Developing bumps on back of tongue with a sore throat is a common occurrence. The bumps are usually red or white and may be small or large, painful or painless. In most cases, the bumps are not a sign of serious health problem and heal on their own. Sometimes, non-medical home remedies and over-the-counter medications can help relieve pain and speed up healing. However, the bumps may be a sign of serious health problems such as oral thrush, strep throat, syphilis (an std) or oral cancer. These conditions require proper diagnosis and medical treatment. But what causes of bumps on back of tongue and how do you get rid of them? Explore pictures, signs and symptoms, treatments and home remedies.
Signs and Symptoms of Bumps on Back of Tongue
In case you have signs and symptoms, it is an indication that you have developed bumps on the back of your tongue;
- Feeling mounds of tissue on back of tongue
- Irritation and inflammation at the back of your tongue
- Soreness or pain in back of your tongue
- White or red patches on back of your tongue
Causes of Bumps on Back of Tongue
There are many different causes of bumps on back of tongue. Most of the causes of bumps on the back of the tongue are not an indication of serious health problems. They usually resolve on their own or with the intervention of simple home remedies. However, there are cases when bumps on back of your tongue may actually be a sign of serious health problems.
Bumps on back of tongue can be a nuisance because it may cause pain and difficulties, especially when eating, talking and swallowing. Some of the common causes of bumps at the back of your tongue include:
The tongue has some natural and normal structures that may look like bumps on back of the tongue. This is because their actual appearance may vary from one individual to another.
The common structures that may resemble appear like bumps on back of tongue are called papilla or lingual papilla, which house the taste buds. Taste buds spherical nerve endings on the tongue that provide the sense of taste.
Other such structures are the lingual tonsils, which consists of two small mounds located at the back of the tongue, one on either side. They are made up of lymphatic tissue that supports the immune system by producing antibodies in response attack from pathogenic bacteria or viruses.
1. Physical Injury
The bumps at the back of your tongue may be due to a physical injury. Such an injury is usually sustained when you accidentally bite yourself or from burns in case you try to eat or swallow too hot foods. When this is the cause, the bumps usually heal within a few days with or without the use of some home remedies or over-the-counter medications.
2. Allergic Reactions
The bumps on back of tongue might be as a result of allergic reactions. This happens when you eat drink or swallow substances to which your tongue is allergic. Substances that may be allergic to your tongue include medications, drugs and food stuff. Hence if you developed the bumps after eating or drinking something new, it could be the cause of the allergic reaction that led to the bumps.
3. Canker Sores
The bumps on back of tongue could be canker sores. These are lesions that can develop anywhere within your mouth. They are also called aphthous ulcers. They are characterized by whitish spots which are usually painful. In case you happen to develop canker sores at the back of your tongue, they may appear like whitish bumps.
Usually, canker sores heal within about two weeks without any medical intervention but the use of home remedies can speed up the healing process. However, home remedies like salty water can help relieve pain and speed up the healing process.
4. Oral Thrush
Another possible cause of bumps on back of tongue is oral thrush, which is also known as candidiasis. According to MedicineNet, “Thrush (oropharyngeal candidiasis) is a medical condition in which a yeast-shaped fungus called candida overgrows in the mouth and throat.” Oral thrush is characterized by redness, white patches, white tongue, dry mouth and a sore throat.
It is caused due to uncontrollable overgrowth of Candida albicans (C. albicans) fungus. The risk factors for oral thrush include illness such as diabetes and HIV/AIDS, cancer and dry mouth. Other include pregnancy, organ transplant, smoking, stress and poorly fitting dentures.
5. Scarlet Fever
The bumps on tongue may be as a result of scarlet fever. It is a disease that causes fever and a scarlet rash. It is caused by streptococci bacteria and it mainly affects children. Usually, it forms a white coating on the tongue, which peels away after a few days, leaving the tongue red and swollen.
6. Enlarged Papilla
Lingual papilla are nipple-like structures that are found on the upper surface of the tongue that make your tongue have a rough texture. Lingual papilla contains taste buds that provide the sense of taste.
