Hannah hasn’t been well over the past few days, on Saturday, just before we went out to a 30th birthday party, she threw up. Again on Sunday morning and then she just stopped eating. I noticed some odd lesions on her tongue on Sunday and after taking to Dr Google, as you do, for once Dr Google gave me an answer that didn’t convince me that she was infected with some rare, contagious tropical disease – geographic tongue!
When Hannah still wouldn’t eat on Monday and complaining that her tongue was sore, we headed off to our Dr, where he diagnosed her with tonsillitis and what Dr Google had diagnosed – geographic tongue.
I was relieved to discover that geographic tongue is not contagious, it occurs when the layers of the tongue are missing papillea, giving it a map like appearance that can vary in size and shape. Hannah has it currently on the one side of her tongue and it is completely benign and the most common cause/link is genetic. It’s more common in women than in men and usually only seen in middle aged people. It is also common for geographic tongue to accompany psoriasis or a fissured tongue.
What surprised me the most is that it has no cure and while it will come and go and in varying degrees, it will be something Hannah will have on and off for the remainder of her life. I’m burning to know if it’s something that either of her birth parents have as it’s most commonly caused by genetics or a Vitamin B6 deficiency, which she definitely doesn’t have.
Only the symptoms can be treated with over the counter pain killers and anti-inflammatories, antiseptic mouth washes and zinc supplements. Also hot, spicy foods should be avoided while having a flare up and I felt awful when I read that after encouraging Hannah to eat bobotie on Sunday which she complained about the entire time.
Apparently only 1 to 3 percent of the population will battle with geographic tongue (lucky Hannah) and of those, only 1 in 10 will suffer with pain or discomfort. Now we just need to establish if the reason for her not eating over the last few days is from a sore tongue or from the tonsillitis she’s struggling with!
I will say this… during my research into Hannah’s bizarre tongue affliction, I came to one conclusion…. tongues are UGLY!