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Managing a patient with burning mouth syndrome
  1. Danny Cheung,
  2. Nigel Trudgill
  1. Department of Gastroenterology, Sandwell General Hospital, West Bromwich, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr NJ Trudgill, Sandwell General Hospital, Lyndon, West Bromwich B71 4HJ, UK; nigel.trudgill{at}nhs.net

Abstract

A 64-year-old woman presented with an increasing frequency of symptoms of heartburn and retrosternal pain over the last few months, and a constant and intense burning pain affecting her tongue tip, mouth and lips for the past 5 years. She found consuming hot drinks exacerbated the burning oral pain and chewing gum seemed to alleviate some of her symptoms. She thought these oral sensations were caused by frequently licking her finger tips to separate prints in her work in publishing. She had been previously diagnosed with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD), and her heartburn symptoms had been controlled until recently with lansoprazole 15 mg daily. Her past medical history included irritable bowel syndrome and depression, for which she had been treated with mebeverine and paroxetine for a number of years. She was a non-smoker and did not consume alcohol. Clinical examination was unremarkable with no oral lesions on examination. Her routine laboratory tests, including autoimmune serology, haematinics and thyroid function tests were all within normal limits. She underwent a gastroscopy, which revealed moderate reflux oesophagitis, and following commencing omeprazole 20 mg twice daily, her heartburn resolved. However, her oral burning symptoms were not affected and a diagnosis of burning mouth syndrome (BMS) was made. Following explanation and reassurance concerning the cause of her BMS symptoms, she chose not to receive treatment for this but to access cognitive behavioural therapy in the future if her symptoms worsened.

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