rant :) I'm sorry you have had to do this for TWO years!! I've only been doing it for three months and I'd get so frustrated and depressed not feeling well and having no answers as to why.
Avatar f tn
I am amazed how everything you are experiencing I have experienced myself. The tingling in my hands started around March. Then the pins and needles in my feet thereafter. When I finally changed doctors is when my hands hurt me so bad and there was no resolution. My tongue hurt me, was cracked, and raw. My doctor said allergies but dismissed it as nothing. My fingernails also have no moons and where the moons are supposed to be, they were blue. My doctor immediately said 'Reynauds phenomenon". Again, dismissed. My chiropractor is the one who thought it was related to B12. He even mentioned this to my doctor but it was dismissed. When my primary doctor blew me off I decided to find one who would help me.

In February I saw a gastroenterologist because I was having problems swallowing and a pressure sensation in my chest.After an endoscopy I was diagnosed with a hiatal hernia, gastritis and esophogitis. I was put on Prevacid twice a day. In July he added hyoscyamine. The folic acid and B12 could be related to my stonach problems but my doctor has not found a cause.

Even though I could be exhausted I don't fall asleep at night. I also had restless legs which drove me insane. I now take meds for both.

Now for the sinuses. I have been battling a sinus/ear infection for well over a month now. It was so bad that my doctor treated me in her office with IV antibiotics for 4 days, I was put on another antibiotic which I took for 3 days, had to go back to my doctor who continued with the IV antibiotics for another 5 days, then another course of antibiotics for 10 more days. I was also given a nose spray. When I went back to my doctor the second time she scheduled an appt for an ENT doctor that afternoon. He said I had a fungal infection in my ear, cleaned it out and gave me ear drops. I also had a perforated ear drum. There was also fluid behind my eardrum. All of this was caused by the sinus infection. I have a ct scan for my sinuses scheduled for tomorrow and another appt with the ENT next week. Oh by the way, my sinus infection is on one side of my face and he said it could have been triggered by allergies.

Since I have been taking the folic acid (presciption) and B12 the tingling, pins and needles and pain in my hands have stopped. The blue fingernails still occur but not as frequent. My tongue does not hurt any more either.

So as you can see there are quite a few simularities between your symptoms and mine. Your tongue could be related to either a vitamin deficiency or the reflux. They could both be related as I suspect mine is.

I hope you made out well with your new doctor and that he will really help you unlike your previous doctor. It can get frustrating when you know something is not right and there are no answers, only guess work. I'm sure it is frustrating not to be able to get the health care needed because of limited insurance. I couldn't imagine having limited coverage and not being able to select the doctor I want to go to. I am fortunate to have excellent medical coverage. It's expensive but well worth it.

Please keep me updated on how you make out. I hope you continue to feel better!

5746060 tn?1373490353
Hi there. My name is Simoné I am 20 years old I have been having trouble with my tongue its really starting to worry me,its very,very sore and very raw I struggle to eat anything and anything hot to drink also hurts me a lot what could this be? As I sayed its very raw and red and it burnes so bad :( and can you also please tell me what are the signs of cancer? Thank you hope its nothing bad.
Avatar f tn
Oh you all 3 going through the same thing that I am...I just turned 49 yrs old and just blame everything on hormones. But, my tongue has been hurting for a long time, hair recently started falling out really badly and hands have tingled for a while especially in the middle of the night or when I wake up in the morning. I was also recently put on a perscription of prilosec OTC which you can get over the counter.  I  started taking B12 complex on Mon. . I am hoping that helps. My tongue is so painful. I am going to start taking folic acid. I am always deficient on Vit D and iron.

I am frustrated!!!
Post a Comment
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
Ear, Nose & Throat Community Resources
Top Ear, Nose, Throat Answerers
209987 tn?1451939065
1340994 tn?1374197577
Raleigh, NC
612551 tn?1450025775
Avatar m tn
Palm Coast, FL