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 full.

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 infection.

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 itself.

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

Herpes on your tongue (image from: dermis.net)

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.

Several 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Malaise. Malaise is the first and foremost sign of an active infection and is the general feeling of discomfort and uneasiness.
  3. 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 Baycol.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 painful.

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.

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.

When To Call in Professional Help

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 formation.
  3. 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.
  4. 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 Instead?

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:

  1. 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 outbreak.
  2. 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.
  3. Hygiene. As with most infections, good hygiene will help if you are to contain the infection to yourself and lessen its severity.
  4. 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?

The good news is that with proper hygiene, you will be able to reduce the number and severity of outbreaks that you have.

Factors for herpes on your tongue outbreak can differ from person to person. Here are a few common triggers:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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.

In Conclusion

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 herpes.

  1. 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!
  2. 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.


Top of Herpes on Your Tongue page

Back to What Causes Herpes page

Back to Happy-with-Herpes homepage