Progesterone and Burning Tongue Syndrome

by Dianne
(Bobcaygeon, Ontario, Canada)

I am 57 and used a low dose HRT patch for 5 years and then decided to stop gradually over 6 months. Holy Hotflashes! After waiting more than a year for them to stop I decided to try a natural progesterone cream (Progesta Care by Life-flo recommended in Dr.Lee's book).

After 4 months on the cream I feel MUCH better - sleep better, no anxiety, still a few milder hot flashes. I start on the first day of the month for 25 days then go off until the 1st of the next month. However I have started to notice that I am getting a weird symptom which felt that my tongue was burnt - for no reason. After doing some research I found this was called Burning Tongue Syndrome. Apparently no cause, no cure, no answers. However it appears to instantly go away during my week off Progesterone. Does this mean I should stop entirely, use less, use more or just ignore the burnt tongue feeling?

I think I would rather have a burnt tongue than horrible hot flashes and nights with no sleep. Any advice or has anyone else had this or is it just a coincidence and not related to the progesterone cream at all?

Comments for Progesterone and Burning Tongue Syndrome

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Jan 31, 2010
Progesterone and Burning Tongue Syndrome
by: Wray

Hi Dianne Burning Tongue Syndrome is more common in women, and more common after menopause, which makes one suspect hormones, in particular oestrogen. We continue making this in our fat cells, but as we no longer ovulate, our progesterone drops very low. Very small amounts are still made by the brain, adrenals and glial cells. When first starting progesterone ironically oestrogen becomes the dominant hormone, please see this web page.

I do agree about the hot flushes! But I feel there's no need to suffer the burning tongue either, if my suspicions are correct. I don't believe you are using enough progesterone, please try to increase your dose to between 100-200mg/day. Severe symptoms need high doses. I would suggest taking some vitamin B2 each day, about 150mg, this is often low in mouth problems. I would also suggest you use the cream every day too, as it will take a long time for the burning to go if you keep stopping the progesterone. Take care, Wray.

Feb 15, 2010
burning tongue - me too!
by: julie

Hi, same thing here, I'm 35, so not menopausal, but noticed my tongue felt numb and I've lost my sense of taste, my tongue has a metalic taste to it. Googled this morning and the symptoms are those of burning tongue syndrome. I've only used the cream for a month, 14 days on, 14 days off. I'll up the dosage, but should I take every day and not stop during my period?

Jun 11, 2010
Burned Tongue Syndrome
by: Anonymous

At the age of 47, I had the same symptoms, metallic and almost salty taste in my mouth constantly. Food tasted horrible, couldn't distinguish between salty or sweet. I was going thru menapause and lost 65 pounds. When I went to my doctor, he prescribed Premarin and within a month, all my taste buds were back to normal. I can't say for sure that was the cure, but it seemed to be.

Jun 12, 2010
Burning tongue
by: Maxine Boshea

I have been using progesterone 50mg at night in pill form. I am 70 years old. Have burning tongue of and on. Is the progesterone cream better than the pill form? I have changed Drs so hope he can help me.

Jun 14, 2010
burning tongue - me too!
by: Wray

Hi Julie I've only just seen your comment. I would suggest sticking to your cycle, pity to disrupt it if you have a regular one. Better to use more progesterone and see if that helps. It could also be you need some zinc, as a lack of this results in loss of taste. I would suggest taking about 45mg/day to begin with, if this doesn't help, increase it. It's safe to go up to 100mg/day for 3 months. Take care Wray

Jun 14, 2010
Burned Tongue Syndrome
by: Wray

Hi there Interestingly enough, initially oestrogen activates the progesterone receptor sites, so this could be the explanation it helped you. For more info on Premarin please see here, and here. Take care Wray

Jun 14, 2010
Burning tongue
by: Wray

Hi Maxine Yes the cream is far better than the pill, which is the least affective delivery system, please see here, and here. Take care Wray

Sep 07, 2010
Progest cream and Armour Thyroid
by: Debbie

I have been taking Armour Thyroid for over 10 years. I recently started using Progest cream for hot flashes and it seemed to help. Just recently, I couldn't taste anything. Everything tasted the same way - no taste. Could it be the Progest cream causing this sensation? I stopped using the Progest cream thinking that this might be the problem. Now I am starting to wonder if I did the correct thing by stopping it.

Sep 10, 2010
Progest cream and Armour Thyroid
by: Wray

Hi Debbie I've not heard of progesterone causing a loss of taste. It can cause an increase in adenosine, a nucleoside involved in energy production. Adenosine itself can cause a strange metallic taste, which you don't mention. You also don't mention any other symptom, often oestrogen dominance occurs when first starting progesterone. This is pure speculation on my part, as I have no papers to back it up, but it could be oestrogen causing the lack of taste. Oestrogen suppresses zinc, a lack of zinc results in loss of taste. Progesterone increases zinc levels. So I suggest you continue with the Progest, but make sure you are using sufficient. I recommend between 100-200mg/day, for more info please see our page on How to use progesterone cream. And please see our page on Oestrogen Dominance. If the progesterone resolves the problem, I'll have to add loss of taste to the list of oestrogen dominance symptoms! Please let me know so I can warn others this can happen. If the hot flushes still trouble you I've found 400mg/day for 4-5 days dramatically reduces or stops them completely. And please have a vitamin D test done, often a malfunctioning/hypothyroid is due to nothing more than a lack of vitamin D. For more info please see the Vitamin D council website. Take care Wray

Sep 17, 2010
tridestra
by: Anonymous

Hi, I have just started taking Tridestra....i am 8 days in and i have an awful taste of metal in my mouth. Could this be the Estrogen?