Enlarge papilla is a condition that occurs when your taste buds become inflamed, irritated or swollen, resulting in bumps on your tongue, which are usually painful. This condition is caused by a variety of reasons which are usually not serious.
7. Lie Bumps (Transient Lingual Papillitis)
Lie bumps constitute a condition that is medically known as transient lingual papillitis. Lie bumps are little white or red bumps that form when lingual papillae become irritated and slightly swollen. The causes of lie bumps ids not clear be associated with to stress, hormonal imbalance, or certain foods.
Suffering from Lie bumps is usually not a serious condition. It usually doesn’t require treatment and clears up on its own within about 2 weeks. However, use of saltwater rinses or cold foods can help relieve pain and inflammation and also heal the bumps faster.
The bumps on back of tongue might be caused by leukoplakia. This is is a condition that causes thick, white patches to develop on your tongue and the lining tissues of your mouth such as the gums and inside of cheeks. The common cayuses of leukoplakia is smoking of tobacco. However, it can be caused by other irritants such as allergies.
Usually, mild leukoplakia is harmless and heals on its own. However, rarely though, leukoplakia may be associated with cancer, in which case it must be treated promptly because it poses serious a serious health condition.
9. Strep Throat
If you have white or red bumpy rash at the back of your tongue, it could be strep throat. This is a bacterial infection that is characterized by a swollen tonsils, a red bumpy tongue rash, or white or yellow spots on the back of tongue and throat.
10. Syphilis (STD)
If you contract syphilis can also result in bumps on the back of your tongue. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that usually starts with a small, painless sores that are then followed by a rash.
In the later stages of syphilis, sores may appear in the mouth and on the tongue. The sores usually indicate serious complications which if not treated can lead to death. The early stages of this disease can be treated with antibiotics.
11. Squamous Papilloma
Squamous papilloma or squamous cell papillomas is a benign (non-cancerous) tumor that grows like small warts in the surface of the skin especially in mouth, on the tongue or genital region, especially the vagina. It can also appear on lip, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, cervix or anal canal. Squamous cell papillomas are a result of infection caused by human papillomavirus (HPV)
Squamous Papilloma may in rare cases develop to cancer. It is treated by keratinolytic agents that contain either lactic acid or liquid nitrogen if it is non-cancerous. In case the growths are large, they can be removed surgically.
12. Traumatic Fibroma
Traumatic fibroma can be the cause of bumps on back of tongue. They are smooth, pink growths on tongue that are caused by continued irritation. This condition is usually diagnosed by a biopsy and where necessary it is removed through surgery.
13. Oral cancer
In rare cases, the bumps on back of tongue might be a sign of cancerous growths. Bumps caused by cancerous tumors are usually red or white and often bleed. The pain due to oral cancer makes chewing and swallowing difficult due to severe pain.
Oral cancer is caused by heavy smoking of tobacco and drinking of alcohol. It can also be caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) or a weakened immune system. This condition is diagnosed through a biopsy. The treatment options for oral cancer depend on its stage and include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.
14. Kawasaki syndrome
Bumps on back of tongue may be due to Kawasaki disease. It is rare illness during childhood that affects the blood vessels. It can lead to heart problems and can cause swollen, red, cracked tongue among other symptoms.
This disease is usually difficult to diagnose by a doctor can carry out a physical examination to identify it. It is treated with Immunoglobulin (IVIG) medicine. Also, aspirin is normally administered to help relieve pain and fever and prevent blood clots.
Red Bumps on Back of Tongue
If you have red bumps on back of your tongue, it might be an indication that you suffering from various health problems, including:
- Injury: Injuries caused by bites or burns as you eat or drink may cause red bumps on back of tongue
- Lie bumps: Little red bumps may be an indication that you have lie bumps. However, lie bumps may also show up as white bumps
- Strep throat: This infection manifests as white or red bumpy
- Scarlet fever: A white coating may that peels to leave red and swollen tongue may be a sign of scarlet fever.
- Kawasaki syndrome: A swollen, red, cracked tongue may be a sign of Kawasaki syndrome
- Syphilis: Red bumps on tongue including back of your or tongue may also be sign that you are suffering from syphilis
- Oral cancer: Persistent white or red bumps that sometimes bleed may be an indication that you have oral cancer.
