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Signs Demodex Mites Are Dying – Are There Any?

What are Demodex Mites

Demodex mites are tiny mites that live within hair follicles and are found in all adults over the age of 18. There are two species of the mite: D. Brevis, and D. folliculorum. D. Brevis inhabit the sebaceous glands of the skin, and D. folliculorum are found on the eyelids within the meibomian glands, and in the hair follicles on the face. Demodex mites only require medical attention when they are found in large amounts or intensify skin conditions such as rosacea.

Demodex mites are unable to expel feces from the body because they do not have an anus; therefore, everything they consume stays in the body, and this kills them within two weeks. They have an aversion to light and will scout for female mites to mate with during the night. When the males go searching, you may feel them crawling over the skin. After the mating session, the females lay eggs, a lot of mites in one pore causes them to stretch making them more visible.

Demodex mites feed off yeast, hormones, and sebum; they also eat elastin and collagen which cause excess wrinkles on the skin. They consume the good nutrition required by the hair for healthy growth causing them to become weak and lifeless over time.

Signs Demodex Mites are Dying

Apart from the obvious physical symptoms of Demodex mites, one of the most aggravating features of the condition is the unnerving feeling of crawling over the skin and on the top of the head. One of the first symptoms of Demodex mites dying is the disappearance of this crawling sensation.

This is experienced by patients who use scalp detox products to treat the condition. The burning, redness, eczema, itchy, scaly and sensitive skin will clear up as the mites are eradicated from the skin.

Another thing to note here is that a large number of dying mites in the follicles or glands may increase bacterial antigen load, triggering inflammatory responses in patients. This is why some patients experience worsening of the symptoms before the mite infestation completely subsides.

Life Cycle Of Demodex Mites

The life cycle of these mites spans between 14 and 18 days – from the egg to the larva and then finally to the adult stage. Since this is a relatively short life cycle, successful copulation is crucial to the survival and thriving of Demodex mites.

So, to successfully eradicate this infestation, it is essential not just to kill these mites, but also prevent them from copulating.

How do Demodex Mites Multiply?

Several factors contribute to the overpopulation of Demodex mites; these include the following:

  • Hair products
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • A weak immune system

Who is Most Susceptible to Demodex Mites?

Infestation is most common in males; age is also a major contributing factor. People between the ages of 20-30 are most likely to carry the mites as well as those with the following conditions:

  • Dermatitis
  • Alopecia
  • HIV
  • Inflammatory acne
  • Rosacea
  • Skin infections

What are the Symptoms of Demodex Mites?

Demodex mites are undetectable with the natural eye; they do not cause symptoms when they are in small numbers, but in large numbers, the bacteria in the feces triggers a reaction on the skin. The symptoms are as follows:

  • Extreme redness
  • Burning sensation
  • A rough sandpaper texture on the skin
  • Sensitive skin
  • Scaly or itchy skin

The Causes of Demodex Mites

There are no causes for Demodex mites as they occur naturally on the skin; however, they are contagious and are transferred through skin to skin contact. Research suggests that d. folliculorum may be the cause of rosacea; according to the National Rosacea foundation, patients with the condition have got 18 times more Demodex mites than those who do not suffer from rosacea.

How are Demodex Mites Diagnosed?

Unless a person is experiencing complications or symptoms, it is not necessary to get tested for mites. If you are experiencing symptoms, book an appointment with your doctor, they will ask about any symptoms you may be experiencing and will take a tissue sample from your face or eyelashes, the skin biopsy is then examined under a microscope to determine the presence of Demodex mites.

Demodicosis is diagnosed if the examination detects a high number of mites on the skin.

How are Demodex Mites Treated?

Treatment will depend on the severity of the condition; mild cases can be treated without medication. Some home remedies include:

  • A Warm Compress: This treatment is most effective for D. brevis, put the mask in the microwave for 20 seconds. Make sure the temperature is suitable by applying it to the inside of your wrist and then let it rest on your eyelids for 15-20 minutes. You will need to do this twice a day.
  • Tea Tree Oil: It is not advised that you apply tea tree oil directly to the skin; however, there are soaps that contain tea tree oil. It is an antibacterial that works by killing microorganisms on the skin. Wash the face with soap and water twice a day.
  • Toning: Mix a few drops of tea tree oil into a hydrating toner and shake to combine. Apply the toner to the face using a cotton pad to rub the skin gently.
  • Sunscreen: The majority of sunscreens on the market contain harmful ingredients such as titanium dioxide. Therefore, it is advised that you replace regular sunscreen with zinc oxide.
  • Lotion/gel/cream: When applying any lotion, gel or cream to the skin, combine it with a few drops of tea tree oil before using it to the face.
  • Scrubs and Deep Cleaning Masks: Add a few drops of tea tree oil to any scrubs or deep cleaning mask before applying them to the face.

