Herpes on Your Tongue
Do you suspect herpes on your tongue? Read on to find out if you have the same signs and symptoms!
Some people experience a sore or a bump on their tongues from
time to time, which can probably give some annoyance, discomfort, difficulty in
eating, and even pain. Some may even go as far as taking a few antibiotics to
try and eradicate the sores to no avail, all the while worrying if the sores
will ever go away.
Thankfully, these sores, while not completely common, can be
treated. You need not worry your head to
days on end because, it will eventually go away.
Herpes on your tongue is somewhat a rare occurrence, especially on
an otherwise healthy adult. The same virus responsible for lip herpes causes
it, and almost always only occurs as sequelae to the latter. This however,
should not keep you from doing things you like and living your life to the
By the end of this article, you should be able to know how the
infection is transmitted, how you can prevent recurrences, and how to deal with the
Herpes on your Tongue: What does this mean exactly?
Herpes on your tongue is just that: herpes. It is just one of the
many forms of oral herpes caused by HSV-1.
The only difference here is that it
manifests on your tongue rather than on the lip area.
And like the other forms
of herpes infection, it will only last about 10 days or so before resolving
Like all the herpes infections (be it caused by HSV-1 or HSV-2), you
are bound to have at the very least, one recurrence per year, especially at the early years of your herpes diagnosis.
Herpes on your tongue (image from: dermis.net)
What causes the infection?
Herpes on your tongue is primarily caused by HSV-1 (sometimes even HSV-2),
which is a DNA virus that primarily infects humans, and causes sores or watery
blisters in either the skin or the mucus membranes found in the oral cavity.
studies have supported the theory that this virus is spread through direct
contact with an infected person during their ‘shedding’ period, or through use
of a personal item owned by a virus carrier.
What other signs and
symptoms should I look out for?
Other signs and symptoms associated with herpes on your tongue are only a
few. In fact, the infection usually manifests as asymptomatic, and when there
are symptoms, they usually only last for a few days.
The telltale sign you
should look for in herpes tongue is the presence of a sore on the tongue area,
although not all tongue sores must be considered as herpes.
Other symptoms of herpes on your tongue are:
- Fever. Like many infections, herpes
tongue causes your body to react by increasing its temperature above the normal
range in an attempt to maintain normal body functions and indicate that you
have an infection.
- Malaise. Malaise is the first and
foremost sign of an active infection and is the general feeling of discomfort
- Muscle Pain (Myalgia). Although this
sign is not seen in the general population of herpes carriers, it can still
manifest especially in individuals suffering from high cholesterol, depression,
osteoporosis, multiple sclerosis, and depression. This occurrence is also true
for individuals taking drugs such as aspirin, Zocor, Crestor, Lipitor, and
- Itching and Burning (especially on the tongue). This most often occurs even before the appearance of sores on the
infected site, preceding a cluster of blisters, which would eventually break
down and be seen as shallow, gray ulceration on a red base. These ulcerations
will then scab and become drier, changing its color to yellow.
- Sores. Sores are primarily what cause
pain and difficulty in drinking and eating. They particularly occur in the
lips, the gums, the tongue, inside the cheeks, and even the roof of the mouth.
Because of these sores, the neck lymph nodes will also become swollen and even
The development and appearance of these symptoms are of course,
dependent on the state of the infected person. Some individuals, especially
those enjoying healthy dispositions, could remain asymptomatic even when they
already acquired the virus.
Remember that unlike some infections, a herpes
infection can persist in a latent form and reactivate during an outbreak. This may be triggered by a variety of causes like fatigue, stress, trauma, or a
weakened immune system.
When To Call in
Herpes on your tongue can be painful especially when the sores have already
erupted. So you may experience some difficulty in eating or drinking. In these
cases, what should be done as a primary concern is to prevent dehydration.
Notify your personal physician if any of these occurs:
- Decrease in urination. Decrease in
urination can be noted especially if you are experiencing dehydration because
it is a sign that your body is trying to conserve whatever fluid it can. You
can prevent this by drinking in more fluids, but if this doesn't help, it will
be more prudent to seek professional help.
