Bumps on Back of Tongue: White, Red, Causes – Fast Removal

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Bumps on back of tongue and throat may look like white or red small pimples. Naturally, those bumps are known as enlarged papillae, they are not itchy and are harmless. In some cases, they may be itchy and cause sores on tongue.

Itchy red or white bumps on back of the tongue that keep spreading and become painful with a sore throat should be checked by a doctor

Picture of white bumps on back of tongue
Picture of white bumps on back of tongue

The tongue has small bumps that are located on the top and to the sides. These bumps are known as the Fungiform Papillae. They are natural and they help the tongue by providing grips on food when turning the food during eating.

They also have the taste buds on their surfaces. These taste buds are responsible for distinguishing the difference in the five tastes.

These symptoms normally signify different varied conditions that have their varied causes. This, therefore, means that it is important to seek specialized medical attention.

In normal circumstances, it may not be noticeable if one had bumps on the tongue as in most cases, the ones that appear are usually harmless and easily go away on their own. Most of these bumps that appear on the tongue never require treatment.

The Fungiform Papillae are never a reason to worry. However, they might sometimes rapidly increase in numbers. In case of such a situation, it is advisable to see a doctor as there might be a possibility of an infection.

The Fungiform Papillae, being the inhibitors of the taste buds, can also be irritated by different stimuli and they might end up inflamed.

The condition results in white bumps which are commonly referred to as lie bumps. The causes of such inflammation are not exactly clear but the condition is sometimes imputed to stress, hormonal imbalances, and reactions to some nutrition.

A good example of what causes lie bumps is sinus infections. These infections can cause the Fungiform Papillae to swell and appear larger than normal. This has an effect on the taste buds as they might lose their sense of taste.

Bumps on back of tongue

Bumps sometimes appear at the back of the tongue. These bumps can sometimes cause pain when swallowing food and at times give a feeling of something stuck at the back of the throat.

These little lumps that appear at the back of tongue can at times be an indication of certain oral infections as well as cancer of the mouth (Oral Cancer).

In the case of cancer, the lumps that are formed are normally less painful or not painful at all. Should the case be diagnosed as being oral cancer, then, the case will normally require a quick treatment.

Bumps that accompany a cancer infection can either be whitish or reddish in color, inflamed, and they tend to bleed more easily than the usual bumps.

Picture of bump on side of tongue
Picture of bump on side of tongue

See also Lump on tongue

Red bumps on back of tongue

Bumps that appear on the back of the back of the tongue can sometimes spread to the throat. Normally, there are natural bumps that are harmless on the tongue.

They can be as a result of so many minor causes but they tend to heal on their own over time and are no cause for alarm. However, some bumps that appear on the tongue can be caused by a number of serious medically related issues such as cancer to the less serious ones.

Some of the causes of the bumps that appear on the tongue are described as follows:

Oral cancer

In this case, red or whitish bumps will appear on the tongue. However, if you have oral bumps, you may not necessarily be having cancer. This can only be determined by a medical doctor. Oral bumps that are caused by cancer are usually either painless or less painful and are rarely pernicious.

Bumps that appear at the back of the tongue as a result of cancers normally tend to bleed easily upon any slight irritation.

In the event of a cancerous infection, these bumps will appear and they are likely to be accompanied by pain in the ears, difficulty in swallowing, persistent sore throat, numbness in the affected area, and most likely a persistent bad breath.

Bumps caused by allergies

Another cause of oral bumps that appear on the back of the tongue can be allergic reactions to certain stimuli. These stimuli could be certain medications and/or food and can cause the tongue to have uncomfortable bumps.

The bumps that are caused by allergic reactions are normally a bit larger than the usual bumps. They will appear on the back of the tongue and even visible around the throat.

These bumps that are caused by allergic reactions are normally rapid and can appear within a short time of contact between the tongue and the stimulus. The effects of such allergic reactions can have adverse effects that could even lead to such symptoms as swelling on the faces of some affected individuals.