You can reduce the number of mites on the skin and limit the risk of further complications by doing the following:

  • Use a mild shampoo to wash the hair and the eyelashes daily
  • Take a bath or shower every day to reduce the amount of oil secretions available for the mites to feed on
  • Cleanse the face twice a day
  • Exfoliate the skin once a week to get rid of trapped sebum and dead skin cells
  • Shower after sun exposure and workouts
  • Avoid oily sunscreens, lotions, and cleansers

For cases that are slightly more severe, a doctor might prescribe a medical ointment, facewash or gel to trap the mites and stop them from reproducing in other hair follicles. They typically contain active ingredients such as:

  • Salicylic acid
  • Benzyl benzoate
  • Sulfur
  • Selenium sulfide

Other treatments a doctor may prescribe include:

  • Metronidazole (Flagyl)
  • Crotamiton (Eurax)
  • Permethrin (Nix, Elimite)
  • Ivermectin (Stromectol)

It is also advised that any underlying infections contributing to mites are managed. Also, conditions such as rosacea and eczema will need additional medical treatment.

National Rosacea Society, “The Ecology Of Your Face: Demodex, Rosacea And You” , link
US National Library Of Medicine, “Human Demodex Mite: The Versatile Mite of Dermatological Importance” , link
US National Library Of Medicine, “Under the lash: Demodex mites in human diseases” , link
– Image 1 src: Wikimedia

Does Hand Sanitizer Kill MRSA? Well, Sort Of…

There has been a lot of debate and misinformation as to whether hand sanitizer actually kills MRSA or not. We’ve decided to settle this debate and help you understand how to protect from and fight MRSA!

What Is MRSA

Meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus MRSA is a strain of bacteria with limited treatment options because of its immunity to the antibiotic Meticillin. The bacteria is typically found in healthcare facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, and care homes.

The sick, the elderly and those with weak immune systems are especially susceptible to contracting MRSA. Healthy people are capable of carrying the virus on their skin without it affecting them.

The infection spreads easily; this is typically through the skin to skin contact; however, it is also spread through sheets, towels, dressings or clothes. MRSA is found in wounds, on the skin, in the nose, stools or urine. If a contaminated person touches a surface such as a doorknob, countertop, or handle on a subway or bus, it will stay alive for several weeks, and anyone who touches any of these surfaces is at risk of becoming infected.

The bacteria can also survive for extended periods on the following:

  • On a blanket for approximately 203 days
  • On a mop head for approximately 8 weeks
  • On a cotton towel for approximately 9 weeks
  • On dust for approximately 7 weeks
  • On the skin of a healthy person permanently

MRSA is also quickly spread by busy nurses who are constantly using their hands.

Individuals can increase their chances of becoming infected with MRSA if they:

  • Take antibiotics often
  • Take antibiotics without a doctor prescribing it (some people may have tablets left over from a previous prescription
  • Don’t take antibiotics as instructed by the doctor. Individuals might stop taking their pills because their symptoms have gone, but the toughest germs are killed by the last few pills

According to the US pharmacist website, approximately 1.2 million people per year contract the bacteria during their hospital stay.

Symptoms depend on the area of the body that has been affected; however, the majority of infections are found on the skin and manifest as:

  • Cellulitis: Infection of the tissues and fat directly under the skin
  • Impetigo: Blisters filled with puss
  • Boils: Hair follicles filled with puss
  • Abscesses: Pockets of puss under the skin
  • Styes: Infected glands around the eyelids
  • Carbuncles: large lumps filled with puss under the skin

Minor skin problems such as burns, spots or cuts may not appear problematic at first; however, if it becomes affected, book an appointment with your healthcare practitioner immediately. A wound infected by the MRSA bacteria will swell up, become tender and red. It will also seep yellow pus-like substance.

MRSA can also attack the bloodstream; the first point of contact will be through a primary wound such as a medical or chest related infection, urinary tract, or through an intravenous tube or a catheter. When MRSA enters the bloodstream it can affect the majority of the body’s internal organs and cause the following:

  • Endocarditis: Heart lining infection
  • Septic arthritis: Severe joint problems
  • Osteomyelitis: Infection of the bone marrow
  • Meningitis: Brain lining infection
  • Pneumonia
  • Internal abscess

Infected people may also experience a very severe fever.

Can You Kill MRSA With Hand Sanitizer?

According to the Food and Drug Administration, some hand sanitizers do not prevent the spread of MRSA. However, this is contrary to recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The organization claims that hand sanitizers with an alcohol base protect against MRSA and advise people at risk to use them when there is no water available.