Sep 28, 2010
burning tongue
by: jasmin

The cure of burning tongue syndrome is highly individualistic. If your burning mouth is connected with dry mouth which is in turn linked to a specific medication, changing the prescription may be the only solution necessary. For nutritional deficiencies, supplements can be used. An outbreak of thrush responds to oral antifungals such as Mycostatin. If it?s your dentures, you can pick up your care regimen .for more details click burning tongue.

Oct 03, 2010
tridestra
by: Wray

Hi there Tridestra contains oestradiol valerate and medroxyprogesterone acetate, both synthetic hormones. Please see our page on HRT for more info. The metallic taste is more likely caused by the progestin in the pill you're taking. It's due to adenosine, a nucleoside which is part of the energy molecule ATP. One of the side affects of administering adenosine itself is a metallic taste in the mouth. Other transitory affects are facial flushing, temporary rash on the chest, lightheadedness, nausea, sweating and a sense of impending doom or apprehension. Adenosine is vital for energy production, it lowers glycerol levels and is believed to promote sleep. Progesterone increases the release of adenosine. Take care Wray

Dec 13, 2010
Burning and swollen tongue same on suddenly
by: Judy

I am 58 years old and have been on low HRT patch and 5mg of medroxyprogesterone for the past 8 years. Suddenly about a month ago I got this burning feeling on my tongue and a metallic taste. I don't know what it is but it's still here. I think it's burning tongue syndrone, but my ear nose & throat doctor thinks it a bacteria and I'm on antibiotics. So far, 4 days taking it, there really is no change. My doctor says my tongue is swollen and the tip is irritated. I take plenty of Vit B-12, C and other antioxidants. It is not extremely painful, but very uncomfortable and I find it's hard to rest my tongue in my mouth. Is there any other supplement or condition I should be tested for?

I don't have any other significant health issues. I do take Ambien for insomnia but I don't think that's part of it.

Thanks for your help.

Jan 07, 2011
Burning and swollen tongue same on suddenly
by: Wray

Hi Judy Burning tongue does affect more women than men, and it's more prevalent in menopause than during our earlier years. This makes me suspect oestrogen. Even though ovarian production has stopped, we still make it in our fat cells. You are also getting it too via the patch. It could be your body has decided it's had enough, impossible to tell. If the antibiotics don't work, then I suggest you consider coming off the HRT and MPA. Please read our page on HRT to get an idea of what it's doing to you. Oestrogen can cause insomnia too, whereas progesterone is very helpful for this, see here and here. If you should consider progesterone please read these two pages on Menopause and Oestrogen Dominance. I would also ask you to have a vitamin D test done, a lack of this can cause insomnia. For more info please see the Vitamin D council website. Take care Wray

Mar 19, 2011
Progesterone and Burning Mouth Syndrome
by: Anonymous

I am 49 and menopausal. I have suffered for 4 years with burning mouth/tongue and metallic taste. Two days ago I started taking progesterone pill at night and cream in the morning. My symptoms are subsiding tremendously. I used to have to chew Trident gum to help alleviate it.

Mar 26, 2011
Progesterone and Burning Mouth Syndrome
by: Wray

Hi there I'm delighted the progesterone has helped you. I have a friend who used the cream in her mouth too. She found it helped. Take care Wray

Apr 17, 2012
14W preganant on 400 mg progestrone
by: MK

hi Wray, i have been having susten VT for the last 7 weeks now , 400 mg everyday.
The metallic taste in my mouth is awefull, despite the stage in pregnancy, i am unable to have water/ milk / eggs/ fruits/ carbs etc.
I was put on progestrone due to a tiny blood clot in my uterus at 7 weeks.
For how long should i be taking this? i need to start eating drinking normally.

Apr 17, 2012
14W preganant on 400 mg progestrone
by: Wray

Hi MK The strange, often metallic taste, is due to adenosine, a nucleoside which is part of the energy molecule ATP. One of the side affects of administering adenosine itself is a metallic taste in the mouth. Other transitory affects are facial flushing, temporary rash on the chest, lightheadedness, nausea, sweating and a sense of impending doom or apprehension. Adenosine is vital for energy production, it lowers glycerol levels and is believed to promote sleep. Progesterone increases the release of adenosine, see here. I'm delighted they gave you progesterone, as normally heparin is given for clotting. Please see our page on Pregnancy for more info about progesterone. It's essential you reduce the amount slowly when coming off it. A sudden drop can cause a miscarriage. There's more info on this page here. I'm sorry it's persisting, and don't know what to suggest to stop it. Take care Wray

Feb 27, 2013
Burning tongue syndrome & graphic tongue
by: Anonymous

I was diagnosed with burning tongue syndrome 5 yrs. ago....saw several dentists and found a wonderful specialist, prescribed clonazapane...also have a graphic tongue, now also on zinc tablets....(I have celiac disease and iron deficiency, age 60)......I have good days, but mostly BAD days.....any other suggestions for relief, please !