The condition is referred to as an Oral Allergic Syndrome (abbreviated as OAS) and it might not only form bumps on back of tongue, but may also cause pains when swallowing, sore throats, and discomforts that might range from mild to severe. Should you suspect this condition, you should seek medical attention as soon as you can.

It is also advisable to examine and determine the reactive stimuli that could cause these bumps to appear on the back of your tongue. Upon determination please try to avoid them as much as possible as prolonged exposure might lead to severe effects.

Picture of oral thrush causing white bumps on side of tongue and back of tongue
Picture of oral thrush causing white bumps on side of tongue and back of tongue

Oral thrush is a major cause of white bumps on back of tongue

Oral thrush is a fungal infection that occurs in the buccal cavity. This condition leaves the affected tongue with either a white or a yellow coating that may recur when cleaned by simply wiping out and may also have a visible rash.

The tongue might exhibit contusions of thrush that might appear anywhere on your tongue including at the back of the tongue, on the palate, on the tonsils, and on the gums. Oral thrush can cause the tissues under the tong to appear more red than usual and at times the tissues can have a white coloration.

Oral thrush is known to cause bumps to appear in the mouth and on the tongue which normally bleeds easily if the yellowish or whitish coating is scraped off.

The most commonly affected areas by oral thrush are usually the inside cheek walls, the roof of the mouth (right above the tongue), and the gums.

These white bumps on back tongue that are caused by oral thrush normally are painful and can cause the tongue to lose its sense of taste as the taste buds normally get affected the most if it appears on the tongue.

Bumps caused by oral thrush are known to multiply quickly, more easily, and rapidly, which is the nature of all fungal infections.

 Canker sores

Canker sores which are also known as aphthous ulcers are shallow crater-like sores/ulcers that appear on the back of the tongue, inside the lips, or on the inner sides of the cheek walls. They are red at their edges and white or yellow towards their centers.

Canker sores cause a lot of pain which can be felt especially when eating or even when talking. The symptoms of canker sores infection are dominated by the crater-like ulcers that have red rings around them and are yellow or white towards the center.

The outer lining of the ulcers sometimes swell and they can form severely painful bumps. The affected individual might also experience fever and swollen lymph nodes.

The exact cause of canker sores is not known but it is said that stress, certain nutrition like citrus or acidic foods, and even tissue injuries are some of their major causes.

Bumps at the back of the tongue that are as a result of canker sores never last beyond two weeks and often go away on their own.

However, some over-the-counter painkillers can be used to suppress the pain caused by these ulcers. You can as well avoid some of these foods that cause the irritation and using a toothbrush with much softer bristles. You can also gaggle warm saline water to sterilize the wounds.

Scarlet Fever

Scarlet fever is a bacterial infection. Scarlet fever is most common in people with strep throats. Scarlet fever can also cause bumps to develop on the back of the tongue and other parts of the mouth. The main symptoms of scarlet fever are a bright red rash that may form on the body, high fever, and strep throats.

These symptoms of strep fever usually appear two to about five days from the day of infection. The fever is usually not a very serious reason for concern although it does not clear on its own. Antibiotics are normally administered to deal with the infection and enough rest prescribed to the patient. It is also advisable to take in plenty fluids during treatment for this fever.

Smoking

Smoking normally causes the mouth to dry. This has an adverse effect on the back of the tongue as the drying effect of smoking causes the back of the tongue to rub against the throat. Bhang smoking is also known to cause irritation on the tongue of some individuals.

This can lead to bumps developing and the condition can spread all the way to the back of the tongue. Smoking also increases the chances of an individual to contract not just lung cancer, but also oral cancer and throat cancer.

As soot is to chimneys, so are oral lichens to a smoker’s mouth. These lichens form on the tongue and can easily lead to infections which can also spread to the back of the tongue and to a larger scale, the throat.

Smoking is also known to cause leukoplakia.

