Please help me not rip my tongue out
October 24, 2016 7:29 PM   Subscribe

I have an absurdly painful lump on my tongue. Please help.

I'll go to a doctor (dentist?) tomorrow, if it's not better.

(Seriously, though, if it's on my tongue it's a doctor thing, right?)

So I have this god awful lump right in the tip of my tongue. It's brand new and very painful (I really don't think I have tongue cancer, fwiw). It's a lump and it's right in the very tip and it stretches slightly to my right. It hurts like something fucking awful. I am having trouble talking because every single goddamn movement of my tongue kills. The pain stretches back all the way along the right side of my tongue. It's radiating into my front teeth. If I press on one part it radiates into my ear. I thought I had a canker sore but, uh, I've never had one this bad. I'll frequently get painful little white things right on the tip of my tongue and that's exactly what this felt like before it exploded into painful lump of doom.

Things I've tried: baking sode + water, which burned. Hydrogen peroxide, which a) also burned, and b) reacted to the baking soda and made a white paste. Canker sore cream, which helped while it was on, but then I swallowed it and the pain came back worse. Salt water, which did nothing. I just took an advil so I have yet to see if that will work? I've been jabbing at it a lot, which likely irritated it. I've also had a number of viral infections recently, so maybe it has something to do with that?

What could this be? What can I do until morning? I'm feeling slightly hypochondriac about it and I'm afraid it's an infection so reassurances that I can wait until the morning without having my tongue fall off or something equally awful would be appreciated.
posted by Amy93 to Health & Fitness (20 answers total)
Can you upload a picture to imgur with a link?

This looks like a good overview of the different types of bumps on can find on their tongue:
posted by xammerboy at 7:43 PM on October 24, 2016

Does warm, salty salt water help?
posted by mercredi at 7:46 PM on October 24, 2016

Definitely take aspirin. Also, you might want to listen to a youtube hypnosis session for pain.
posted by xammerboy at 7:56 PM on October 24, 2016

Thanks for the link. A picture wouldn't help because you can't see it. It *may* look slightly swollen/red but it's super hard to tell. I can feel the lump with my teeth, though. It feels hard.

Salt water did nothing, unfortunately. Advil seems to be helping.
posted by Amy93 at 7:57 PM on October 24, 2016

How about Benadryl? Like take two -- if it's an allergic reaction, that might help reduce the swelling and pain?
posted by Hermione Granger at 8:05 PM on October 24, 2016

Addendum: please take Benadryl pills and do not spray your tongue with Benadryl spray or apply Benadryl cream to the affected spot like I once did after a weird ass hive cluster developed inside my mouth because I had too many pine nuts in a fancy yuppie salad. It will only make things worse and really freak out the super handsome waiter who brought you said salad
posted by Hermione Granger at 8:08 PM on October 24, 2016 [6 favorites]

Sounds infected.

Gargle or swish around warm salt water 1 teaspoon to 8oz of water ever 2 hours. Do not swallow. This will not work the first time, it is to help wash out & treat infection if the sore is open & help stop it spreading. It will also help draw it to the surface if it's below the surface, as will warm compresses which might help with the pain.

If you live in a place you can get it try Vegemite smeared on the sore. It is used as an unofficial cure of mouth ulcers (and tropical ulcers) in Australia.
posted by wwax at 8:11 PM on October 24, 2016

I wonder if orajel or something similar would help?
posted by BoscosMom at 8:20 PM on October 24, 2016 [3 favorites]

It sounds like it could be an inflamed taste bud. I get one every now and then and it is SO painful. Definitely far more painful than it seems like something that tiny should be. I have had excellent results with taking an Advil and rinsing with a 50/50 solution of water and 3% hydrogen peroxide. I swish for about a minute and then spit it out. I find I only need to do one treatment before bed and then another 8-10 hours later and all is well again.
posted by annaramma at 9:15 PM on October 24, 2016 [4 favorites]

If it's an inflamed taste bud, try dabbing some vitamin E oil on it, or cutting a raisin in half and rubbing that on it. Repeat every hour or so, it really helps.
posted by ananci at 9:44 PM on October 24, 2016

I rip out my inflamed taste buds with tweezers and then gargle salt water but that's probably terrible advice. Next time will try the civilized hydrogen peroxide route. I hate those little mfers.
posted by athirstforsalt at 9:49 PM on October 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

Go to ER. If the rest of your tongue swells up it will become difficult to breathe.
posted by My Dad at 10:11 PM on October 24, 2016

If the bump on your tongue is actually imperceptible to anyone looking at it, you don't need to go to the ER. Inflamed papilla or taste buds are common causes of symptoms like these. You could try a topical anesthetic. Benadryl liquid can actually act as an anesthetic if you do have that on hand. Infections of the tongue are uncommon, and tongues falling off are unheard of, so take heart. Either a doctor or a dentist could probably deal with this. sincerely, NYD.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 11:54 PM on October 24, 2016 [8 favorites]

This sounds a lot like an especially bad inflamed papilla, aka "lie bump"--I get them and they're the worst. The most effective remedy for me is the same kind of oral corticosteroid paste used for canker sores--kenacort/kenalog/adcortyl, which I believe is only available with a prescription in the US (I get mine overseas).

the pain has occasionally driven me to just clip the damned things off, but that is probably a bad idea and will leave you with a small bleeding hole in your tongue, although the hole may hurt less
posted by karayel at 12:17 AM on October 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

MetaFilter: probably a bad idea and will leave you with a small bleeding hole in your tongue, although the hole may hurt less

But, yeah the hydrogen peroxide may help.
posted by Gotanda at 4:14 AM on October 25, 2016

Go to a Dentist. We are trained to make differential diagnoses on oral lesions, and this is our area of expertise.
In the meantime putting topical anesthetic (anything with benzocaine) might help you make it til morning.
avoid spicy and temperature extremes.
it's not likely to be an infection, just an ulceration, but until someone sees it, no one knows.
good luck.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:24 AM on October 25, 2016

Crush up an aspirin and put it on the sore; sometimes that can help if it's more like a canker sore than a bumpy type of sore.
posted by cass at 11:44 AM on October 25, 2016

No.No NO do NOT crush an aspirin and put it on the lesion. that will cause a chemical burn that will make a proper diagnosis difficult and it will hurt more later.
posted by OHenryPacey at 11:51 AM on October 25, 2016 [2 favorites]

Thanks for the replies. It doesn't hurt as much now; it's only slightly sore, but there is a big lump in my tongue. I can't rip it out because it's an actual lump. There's no sore or spot on the outside. I have to go to the dentist anyway so maybe I'll show it to them. Thanks.
posted by Amy93 at 3:14 PM on October 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

If you're going to the dentist, then please show it to them. You deserve to have someone qualified give you treatment or advice.
posted by lazuli at 9:04 PM on October 25, 2016 [1 favorite]

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