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Ade asked...

Numbness in my tongue.

As of recently, I have experienced numbness in my tongue and a temporary loss of taste, which only fades after about an hour. I do not have any particular allergies, don't smoke, do not consume much alcohol at all, have not changed my diet, and exercise regularly.

I wonder whether this could be a symptom of tongue cancer and if so were the case, would it be accompanied by other symptoms, and what could they be? Many thanks for your help.

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The answer

I’m sorry to hear you are experiencing this problem. It is unlikely that your symptoms are related to a possible cancer of the tongue but there are numerous underlying reasons why this type of problem can occur.

The tongue is involved in our experience of taste and so it can be expected that if part of the tongue becomes numb then our ability to taste will also be reduced. Often it can be caused by nutritional vitamin deficiencies which are easily corrected.

You do not mention whether you have undergone dental treatment recently but this is also a common side effect that can be experienced sometimes after dental surgery and care. Other less common causes involve direct trauma to the nerve of the tongue, some neurological problems, side effects from certain medications and also oral infections. Any of these could contribute to this developing. 

Whilst you explain that you do not suffer any allergies it might still be worth noting when your tongue becomes numb and what if any foods and drinks you may have consumed in the period before hand, this will help you see if you can identify a pattern, allergies for example can develop at any point in our lives. I do think a visit to your GP may prove beneficial, they can inspect your mouth and perform tests if indicated to try to find the underlying cause for you.

I hope this information will be of use and I wish you the best in getting this resolved.

Answered by Health at Hand nurses.


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