Leukoplakia can appear either as mild leukoplakia or severe leukoplakia. The mild cases are known to be less harmful and they usually go away on their own, while the severe cases usually require medical attention as they may be as a result of cancer.

The cancerous cases might have red lesions known as erythroplakia. The lesions are normally less painful but might get irritated by hot or spicy foods which might increase their sensitivity.

Bumps on back of tongue caused by Warts

Warts can be defined as small fleshy bumps that appear on the skin or on the mucous membranes. Warts are also known to appear on the throat, under the tongue, on the tonsils, and also on the back of the tongue. This is believed to be triggered by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection which causes warts to develop.

Warts that appear inside the mouth are quite different from the other bumps that appear in the mouth. They might look wrinkled or spiky and are larger than the other bumps in most cases.

These bumps that appear on the back of the tongue that is caused by warts are normally a bit discolored when compared to the color of the surrounding tissues.

Kawasaki Disease

Kawasaki disease is an autoimmune disease that is mostly seen in children. This condition causes red and enlarged bumps to appear on the tongue and the bumps can spread to the back of the tongue too. The condition is also seen to exhibit certain symptoms that include cracked lips, swollen lymph nodes, fevers, and the reddening of the palms and the soles of the feet of the infected individuals.

Kawasaki disease can be fatal and should be treated as early as possible.

 Infectious Mononucleosis (Mono Infection)

These are small bumps that appear on the back of the tongue. These bumps never hurt and are caused by mono-infection. Mono-infection is a condition caused by the Epstein – Barr virus (EBV) and is most common in teenagers. Mono-infection is a highly contagious disease and is spread through kissing (hence the name “the kissing disease”).

The symptom of mono-infection includes excess fatigue, headaches, sore throat, irritated tongue, muscle pain, small red bumps on the tongue and inside the mouth.

Red swollen bumps on back of tongue
Red swollen bumps on back of tongue

A sore throat and strep

Strep throat is caused by a bacterial infection in the oral cavity. Strep throat is known to cause bumps to develop on the throat and could spread to other areas including the back of the tongue.

A sore throat can cause a running nose, pain in the throat, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, and in some instances fever. Sore throats can be triggered by weather conditions and allergens like dust and pollen. 

Digestive problems

Digestive disorders like acid reflux can cause bumps to develop especially on the throat and on the back of the tongue. The acid can come in form of regurgitation and reach the throat.

This causes a burning effect on the throat and on the back of the tongue. The scalding will leave blister bumps in those areas and the blisters may appear red and inflamed.

The most common symptoms of an acid reflux are heartburns, bloating, and regurgitation.

Red bumps on the tongue due to STDs

Certain sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea can also cause bumps to appear in the mouth and on the tongue. In this case, tiny painless sores are likely to appear on the tongue apart from other areas that act as the entry points for the infectious bacteria that cause the disease.

It is also good to note that having bumps on back of tongue does not necessarily imply that you have certain STIs like HIV.

Another common STI that can cause these bumps is oral herpes. This STI is caused by the herpes simplex virus. This infection causes painful bumps to appear on the lips, the gums, the palate, the inner walls of the cheeks, and on the tongue. Herpes is highly contagious and can be easily spread through contact with infected body fluids as well as the skin of an infected person.

Bumps that appear on the back of the tongue do not necessarily have to be caused by the infections named above. They could as well be as a result of a weakened immunity due to other factors like disease and poor nutrition.

These bumps that appear on the back of the tongue are generally known to cause pain when swallowing or eating.

Some of the bumps on back of tongue caused by serious conditions like cancer never really hurt at their onset. The pain usually becomes intense with the worsening of the condition. The pain is felt the most especially when swallowing solid substance due to the friction caused.

Bleeding Bumps on back of tongue

Bumps that appear on the tongue can oftentimes bleed. The bleeding can be caused by a raft of factors that include injuries caused by brushing. However, if you have bumps on the back of your tongue that bleed, you need to seek medical attention as fast as possible.