The FDA claim that there are four hand sanitizer companies that violate their regulations. FDA compliance director Deborah Autor stated that there are no over the counter products that provide 100% protection against MRSA. As a result, these companies were instructed to remove misleading labels from their promotional materials and websites. The FDA do agree, however, that hand-sanitizers do eliminate germs, but not all of them.

Washing your hands with soap and water does reduce bacteria; however, according to the US National Library of Medicine, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are most useful for preventing MRSA.

To prevent MRSA, patients admitted to a healthcare facility should do the following:

  • Wash hands before and after using the bathroom, or after touching a surface such a door handle or elevator button
  • Care for wounds as instructed and take the necessary precautions with devices such as drips or urinary catheters
  • If anything needs changing or is unclean, report it to a member of staff as soon as possible

For family members and friends visiting a loved one in a healthcare facility, take precautions by doing the following:

  • Wash your hands before entering and leaving the facility, wipes or gel are usually placed at the entrance to the ward or near the patient’s bed
  • If you have a cut or broken skin, cover it with a dressing before your arrival

How To Manage MRSA At Home?

If you suspect you have been infected with MRSA, go to the hospital immediately. If you are diagnosed but cleared to go home, apply the following directions.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, patients should treat MRSA at home by doing the following:

  • Make sure hands are always clean, in particular when changing wound bandages or dressings
  • Make sure any wounds are cleaned often and that directions are followed for dressing changes until the wound has healed
  • Wash bed linens and clothes in a washing machine with detergent
  • Refrain from sharing items such as razors or towels
  • Listen to your doctor at all times

How Long Does It Take To Go Away?

The MRSA infection is treated with antibiotics; this is administered orally or intravenously. It can take anything from a few days to a few weeks for MRSA to completely leave the body. Patients are placed in isolation or on a ward with other MRSA patients to prevent the infection from spreading. However, if the condition is mild, treatment can take place at home.

Treatment is also provided in the form of decolonization; this involves:

  • Cleaning the skin for five days using an antibacterial shampoo
  • Applying antibacterial cream to the affected area three times a day for five days

National Health Service, “MRSA” link
CentersFor Disease Control And Prevention, “Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)” link
Wiley Online Library, “Bacterial contamination on touch surfaces in the public transport system and in public areas of a hospital in London” link
US Pharmacist, “Trends In MRSA Prevailence” link
US Food and Drug Administration, “Hand Sanitizers Carry Unproven Claims to Prevent MRSA Infections” link
US National Library Of Medicine, “Increased use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers and successful eradication of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus from a neonatal intensive care unit: a multivariate time series analysis” link

Is Pain Between Shoulder Blades Dangerous?

You might be wondering why we are addressing this topic today, that pain between shoulder blades is nothing serious. And in most cases I would agree with you, but sometimes this pain can be an indication of something far more severe than a simple muscle strain.

I don’t want to cause you worry and add to your stress level, but if you notice that the pain is not going away even after several days of inactivity and rest, you should contact your doctor, since shoulder blade pain may be linked to heart, gallbladder problems and even some types of cancer.

Most Common Symptoms

Of course, most common symptom of pain between shoulder blades pain is PAIN, bet you didn’t know that :D

But seriously, some of the most common complaints people have are:

  • Fast, shallow breathing
  • Pain when stretching back muscles in this area
  • Pain when bending your head forward
  • Presence of muscle knots
  • Or the sensation of sharp, stabbing, burning pain


Neck muscle illustration
Photo (c) rpm-therapy.com

As I`ve stated earlier, the pain can be short-lasting, benign and posing no threat to your overall health. People usually experience this sort of pain after working out, when sitting for long periods of time, after waking up (poor mattress or poor sleeping posture) etc.

This pain usually doesn’t last long and you can relieve yourself by applying ice or simply resting in a comfortable position.

Pain between should blades can, however, be caused by more severe health problems.

Heart Problems – this type of pain can, in some cases, be caused by a heart attack. It is very intense and can last up to 2 hours. This is why you need to be aware of your body at all times. If you notice the pain is not going away, call your doctor.

Gallbladder Problems – since the gallbladder is located in the upper section of the abdomen, passing a stone or some other problem affecting it may translate into this pain.

Cancer – yes, the dreaded C word. Of course, cancer is not the most common cause of this pain, but some patients complain that pain, in combination with shortness of breath and a chronic, long-lasting cough.

Spinal And Muscle Pain

Before we proceed, I would like to make a distinction between muscle and spinal pain since I don’t see many posts addressing it. Spinal pain tends to me more sudden, sharp in nature and can indicate that there is something wrong with your cervical spine, most often it will be a herniated disc.

Muscle pain is perceived more as a dull, annoying ache, lasting for long periods of time.

                Dull Ache

A Dull ache is usually felt in the muscles and it can last for long periods of time. Any number of things can cause this specific type of pain. Most often, it will be the result of our poor sitting habits and poor posture.

