a person wearing latex gloves checking a woman s teeth

Burning mouth in menopause

Burning mouth occurs more frequently in women than men, especially women who are going through the menopause and in people over 50. Burning mouth in menopause is one of the unusual symptoms. A burning sensation in the mouth, for which no cause can be found. It is common, affecting up to 15% of adults. At Rowena Health Menopause Specialist Clinic we often see women who struggle with this and are unaware this is a symptom of menopause.

The causes are poorly understood, it could be a neuropathic pain caused by changes in the nerve fibres in the tongue. It can increase in times of stress, when talking or eating hot or spicy foods. The symptoms normally do not change the physical appearance of the tongue or mouth. There is pain in the mouth daily, but nothing to see, which can be very distressing.

To diagnose this we look for the following symptoms:
  • A hot, painful burning sensation in the tongue, lips, gums, palate, throat or whole mouth, which is present for most of the day. It can be continuous or intermittent.
  • It can also be accompanied by other symptoms like dryness, numbness, tingling or stinging, a bitter or metallic taste, loss of taste and increased thirst.
What are other causes of burning and soreness in the mouth?
Do I need blood tests or investigations for burning mouth in menopause?

Possibly they may help: FBC, ferritin, B12, folate, glucose or Hba1c, TSH and autoantibodies and possibly an HIV test.

What can help burning mouth in perimenopause and menopause?

This condition is not harmful. Reassurance and an explanation are helpful, once all necessary tests are complete. Burning mouth in perimenopause and menopause can be reduced by some food or drinks, by stress reduction, by sleep and rest, and by distraction techniques. There are not many studies on this but reports suggest that 50% of cases do get better on their own in 6-7 years. A full dental check up is best. It is unclear if HRT, Hormone Replacement Therapy, helps relieve the burning.

Lifestyle measures to help burning mouth in menopause
  • Frequent sipping of water, sugar-free gum, sucking on ice
  • Avoiding irritants like hot spicy foods, acidic fruits and juices, alcohol and mouth washes
  • Stress reduction and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural therapy) can help
  • A book called Mindfullness for Health, a book which is a practical guide to relieving pain, reducing stress and restoring wellbeing
  • Support for mental health and psychological problems like anxiety and depression
  • If drug treatment is needed, a low dose tricyclic antidepressant or an SSRI antidepressant may be helpful

Burning mouth in menopause is one of the more unusual symptoms, do look at my article on Symptoms of the Menopause for all of the other symptoms. Of course please speak with your Dr if you are concerned about any on-going symptoms.

Patient Information: British Dental health

Last updated September 2023 Dr Carys Sonnenberg

To book an appointment at Rowena Health Menopause Specialist clinic for a midlife health check please click the link. We would love to see you.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Let us know if you agree to cookies

We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience. Please let us know if you agree to these cookies.

For a complete overview of all cookies used, please see our privacy policy and our cookie policy