The bleeding could be caused by a serious medical condition which if not checked, could lead to serious complications and even fatality.

Bumps caused by conditions like candidiasis can also begin to bleed if you try to remove the coating on the tongue by scrapping it off. This is the same in the case of a leukoplakia invasion, especially in the severe cases.

Bumps on back of tongue during pregnancy

During pregnancy, bumps have been known to for on the back of the tongue. In most cases, they usually appear due to stress, hormonal imbalances, compromised immunity, or even allergic reactions.

These cases are not really to be worried about. However, if the conditions cause discomfort, it is advisable to seek medical attention as the underlying causative factors could be worse than anticipated.

Bumps on back of tongue of babies

Babies are likely to develop bumps and sores on the back of their tongue as a result of several factors. Some of these factors are simply hygienic. For example, the conditions might be caused by fungal infections which could have been contracted through breastfeeding on an infected breast.

Kawasaki disease is the most common cause of bumps on back of tongue of most children. The condition can cause its victims to experience difficulty when swallowing, swollen lymph nodes, and fever among other issues.

Babies and young children are quite delicate due to their weak immune systems. This, therefore, means that it is important to visit the pediatrician when such cases are witnessed.

Bumps on back of tongue and swollen tonsils

Bumps can appear on the back of the tongue due to a tonsillitis infection. These bumps can be red in color and cause irritation and inflammation of the tonsils and on the back of the tongue. The most common bacterial infection that causes tonsillitis is strep throat.

“Bumps on side of tongue or back in most cases are natural and are not a reason to be worried about. However, if the bumps start forming on the back of the tongue, under the tongue, and on the sides of the tongue that appear bigger than normal, red, white and sometimes inflamed sore and itchy with a sore throat, then there is need to worry as it might be a medical condition”

How to get rid of bumps on back of tongue at home

When treating bumps that appear on the back of the tongue at home, it is important to know their exact causes first. This will help you deal with the root cause and not just treat the symptoms.

  • Bacterial and yeast infections, for example, can only be treated by prescription of the right antibiotics and anti-fungal drugs.

Treating such cases of bumps on back of tongue at home begin with avoiding their causative agents. For example; avoid foods or medications that you are allergic to, smoking, oral sex, and kissing infected partners.

  • Some sexually transmitted infections can be easily transferred to the mouth through engaging in oral sex. This can also result in bumps forming inside the mouth and on the tongue.

Good oral hygiene also helps to keep certain infections at bay. Good oral hygiene includes flossing after meals and using toothbrushes with soft bristles to brush your teeth after meals. Using an antibacterial mouthwash can also help improve oral hygiene.

  • Gargling with saline water also has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Reduce the amount of sugar intake during infections as the bacteria and fungi responsible for the infections feed on the sugars and they can multiply rapidly under sugary conditions.

Mix hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to make a paste. Apply the paste on the tongue to help cure antibacterial and antifungal infections.

  • Mint leaves are known to soothe and offer relief from discomfort caused by bumps in the mouth. These can be chewed before going to bed.

Antihistamine ointment can help reduce canker sores. This can be topically applied to the affected area or melted in warm water then gargled. Cold compresses can also provide relief for canker sores. This you can achieve by sucking ice cubes.

References:

Bumps on Back of the Tongue: http://www.md-health.com/Bumps-On-Back-Of-Tongue.html

Bumps on Tongue: http://www.enkivillage.com/bumps-on-tongue.html

Pimple on Tongue: http://www.newhealthguide.org/Pimple-On-Tongue.html

Tongue Bumps: Enlarged Papillae and Other Problems:http://www.healthline.com/health/dental-and-oral-health/tongue-bumps#Overview1

Tongue Problem Basics: http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/tongue-problem-basics-sore-or-discolored-tongue-and-tongue-bumps

Reviewed By Austin White

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