People with poor posture place more pressure and strain onto the muscles in this area, forcing them to do more than they should. And you don’t need a Ph.D. to figure out that overused muscles will start to get sore, hurt and actually limit the range of motion in your upper back. A common way of dealing with it is stretching and working out.

                Spinal/Neural Pain

This type of pain is a bit nastier and patients usually describe it as sudden and very intense, it feels as if somebody is stabbing them in the back.

Conditions which might cause it are:

How Can You Treat It

As much as I hate talking about treatment online and recommending exercises without accessing individual condition, I feel obligated to leave you with some common practices which will make the pain a little less intense and more bearable.

Keep in mind that these exercises might not be able to help you if you have any of the more severe conditions, we discussed earlier.

  1. Proper Posture. We could be so much healthier if people became just a bit more aware of their body and the condition their spine is. I realize that you might get so caught up in your work sometimes that you simply forget about your posture, but in the future try to pay more attention to it
  2. Stretching Exercises. Stretching exercises and exercises in general, are our road to not just a healthy back, but a healthy overall body as well. If you are looking for some stretching, and exercises in general you might be interested in reading this article: Morning Workout Routine, and if you are looking for back pain relief, you can check out our Back Pain Exercises
  3. Direction stretching. Try pulling your head from side to side, then from front to back. Make sure you pull your head gently and make no sudden movements.
  4. Medication. You can take medication if you simply can`t deal with pain any longer, but keep in mind that medication will only address the symptoms, not the underlying problem.
  5. Seek help. Why risk it? Visit your doctor and see what is causing your back problems.

Brown Particles In Urine – What Does It Mean?

are brown particles in urine dangerous
You just woke up, went to the toilet and after you peed you saw a distinct brown sediment in your urine. Should you be worried, what are those brown particles and how did they get there?

These are just some of the questions we will address in this article, so read on if you want to hear some answers.

Sediments and Particles In Your Urine

You should know that some particles exist even in healthy individuals. They are made up of dead cells, bacteria, proteins, leukocytes, and other structures commonly produced in your urinary tract, bladder, and kidneys.

So some degree of sediment is natural and expected to see in the urine, but the problem may occur when there is too much of it, especially if there is a change in color. You might be surprised to hear this, but this color change can vary from green, red, white and, of course, brown.

These are the cases where you should consider making a doctor’s appointment. The doctor might ask you if you’ve experienced any pain or a burning sensation when you urinate so if you do, it is important to note it.

Kids often have this problem (pain during urination), usually because they are not taught to use the potty properly. They often engage in long sitting sessions and might notice a certain degree of discomfort.

These are the situations where you should look for more clues that something is wrong with your child – check the skin around the baby’s legs, the diaper, or look for any other indications that something is out of the ordinary.

What Causes Brown Particles In Your Urine?

In most cases, the causes are benign, for example, it could be something you ate, just a temporary thing that does not pose any health risks. But this sediment can also be caused by problems with your kidney, liver, or metabolism.

For these reasons, it is always advised to consult your doctor if you notice the problem does not go away after a few days, or you notice some other symptoms appearing.

Urinary Tract Infections

The main role the urinary tract plays in our body is drainage – it helps removes waste, toxins, and excess water out of our body.

UTI1 is the second most common infection in our body, and it usually happens when:

  • We wait too long to pass the urine
  • We have unprotected sex with questionable partners
  • Our immune system is weakened and can’t fight the bacteria
  • We suffer from some other, health-related problem
  • A catheter is placed

The most common signs of Urinary tract infection are:

  • Pain during urination
  • An urge to ruinate more often than normal
  • Pressure in the lower belly
  • Cloudy, smelly urine
  • Urine that has changed color

This type of an infection is easily diagnosed by testing your urine in a lab. Most common tests used to confirm it are urinalysis and urine culture.

The Presence Of Red Blood Cells

The presence of blood cells in a person’s urine, or hematuria2, is not a normal occurrence in our body and should be checked out as soon as it appears.

What causes it? Some of the most common causes for the presence of blood in the urine are:

  • UTI infection
  • Trauma
  • Intense exercise
  • Sexual activity
  • Blood clotting disorder
  • A more severe kidney or bladder disease

Hematuria can be easily spotted and diagnosed visually. People with this condition will have urine that has changed color – it can be pink, reddish, or even brown. Unfortunately, this is often the only symptom of this condition, so close attention is required.


Simply put, diabetes3 is a chronic disease that affects the way your body uses food for energy. The food we eat is mostly broken down into sugar (glucose) which is then distributed to the cells with the help of a hormone called insulin.

When our body doesn’t produce enough insulin (or does not use correctly), too much sugar remains in the bloodstream, which eventually leads to health problems.

