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
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..|
|...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.
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 http://www.celiac.com/articles/22436/1/Geographic-Tongue-Glossitis-and-its-Relationship-with-Celiac-Disease/Page1.html#postedcomment 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