Mar 03, 2013
Burning tongue syndrome & graphic tongue
by: Wray

Hi there Has the clonazapane helped at all? It is a benzo drug and should only be prescribed for 2-4 weeks to avoid dependancy. One paper suggests using it topically. No one seems to know the cause of burning tongue syndrome (BTS). These are a few sites with info on it, see here, here and here. It does appear to be more common in women who are stressed. But as it affects more women than men, and it's more prevalent during the last three years of Peri-menopause and into Menopause, than during our earlier years, this makes me suspect oestrogen, it's an excitatory, inflammatory hormone. There are ample nerve fibres in the tongue containing substance P. This is a nociceptive neuropeptide, causing pain and nausea. No one seems to know why substance P is in the neurons, but one study concludes "These data suggest that substance P may play a role in taste and/or in oral pain", see here. Oestrogen appears to amplify it's signal, whereas progesterone decreases it, see here. But substance P suppresses progesterone, see here. Although progesterone does suppress substance P, but only if enough is used, see here. The paper says "Accumulating evidence indicates that the neuropeptide substance P is predominantly involved in neurogenic inflammation and pain perception...... Intriguingly, decreased pain sensitivity is found to be associated with high plasma progesterone levels. We hypothesize that progesterone may attenuate nociception and associated inflammatory response." There is a higher incidence of dry mouth and eyes with BTS. In it's most severe form it's called Sjogren's syndrome, oestrogen is always high, see see here. Continued below

Mar 03, 2013
Burning tongue syndrome & graphic tongue Part 2
by: Wray

Hi there Mood changes, especially Anxiety and depression have been consistently found in people with BTS. This is again indicative of high oestrogen, low progesterone. Low vitamin D would have an affect as a lack of this nutrient reduces the benefits of progesterone. Another interesting feature is a disturbance in taste. This could be due to zinc, as a lack of zinc reduces our ability to taste. And a lack of zinc has been found in people with BTS. Oestrogen suppresses zinc, and increases copper. Copper can cause severe depression and psychosis. Progesterone raises zinc and suppresses copper. Vitamin D is a potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic, magnesium is an analgesic too. Low magnesium will cause pain. Studies have discovered magnesium depletion allows substance P to increase, and subsequently inflammatory cytokines to increase too, see here and here. Magnesium is the most important co-factor for vitamin D, an imbalance between the two causes pain. Please consider taking both if you're not. Progesterone lessens the Stress response, but if we're stressed, the level drops. It drops because the adrenals rob other sources of progesterone for conversion into cortisol, in addition to making their own progesterone. Cortisol then rises, but if over stressed, cortisol drops as the adrenals are now exhausted. Using additional progesterone will help the adrenals in two ways. One, by lessening the stress response, the adrenals will be less stressed, and two, by supplying needed progesterone for conversion into cortisol. These are a few more papers on BTS, see here, here and here. If you have celiac disease the chances are your vitamin D levels are low, see here, here and here. Any disturbance in the gut prevents the absorption of vitamin D. Please have a test done and get your level up high. Take care Wray

May 23, 2013
Having problems taking progesterone
by: Goldensong57

Hi. I recently had testosterone and estrogen pellets implanted and it has been a nightmare. Before using these pellets I was using a natural progesterone cream and did fine. I am post menopausal and have my uterus and ovaries. After pellets, I was given oral progesterone 100 mgs. at night from a compound pharmacy. I can't tolerate it. I feel like crap and get a white swollen tongue with scallops. I went back to the over the counter hormone balancing cream and it isn't enough, I don't think, but it says to only use twice a day. The compound pharmacy sent me some topical progesterone, 40 mg at night and 20 during the day, but I didn't sleep as well again last night and I can't tolerate the pills. Oh, I have burning metallic tongue and feel not myself at all. I don't want to do the pellets ever again. I have worse anxiety. Any suggestions? My doctors says hang in there, but I want to feel good. I think the doctor is in the business of selling pellets and really not interested in hearing my complaints.

May 25, 2013
Having problems taking progesterone
by: Wray

Hi Goldensong57 Unfortunately you're not the only one having a nightmare time with pellets, see here and here. Oral progesterone is the least effective Delivery system, "The liver and gut region removed a mean of 96 per cent of the progesterone entering these tissues", see here. Because of this you are getting very little, but enough to stimulate oestrogen which caused all the adverse symptoms. Plus you are getting extra oestrogen and testosterone, neither of which we need. There's more info on our HRT page. And for testosterone see here, here, here, here here, here, here, here and here. And these on how testosterone increases visceral fat, here and here. I believe it is possible to have them removed, so it's a something you could look into. You would have to use far more progesterone as you've found, to overcome the affects of the other two hormones. You might like to look through our page on Menopause. Take care Wray

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