My Burning Mouth Is a Confusing Symptom

My Burning Mouth Is a Confusing Symptom

A month or so ago, I developed some confusing symptoms.

When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, I had a burning sensation in my arm — for years. Recently, however, my lips started burning. I wondered if it was because I was using a different lip balm, but the sensation spread to my palate and tongue. My symptoms didn’t improve after a few weeks, so I decided to do some research.

It turns out that my symptoms might be burning mouth syndrome (BMS). BMS can co-occur with fibromyalgia and is more prevalent in women over 60. BMS affects about 5 percent of the population. I guess that makes me special!

The roof of my mouth, my tongue, and my lips feel like they’re burning. Sometimes my throat is irritated as though I burned it on something hot. My mouth is dry, and I’m generally miserable. The symptoms are always worse when I wake up. They improve during the day, but they never go away.

I have looked everywhere for solutions, but there don’t appear to be any. I have yet to find something that gives me even temporary relief. Like all my other symptoms, I adjust the best I can and go on with my life. I’m hoping my symptoms are temporary. Either way, it is just another piece of my illness puzzle.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, primary BMS involves damage to the nerves that control pain and taste. I believe I have secondary BMS, which is caused by an underlying medical condition.

Problems associated with secondary BMS include dry mouth, oral infections, vitamin deficiencies, ill-fitting dentures, allergies, emotional or mental issues, or reactions to dental work. Drinking too many acidic beverages, such as my favorite, Coke, can result in excessive mouth irritation. Endocrine disorders (I have hypothyroidism) and certain oral habits, such as teeth grinding, have also been linked to secondary BMS.

BMS can co-exist with fibromyalgia, but I had never heard of it until I experienced it. If my symptoms sound familiar, I encourage you to have a conversation with your medical provider.

Have you experienced BMS? If so, have you found ways to cope?


Note: Fibromyalgia News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Fibromyalgia News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to fibromyalgia.


  1. Nancy says:

    To the lady with the burning mouth. I too have burning tongue for the last fifteen yrs, I’m 77 now. Sometimes it was intolerable, I was constantly sucking on ice. Ask several doctors and dentist what I could do to relieve it. No help there!! The only thing that helped was gum. I should have stock in the company! Good luck!! NRS

  2. Sally Ferguson says:

    That symptom developed for me a few years ago, a decade into my battle with fibro. Fibro clearly involves enervated neurological pathways of all sorts, which is why we get such widespread and sometimes inexplicable symptoms. As you say, sometimes you just have to carry on as best you can with the symptoms. Best of luck to all.

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