The problem with a person with diabetes is that their body has to produce additional energy for the body to function properly, and it does so by burning fat. You might think this is a good thing, but this is not entirely true.

Though burning fat for energy (or ketosis) is a natural process, it produces ketones. And when the number of ketones becomes too high, our body tries to get rid of it by expelling it through urine in the form of sediment of small particles.

If you want to read more about diabetes and ketones, you can read one of our previous articles titled “Sweet Taste In Mouth“.

Bladder Stones

Bladder stones are tiny lumps of mineral that can form inside our bladder when it is not entirely empty.

These stones are sometimes tiny and may slip unnoticed, but most of the time they will cause a lot of trouble before we get rid of them entirely.

Most common symptoms of stones present in the bladder are:

  • Intense lower abdominal pain
  • Pain when peeing
  • Frequent urination
  • Cloudy urine
  • Dark, brown urine particles

Who is at risk? Generally speaking, we are all at risk of developing a stone somewhere along our urinary tract, but it is more prevalent in older individuals (older men) and women that have given birth.

A Damaged Liver And Bilirubin

Bilirubin4 is a yellowish substance created when hemoglobin from the red blood cells gets destroyed.

Once created, bilirubin passes on to the liver which then excretes it in the form of fluid called bile. Bilirubin is typically passed in the stool, but if the liver is not functioning correctly, some of it might also be excreted in the urine.

For this reason, our urine might change color, and you might spot some dark, brown particles in your urine.


Proteinuria5 is a medical term for abnormally large amounts of protein present in our urine.

This condition is often a sign that something is wrong with your kidneys, as they usually do not allow a significant amount of proteins to pass through.

The condition itself may cause cloudy urine and a colored sediment.

Metabolism And Metabolic Problems

Our body is usually quite good when it comes to removing toxins and harmful chemicals out of our body.

Depending on what you are taking at the moment (medication), you might spot specific changes in our urine – see it becoming cloudy, change color, or present with some sort of sediment or particles.

Symptoms Which Should Concern You

These brown particles are probably not a cause for any major concern (though you should consult a doctor), but if you experience any combined symptoms, chances are something is wrong.

The very first, and the most common, symptoms that should concern you is pain and burning during urination. The second one is a change in color – a darker colored urine more so that bright one.

Some other symptoms you might notice are:

  • Frequent urination – a healthy individual should feel an urge to pee once every couple hours. Anything more could be a sing of a problem
  • Lower back pain – this may indicate a stone, kidney or a bladder problem so it is worth checking it out

Treatment – Dealing With The Brown Particles In Your Urine

Of course, treatment will depend mostly on the underlying cause of increased quantities of sediment and particles in your urine. For this reason, your doctor will probably order urine test, along with a blood test and sensitivity testing.

There is no need to worry as these tests will not hurt, they will just make it a lot easier to pinpoint the exact cause of your condition and prescribe appropriate treatment.

From this point on, the treatment will follow one of the following courses:

Hydration – this is the best case scenario where these particles are appearing due to natural metabolic processes in our body.
Medication – if there is something wrong, an infection, for example, your doctor might prescribe some antibiotics to address it.
A biopsy – a chance for this is tiny, but sometimes additional analysis is needed to evaluate the condition your body, and its organs, are in and figure out what to do next.


Of course, after you’ve noticed these changes in your urine, particles of sediments, it is too late to talk about prevention. But, prevention becomes relevant after you’ve been treated, to make sure the condition does not come back.

The simplest (and at the same time the hardest) change you can make is altering your lifestyle. Some of these changes are:

  • Exercise
  • Avoid eating in late hours
  • Avoid junk food and foods with high sugar content
  • Reduce the amount of alcohol as it can lead to a lot of other, more severe problems than brown particles in your urine
  • Try to eat more fruits and vegetables and ensure your metabolism is working correctly

Last updated: August 3, 2018 at 23:23 pm

Swollen Taste Buds On Back Of Tongue? Here’s Why! (2018)

Taste buds are the very thing you can thank for allowing you to appreciate the sweetness of your ice cream or the savoriness of your teriyaki chicken.

But one day, you notice small raised areas that become swollen and painful – a swollen taste bud on the back of your tongue. Most people have had these annoying bumps at some point in their lives, and fortunately, in most cases, it is not a serious problem. There are many ways to make them disappear or at least significantly reduce the level of discomfort they cause.

What You Should Know About Your Taste Buds

There are five basic tastes identified so far – sweet, salty, bitter, sour and savory (also called umami). Contrary to a popular taste-map, all of them can be perceived, more or less equally, in all areas of the tongue.

To understand how taste buds work, let’s find out more about their anatomy. First of all, those reddish bumps you see on your tongue are not your taste buds. Those round projections are called lingual papillae – many of them have taste buds buried in their surface tissues.

