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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Raised bumps on middle toward back of tongue

03/07/2007

Question:

i have small bumps on my tongue in the middle and toward the back of my tongue they are pink in color , and sometimes i get a white coating on my tongue food does not taste the same , the bumps however do not hurt or itch , but my mouth and throat are very dry.could you tell me what could be wrong or why its like this and should i seek medical treatment.

Answer:

The bumps you describe are most likely normal and are called papillae.  They house taste buds, and are actually found all over the tongue.  However, there is a very prominent row toward the back of the tongue that can be viewed when you stick your tongue out.  Therefore, this is normal.

If your mouth feels dry, and the white coating may be an indication of this, then make certain you are drinking an adequate volume of fluids every day.  Most people do not.  If you feel you are, and if your taste truly seems off, it is possible you have a mild infection.  Although it is not very common, you can sometimes get a yeast infection in the mouth that will cause these symptoms.  It is seen more often in people with diabetes, following a prolonged course of antibiotics, or in association with other chronic illnesses.  If you think this is a possibility, I would consult your primary care physician.     

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Response by:

Allen M Seiden, MD Allen M Seiden, MD
Professor of Otolaryngology, Director of Division of Rhinology and Sinus Disorders, Director of University Taste and Smell Center, Director of University Sinus and Allergy
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati