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Monday, December 5, 2011

Geographic Tongue Dilemma, Part One

Summery and Update, May 14, 2012 :
If you are not interested to read all the details of our journey to healing my daughter’s condition – Geographic Tongue (GT), here is the summery for you :)

My daughter had GT for two years on and off. Last four months of 2011 were the worst, she couldn’t eat most of the foods as they would hurt her tongue. We went to many doctors, practitioners and we were unable to get help from anyone. After many months of research I gave up on looking for help elsewhere. Instead we went on a “clean” diet starting January 1, 2012 (no junk foods, no preservatives, no chemicals, no refined sugar, no artificial flavorings, additives, GMO, etc, etc, etc). I also made sure she is emotionally happy as she just had a baby brother. I am happy to report she has been symptoms free for the last four months, as soon as we eliminated certain foods.

My daughter has become my inspiration so my mission is to help others with the similar condition. If you have GT and it bothers you please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.

Update September 25, 2012
Still no GT in our family! My daughter is doing fantastic and her tongue is clean!

Update April 28, 2013
It's been almost 1.5 years since our switch. We are not as strict now with following all the rules but we continue to enjoy the healthier clean lifestyle with the beautiful tongue, free of symptoms. The only foods my daughter cannot eat are vinegar and eggplants.
The long Story..
I am puzzled, annoyed, and aggravated when dealing with my daughter’s reappearing health issue – geographic tongue. She is only four years old and she has had this problem for about one and a half years now. The majority of the doctors suggest I ignore it!

It starts like these small spots..
I am puzzled because I have no idea where it came from why it keeps reappearing and how to get rid of it. The worth thing is when I am unable to help my child. If you are in the same boat, I feel sorry for you because seems like none of the MD/pediatricians want to address this issue. We tend to think when we have a health issue we will just go to our doctor and he/she will heal us. This is not the case with geographic tongue (GT). Our pediatrician continuously explained to me that it’s not a big deal, it will heal itself on its own and that there is no treatment for it and no one knows where it comes from. My child is unable to eat at least 60% of the usual foods during the GT reappearance as her tongue hurts. It’s only going to get worse when she grows up.
...then it migrates all over the tongue into different shapes

Our new pediatrician said it’s a benign issue and does not need to be treated and will go away on its own. He also believes it comes from super sensitive taste buds and has nothing to do with digestion. After hours of searching for answers online, I found out that there is a big population of people in the world with GT problem and most of their doctors say, “No treatment needed.” They make a few suggestions to add different kinds of vitamins to the diet, but the vitamins and opinions very quite a bit which makes it hard to make any sense or create any pattern of symptoms.

Recently I realized that the tongue is a window to all the ailments in the body in Oriental Medicine (OM), particularly the whole digestive system. This is the first organ OM doctors examine. When I visited an OM doctor, I didn’t receive a clear cause of GT, but the doctor thought it might have been from taking a lot of antibiotics from 12 to 14 months of age (my child kept getting ear infections from daycare back then). She said that her gut flora was getting destroyed and she became sensitive to foods over time. (I also believe now that she might have been milk intolerant. 12 months of age was the mark when I switched her to whole milk "cold turkey" and ever since she's had a stuffy nose on and off that possibly brought ear infections.)  The Dr. believed it was also a digestive problem and recommended to get my child off gluten and dairy and try to give her less sugar. We did not get a clear diagnosis, but a guess at best. It’s not a perfect solution but we will try this option. I’ll keep searching for answers. Meanwhile, whenever she gets GT again she will be back on her diet of yogurt and rice pudding, only foods that don’t hurt her.

I have always thought of my child’s diet as a pretty healthy one. Not knowing where GT comes from drives me nuts. I will keep searching for answers. If it reappears, I will try another naturopathic doctor. I’ll keep this post updated if I find valuable information on GT for our readers on where it comes from and how to treat it.

If you have any information 
that would help us, 
please post! 
Thank you a lot! 

So far from my newly acquired knowledge, I am adding B-12 vitamin and essential oils in addition to her multivitamins and Probiotics to improve her digestion, cell reproduction and many other benefits.

I just had another heated up discussion with our new pediatrician. I requested a test for my daughter to see if she has celiac disease after reading this article Our pediatrician didn’t like that I had this idea without his advice, he doesn’t belive its nessesary. Similar story with our old pediatrician, makes me look like a crazy mom (*). They, as are 95% of medical community, believe that GI has no cure and is not related to any underlying condition. It’s fine with me, but I need to eliminate the possibilities and I regret to realize that my experience with two pediatric offices had been great until problems arose. I feel like I have no one to defend my children with, like I am having this invisible fight against men’s ego instead of feeling compassion and concern from my doctor.

(Unrelated) We have a newborn in the house who was born with tight tongue and our old pediatrician argued that the baby’s tongue doesn’t need to be snapped. I had breastfeeding crisis because of his tongue and I went to an ETN doctor anyway. He said we had a severe case of tight tongue and snapped it right away. Should I have listened to our ped, my baby would still be with heart shaped tongue unable to latch properly and be ashamed of its shape when he grows up.

Its been two months since I wrote an update. a lot have happened but I'm not sure if we have healed the GT problem. My daughter just had two new little spots in her tongue again and recently she was sensitive to oranges. As long as she is sensitive to a limited amount of food I'm OK with it.

Where to begin... we are back with our old pediatrician who turned out to be more polite and undestending.