There are four different types of papillae:

  • Filiform papillae are the most numerous ones, fine, long and V-shaped. Unlike the other types of papillae, filiform papillae do not have taste buds which makes their purpose strictly mechanical. They give your tongue its texture and touch sensitivity.
  • Fungiform papillae are, as the name suggests, slightly mushroom shaped. They are located mainly at the tip and along the edges of your tongue’s upper surface, with filiform papillae scattered around them. Each of these papillae contains three to five taste buds which enables them to distinguish the five basic tastes.
  • Circumvallate papillae are very large and dome-shaped, easily seen at the base of the tongue. There are only about a dozen of these on most people.
  • Foliate papillae look like vertical folds clustered on the sides of your tongue. An average person has around 20 of them.

You might not know that taste buds are not located on the tongue only – there are taste-detecting cells in many different areas of your oral cavity. Those cells can be found everywhere from your hard palate to your throat and even in your stomach.

If you take a peek inside the taste buds themselves you will find sensory cells (also called taste receptor cells). Various nerve fibers connected to these sensory cells are enabling you to register different tastes by sending a message to your brain.

Not everyone has the same number of taste buds. You can have between 2,000 and 10,000 of them, anything above 10,000 makes you a “supertaster.”

Bearing the above in mind, it’s not hard to see that swollen-taste-bud is a swollen papilla. But since the first expression has become commonly accepted – we decided to put it in the article title and will continue using it in the following text.

Typical Symptoms You May Experience

  • Painful bumps on your tongue which may appear red
  • Pain, discomfort or burning sensation, especially when eating hot, acidic or spicy foods
  • Uneven texture of the tongue
  • Loss of sense of taste
  • Tongue discoloration

Causes and Additional Symptoms Of Swollen Papillae On Back Of Your Tongue

The reasons why you may get – inflamed, irritated or swollen bumps on your tongue – are numerous. Read on to learn more but don’t use this to self-diagnose, that is something you should always leave to your doctor.

1. Foods and Drinks

Spicy foods like chili peppers, highly acidic foods such as citruses, pineapples, kiwis and sugary foods can all be very irritating to your taste buds and leave them sore, swollen or inflamed.

Foods and beverages that are too hot can burn your taste buds or even cause your entire tongue to swell up.

2. Injuries, Traumas, and Irritations

Tongue biting, rubbing, scraping, cuts, burns, tongue piercings and other traumas can cause your taste buds to swell up, some of them can even lead to tongue infections.

Aggressive astringents, found in some mouthwashes, can irritate your tongue and your taste buds.

3. Allergic Reactions

You may be allergic to certain chemicals from your food, which may cause your taste buds to swell up. You can even be allergic to some particles in the air which can irritate your taste buds once they make their way into your mouth.

Allergic reaction to some medications can cause this issue as well.

4. Oral Infections and STDs

Presence of infection in your mouth can irritate your taste buds and predispose them to bacteria causing the infection.

  • Oral thrush (oral yeast infection) – is a mouth or throat infection caused by Candida yeasts.
    Oral thrush is a common cause of enlarged taste buds, during which small white spots may appear on your tongue. Imbalance of the good bacteria (often caused by antibiotics), reduced immunity, dry mouth and smoking are some of the factors that can lead to oral thrush.
  • A sore throat caused by enterovirus – this virus, also known as hand-foot-mouth virus or coxsackievirus, has painful blisters (sores) and red sore throat as classic symptoms. What you may not know is that in some cases it can cause blisters on your tongue, throat or even lips.
  • Scarlet fever– this bacterial illness, mostly occurring in children, may cause red bumps and a white coating on the tongue.
  • HIV – oral problems are not a rare occurrence for those living with HIV. More than a third of the people affected by this virus have oral conditions resulting from their weakened immune system.

5. Nutritional deficiencies

Malnutrition and some vitamin deficiencies can affect your oral structure.

Among other symptoms, vitamin B (complex) deficiency, can lead to the burning sensation on your tongue, oral ulcers, and sore throat.

Vitamin B-12 (riboflavin) causes ariboflavinosis the symptoms of which are tongue inflammation and dryness, cracked lips and burning sensation in your oral cavity.

Iron deficiency symptoms can be very similar to those of the vitamin B.

6. Canker sores

These little, shallow ulcers usually appear in the mouth. They can make simple activities such as eating or talking extremely uncomfortable. Many people will eventually develop painful sores on their tongues.

You probably experienced burning or tingling sensation on the exact spot where they would later develop.

The exact cause of most canker sores has not yet been identified. Some factors that can trigger or worsen them include stress, tissue injury, citrus fruits, sharp tooth, braces and ill-fitting dentures.

7. Stress or depression

Research shows that there is almost no system in your body that cannot be affected by stress. If chronic stress goes unreleased it will suppress your body’s immunity and, manifest itself as a health problem at some point.

Stress, depression, and anxiety are all accompanied by hormonal disbalances that can have swollen taste buds among their symptoms.

8. Diseases such as Transient Lingual Papillitis (TLP) and Sjörgen’s Syndrome (SS)

Transient Lingual Papillitis

This condition is a common type of inflammatory hyperplasia of one or multiple of your taste buds.

The localized variant of TLP manifests itself with swelling of one to several of your taste buds, on an isolated area of the tongue – especially the tip, side borders and dorsal surface.

The generalized variant of TLP involves a large number of swollen taste buds. During its course a child usually gets infected first, transmitting the disease to the rest of the family members.

Both variants have an acute onset and in both cases – enlarged taste buds may vary in color from normal to whitish or yellow. Some of the symptoms include burning, pain, sensitivity to hot foods, tingling or itching and eating difficulties. In the case of TLP with the familial transmission, fever, hypersalivation, and enlargement of your lymph nodes may happen.

Sjögren’s syndrome (SS)

Sjögren’s syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disease that targets salivary and lacrimal glands, which makes dry mouth and eyes this syndrome’s most common symptoms. Your saliva has many antibacterial and antifungal properties. The loss of it due to SS causes harmful effects to your oral health, such as tooth decay and oral fungal infections. Be aware of any red or discolored lesions, bumps, and spots.


If you decide to see a doctor, s/he will in most cases just visually inspect your tongue paying attention to the changes in color, size or texture. Or, if the reason behind you swollen taste buds is an allergy, your doctor will perform necessary allergy tests.

If your doctor suspects of some disease, you might need additional examinations – oral thrush, for example, is usually diagnosed by observing the lesions but in some cases, microscopic examination or tongue scraping may be needed. If the infection spreads to the throat area a throat swab or biopsy (if candida leukoplakia is suspected) may be taken.


Foods and drinks – Most swollen taste buds heal naturally within a week without any treatment. Avoiding foods that usually cause this problem can help you with the pain.

Injuries, traumas and irritations – small tongue injuries usually heal on their own. Your doctor can recommend you antiseptic cleanser or hydrogen peroxide rinses.

Allergies – It is recommended to avoid additional contact with whatever you think is causing the problem.

Oral Thrush – Your doctor may prescribe some antifungal medications which may come in different forms – tablets, lozenges, or a liquid that you swallow after thoroughly swishing it in your mouth.

A sore throat – When it comes to treatment, you may be glad to hear that primary focus is on your comfort. Ice cream and other cold foods can be very effective in relieving your symptoms. Just avoid overly sweet foods and acidic foods such as cranberry juice.

HIV – Most oral problems, linked to HIV, are in fact treatable. It would be best to talk to your doctor about possible treatments that may work for you.

Nutritional deficiencies – Treatment of malnutrition will vary from person to person depending on how malnourished s/he is. You should make dietary changes that will ensure you get enough nutrients. A nutritionist can help you with that. If these changes are not enough – your doctor may advise you to take additional nutrients, usually in the form of supplements.

Canker sores – Canker sores usually heal by themselves within 1-2 weeks. If you have already run out of patience and want to get rid of your canker sores ASAP, then dental laser may be an option. Patients treated with dental laser reported almost complete and immediate relief of their symptoms.

Stress or depression – Some lifestyle modifications, like more physical activity, getting enough sleep, healthy diet and even changing the way of thinking are natural ways of fighting stress and depression. You can also consult your doctor about medical options to treat your state.

Transient lingual papillitis – People with TLP are usually advised to avoid tongue friction and irritation as well as irritating foods. If your pain or feeding difficulties are persistent, an oral rinsing solution may be prescribed by your doctor. Or if your mouth is too dry your doctor may prescribe you an oral moisturizer.

Sjörgen’s syndrome – SS is unfortunately not curable, but many people manage their dry mouth symptoms just by sipping water on a more regular basis. Some saliva stimulators are sugar-free gum or a sucking candy. But other people need prescription medications, such as pilocarpine (Salagen) or cevimeline (Evoxac) which increase the production of saliva.

Other things you can do to relieve the symptoms of swollen taste buds on back on your tongue:

  • You can apply a little bit of plain cold yogurt to your affected tongue area. Yogurt will basically act as a probiotic for the outside part of your tongue by establishing a better balance of the bacteria that are already present. And because of its soothing properties, it can neutralize some of the spicy foods.
  • Ice cubes – the cold will help with numbing your tongue and easing the discomfort.
  • Warm water and salt mixture – half a teaspoon of salt mixed with a cup of warm water used three to four times a day can soothe and even heal your swollen taste buds or other mouth sores.
  • Try brushing your teeth with a soft-bristled brush and don’t forget to floss daily. Good dental hygiene is highly important in the prevention of oral cavity diseases and infections.
  • You can apply a bit of honey directly on your swollen taste bud, using a cotton swab. You can also make a mouth rinse using honey and warm water.
  • Discontinue further consumption of foods and drinks that irritate your tongue while your problem lasts. Some things to exclude are alcohol, highly acidic, hot and spicy foods and drinks. But, if swollen taste buds a recurring problem in your life, it is best to avoid these irritants in the long run.