- Drowsiness. Drowsiness is the feeling of
sleepiness even during the day. You can have this during an active infection of
herpes. It is important to seek medical advice when this occurs with blister
- Irritability. Irritability in herpes
tongue usually occurs as a prodromal phase to the onset of the infection
itself. When this happens, it means that the herpes virus you have is currently
active and you have an increased risk of transmitting it to another person. It
is usually helpful to seek medical advice when this happens to lower the risk of transmitting the infection.
- Dry Mouth. A dry mouth is one of the
primary signs of dehydration and if you suspect that you have herpes tongue,
and this occurs as a sequelae, then you should call a doctor to administer preventive
measures to dehydration.
It is important to call your physician if you are unsure whether the
sores appearing in your oral area are really herpes or not. It is also helpful
to seek medical help when your immune system is weakened so you can efficiently
contain the infection and lessen its duration.
Can’t I do Self-Care
If you feel like you’re only having a mild case of herpes on your tongue infection
and would really rather not spend on going to the doctor, then you can try these
proven home remedies:
- Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen. Acetaminophen
and Ibuprofen can prevent mild cases of fever and muscle pain, and you can use
them if you are having such symptoms while you’re on the course of your
- Fluids. Drink plenty of water to prevent
dehydration. It is essential that you drink at least 8 glasses of water or more
so that you can diminish the dehydrating effect of the infection.
- Hygiene. As with most infections, good
hygiene will help if you are to contain the infection to yourself and
lessen its severity.
- Avoid Irritating the Lesions. Irritating
or coming in close contact with the lesions might exaggerate the infection and
cause it to spread to otherwise uninfected areas of your body. Avoid coming in
contact to any of the active lesions and its secretions.
Although you can try these home remedies, it is still
imperative that you seek medical help if you feel that you cannot contain or
control the infection. Remember that it is always better to be safe than sorry.
What Can Trigger an
Outbreak and How Can I Prevent Them?
Factors for herpes on your tongue outbreak can differ from person to
person. Here are a few common triggers:
- Extreme environments. Extreme
environments on any kind--physical or emotional, can trigger a nerve response
that may in turn increase the chances of reactivating a herpes infection.
- Food. Some foodstuffs have been noted to
increase the risk of herpes reactivation. These include, but are not limited
to: coffee, popcorn, nuts, chocolate, and alcohol.
- Menstruation. A lot of women have
reported that menstruation can trigger outbreaks due to the release of hormones. So avoiding stress is a must when it's that time of the month again.
- Friction, rubbing, and an active sex life. People who already suffered a herpes tongue infection can lessen the
chances of an outbreak as well as the aggravation of the herpes infection by
increasing use of lubrication and of course, refraining from overly zealous
rubbing of genital areas which may cause irritation.
- Personal and lifestyle factors. Other
personal and lifestyle factors that include lack of sleep, stress, diet,
illness, and even fatigue. Overtime, you will be able to naturally discover personal
triggers which can influence your herpes infection reactivation so you
can learn to avoid them.
The good news is that with good hygiene, you will
be able to reduce the number of outbreaks you have within any given year as
well as the severity of each outbreak.
Most of the drugs used to prevent or control herpes infections are
available over the counter, and include: acyclovir, famciclovir, and
valaciclovir. And while you can get these without prescriptions, it is still
helpful to seek professional help to ensure that you are getting the right
dosage for your age and weight.
Having a case of herpes on your tongue is surely a discomforting feeling and
can occur in any person. However, this should and must not cause repine to any
infected person. In fact, there are a lot of individuals with cases of herpes
tongue who are still able to live normally, despite the stigma associated with
- Take your antiviral medications religiously. That way, outbreak recurrence is reduced. Powerful medications such as Valtrex can get expensive but thanks to off-shore pharmacies like 4rx, you can get it for very cheap and with less hassle!
- If you've been recently diagnosed with herpes and are struggling to find peace, this Herpes Survival Guide eBook can help give you that comfort and assurance that there is life after herpes. It also contains lots of information on how to live healthy and happy with herpes.
The first outbreak is generally the worst for most. But cheer up. Herpes on your tongue is manageable. You just have to make a few minor adjustments, is all.
Page last updated: January 8, 2014
Top of Herpes on Your Tongue page
Back to What Causes Herpes page
Back to Happy-with-Herpes homepage