Dr. Ron Hoggan who wrote the article mentioned in my 12/07/2011 update, spend years studying GT and believes that it is gluten intolerance problem. He responded to my email right away and wrote in details what blood test I should request from my ped. I was hopeful to find a clear answer - diagnosis. Quest Diagnostics, my insurance (Aetna), and our ped office do not work in sync at all! They played pink pong with me for a while until I finally realized no one guarantees that insurance will pay for this test. In fact insurance has miles of different codes and bulletens in their policy with the medical terms jungle and it is a loophole over loophole. I couldn't pay $1100 for this blood test and went back to naturopathic places.

One of them was Dr. LaRosa in Sarasota who promised us to give us diagnosis. She does it via PC software that reads human vibration through holding a mouse and tests all of the organs! My 4 year old is a good sport, she sat at the computer for two hours with her hand on a mouse and patiently waited for the computer to calculate all her vibrations/problems. The results were not pretty. Reading at home many pages, description of every organ and problem she has, was like readying a report of dying 88 year old. One of the things she said that my child had was very bad cardiovasacular situation and she is stressed and sad and she offered some liquid to buy to help her be happier?!?!?!  Are you kidding me? That's when I started to realize that I just wasted my $85 and a few hours of my life and hope.

My other option was going to my friend's naturopath who did order some tests for her child (unlike our naturopath), gave diagnosis (unlike our naturopath), and overall helped her child. It would mean initial consultation, plus follow ups, and tests = approximately $1000 again.

I decided to try Dr. Luo from China, Doctor of Oriental Medicine (OM) who also has her office in Sarasota, FL. She said the tongue doesn't look normal! Finally! We went to several sessions of acupuncture for digestive improvement, splin, etc. Then she tested her for allergies in some interesting way. I wasn't aloud to be in the room during testing. Then she announced that my child is intolerant to yeast, wheat, gluten, yogurt, calcium, milk, and sugar! Basically all the foods! I din't want to be skeptical since I wanted the sniffles and the GT to be healed. The Dr. Luo gave us a few more sessions where she cleaned my child's system from some of these intoleranses and the whol experience ended up costing us a lot of money and a lot of trips to that office. Did we have any good results? NO!

Meanwhile, we have changed our lifestyle for better. We have smoothies in the morning, full of alkiline goodness, I pack her even healthier lunch for school. I also started packing her own snacks to avoid snacks and juice/milk at school. She also started having salads like adults. We don't ever order kids menu at a restaurant as there is mainly dead food offered. I have to say, except for the orange recently, she hasn't complained about her tongue problem for at least 1.5 months.

I have been cooking a lot more plant based unprocessed meals in the last four years but with my second pregnancy in 2010 I made some bad food choices as I had crazy cravings of what I am not used to eating.  Since I am the cook in the family, they ate what I ate. I believe her GT problem increased because of our less healthy life style last year and I do believe it is digestive issue. I'm so glad to be getting back to more vegetarian/vegan/raw choices. It feels good.

Read the happy end of Geographic Tongue story here


  1. Hi, I have a 4 year old daughter - who has been getting the graphic tongue issue for a year. It doesn't seem to cause her pain but it looks unhealthy. We have very good eating habits - and my daughter likes a wide variety of food - last night she had some seafood - we eat a lot of fish & seafood and she hasn't had a problem before but this morning, bam, there it was again. We have taken her to the doctor 2X both times he dismissed it as, "some people just have geographical tongues - it may or may not go away but it isn't a problem" It looks to me like it would be acid reflux or something along those lines???

  2. Thank you for sharing your story I am determined to find out the cause no matter how long it takes and will be sharing it here with you. Tomorrow we have another appt with a naturapathic doctor and the next day we have a blood test. will keep you posted..

  3. My son has the same thing with his tongue and so does his dad and brother. Our pediatrician said it was genetic and he will be fine.

  4. That sounds familiar. Our dr. said the same and we were fine with it until it became a severe case and I had to do something about it. Most of the foods were hurting her tongue. Now she has a clean pink tongue and nothing hurts her thanks God! (except for eggplant and balzamic vinegar). Is your son complaining at all?

    1. Did you cut out dairy and gluten too?

  5. I am a 32 year old male. I have had an awful case of the geographic tongue for as as long as I can remember. :-( I haven't tried to eliminate any foods as listed above, but I think its worth a try. The patches of raw flesh often burns, even when I drink water. The sides of my tongue is also frequently sore and ridged. I mean, I feel very ashamed of my tongue and would never stick out my tongue, EVER. Whenever I speak to my doctor, he always says "its nothing, you can ignore it; no one really knows what it is, or what's the cause". I know this post is really late, but I will see what becomes of this diet adjustment.

  6. I am a 53 year old who has had geographical tongue my entire life. I remember my tongue "itching" as a child, and at times bumps would appear after eating particular foods (particularly sweet tarts and eggplant). The appearance tends to change and what used to bother it, doesn't seem to have the same affect. As an adult, I periodically break out in mouth ulcers. I gave up on going to doctors to try to solve the problem. I do believe the condition is triggered by food allergies. My most recent attention has been on my diet. I am trying to stick to a plant based diet and avoid processed foods. At present, my tongue is pale (unlike the bright red it used to be) and smoother than it has ever been.

  7. Hi thank you for the information. Which blood test is it, that has to be done? please let me know...

    Thank you once again!

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  11. I have migratory it is dangerous?