Things NOT to do:

  • Please do not try to “scratch” your tongue no matter how intense your itch might be – this will only make things worse by further irritating your taste buds.
  • Some people may feel an urge to pop or cut the bumps on their tongue, by doing that you will cause additional trauma to your tongue.
  • No antibiotic will cure an infection caused by a virus. Do not take antibiotics or any other medications without a consultation with your doctor.
  • Do not smoke or at least try to reduce it.

Last updated: August 3, 2018 at 23:23 pm

What Is A Winged Scapula And Best Exercises To Fix It

Chris Perrin image (c) http://www.perrinpt.com/
Chris Perrin image (c) http://www.perrinpt.com/

A winged scapula is a common, yet debilitating condition which can lead to the limited functionality of the upper extremities!

Scapular winging in itself is not classified as a medical injury, it is just a symptom of another condition (we will discuss these conditions down below). Though this condition is relatively common, it can still go undetected and unattended.

If left unattended, it can further limit your shoulder mobility and worsen your posture. This is why today we will be discussing most common causes, symptoms and ways you can treat and fix your winged scapula!

Most Common Causes Of Scapular Winging

The most common cause of a winged scapula is serratus anterior muscle dysfunction. Serratus anterior is a muscle located on the side of the chest – originating on the surface of the 1st to 8th ribs and inserting along the medial border of the scapula (inner border which is parallel to the spine).serratus-anterior-muscle

Serratus anterior dysfunction is generally caused by long thoracic nerve injuries. Due to its location, this nerve is prone to injuries.

As you can see, serratus anterior holds your scapula against your rib cage and, if for some reason the muscle fails to do its job properly, your scapula will stick out.

Another back muscle group we need to pay attention to are rhomboid major and minor muscles. Rhomboid muscles arise from the spinous processes of the spine (spinous processes are bony projections on the vertebrae you can feel under your skin) and attach to the medial surface of the scapula.

The main function of these muscles is to stabilise the scapula and hold it against your rib cage.

The third most common cause of scapular winging is tight pectoralis muscle. This tightness can often be overlooked but is very common, especially among younger individuals, and its due to our poor posture. When sitting in a slouched position, we are effectively tightening and shortening tendons of the pectoralis minor muscle.

Since the main function of this muscle is to pull the scapula towards the thorax, tightening can lead to various problems with the scapula including winging.

Common Symptoms

The condition itself is often asymptomatic, meaning the patient will feel no pain and often not know he has winged scapula until someone else points it out to him.

In addition to changes in physical appearance, patients may also experience:

  • Pain when scapula is pressed
  • Limited shoulder mobility – especially when attempting to raise their arm above their head
  • Difficulty when performing (more challenging) daily activities

Diagnostic Tests

Using visual inspection we can, of course, diagnose and confirm this condition but we won’t be sure about its underlying cause. This is where electromyographic testing comes into play – this is the only sure and accurate way to determine which muscle is responsible and to which degree.

X-ray cannot be used to confirm or diagnose this condition, but it can be helpful in ruling out structural abnormalities in the neck and upper back.

Best Exercises For Fixing Scapular Winging

Treatment will, of course, largely depend on its underlying cause.

If you experience pain and swelling, as the first line of defence you can apply cold pack along this area (along the medial surface of the scapula).

For those of you who don’t experience pain, but want to “get rid” of a winged scapula, we have few exercises you should do daily in order to strengthen your back muscles.

Scapular Protraction For A Winged Scapula

Scapular protraction the best exercise specifically targeting serratus muscle. Check out the video below for the full exercise routine:

Pectoralis Muscle Stretch

Stretching the pectoralis minor muscle will not only help with winged scapula, it will also open up your chest and stretch all the muscles of the anterior torso, open up your airways and allow deeper breathing, and increase your shoulder mobility.

So, how do you stretch it? Stretching your pectoralis muscle is really simple:

  • Stand in a corner of your room
  • Raise your arms sideways, above shoulders
  • Leen your arms against the wall and feel that deep stretching sensation spreading across your entire torso
  • Hold the stretch for around 40 seconds and repeat 5,6 times

Check out the video demonstration below:


Surgery is generally recommended as a last resort but it is highly effective in fixing scapular winging, improving function and making you look good!

For more rhomboid exercises, you can check out one of your previous articles – Simple Rhomboid Stretches

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