White Bumps on Back of Tongue
White bumps on back of tongue may indicate various diseases and conditions. Some of the common causes of white bumps on back of tongue include:
- Enlarged papillae: When your taste buds, which are housed in papillae on the tongue, become inflamed, irritated or swollen, resulting in white bumps on your tongue
- Canker sores: If you have painful white bumps on your tongue, gum or inside of cheeks, it is likely that they are canker sores.
- Lie bumps: Little white bumps may be an indication that you have lie bumps. However, lie bumps may also show up as red bumps
- Strep throat: This infection manifests as white or red bumpy rush
- Leukoplakia: In case of leukoplakia, thick, white patches may develop on your tongue and in other parts of the mouth such as the gums and inner cheeks.
- Oral cancer: Persistent white or red bumps that sometimes bleed may be an indication that you have oral cancer.
Painful Bumps on Back of Tongue
White bumps or spots caused by canker sores are usually painful. Also, enlarged papilla due to swollen taste buds may result in painful bumps on back of tongue. The later stages of oral cancer bumps are usually painful and often bleed.
Painless Bumps on back of Tongue
Usually, the bumps caused by syphilis are often painless. Initially, the bumps caused by oral cancer are usually painless. Hence, painless bumps on your tongue, including back of your tongue, should not be considered as harmless just because they are not hurting.
Small Bumps on Back of Tongue
The common causes of small bumps on back of tongue include:
- Syphilis, which starts with a small, painless sores that are then followed by a rash
- Fungiform papillae, a common type of the lingual papillae which appear as small bumps located on the top and sides of your tongue.
- Lie bumps, which are little white or red bumps that form when lingual papillae become irritated and slightly swollen.
Large Bumps on Back of Tongue
The common causes of large bumps on back of tongue include:
- Enlarged Papilla: Naturally, some people have larger taste buds than others
- Squamous Papilloma: These are benign (non-cancerous) tumors that look like small warts which grow on the tongue
Bumps on Back of Tongue and a Congested or Sore Throat
- Oral Thrush (candidiasis): This is a medical condition in which a yeast-shaped fungus called candida overgrows in the mouth and throat. It is characterized by redness, white patches, dry mouth and a sore throat.
- Strep throat: This infection is characterized by a swollen tonsils, a red bumpy tongue rash, or white or yellow spots on the back of tongue and throat and a congested throat.
Pictures of Bumps on Back of Tongue
We have included excellent pictures of bump on the back of the tongue in the relevant sections.
How to Get Rid of Bumps on Back of Tongue
How you will get rid of bumps on back of tongue depends on the causes of the bumps. In case the bumps are not caused by infections or diseases that may require specialized treatment, non-medical remedies can be used to speed up their healing.
However, if they are caused by infections such as canker sores, they can be treated with over-the-counter medications. But if the cause is an underlying disease or condition, you need to get rid of the bumps by consulting a doctor, who will diagnose and administer prescribed medications and treatment.
Home Remedies for Bumps on Back of Tongue
None medical remedies can help relieve the discomfort caused by bumps on back of tongue. They are used when the causes of the bumps are not infections or underlying diseases that may require specialized treatment.
Non-medical remedies can be used to treat the bumps when the causes are not serious, such as injuries and allergies. The common non-medical remedies for bumps on back of tongue include the following:
1. Gargle with A Warm Salt Solution
A salt solution contains some antibacterial properties that help soothe and decrease inflammation on the bumps. This helps speed make the bumps heal faster.
- Prepare a salt solution by dissolving ½ teaspoon of the salt in a ¼ liter of warm water. Gargle some of the solution for about 30 seconds. Repeat this procedure 3 times every day.
- As a part of your daily routine, swish salt water solution for about 30 seconds after every meal to wash away any food debris in your mouth, especially your teeth
2. Drink Cold or Cool Liquids.
Drinking cool or cold liquid helps soothe the bumps on back of tongue. The liquid also helps relieves pain and inflammation, making the bumps heal faster.
Drinking salt solution also keeps your general body and your mouth hydrated. Mouth dryness is one of the factors that contribute to bumps on back of tongue.
3. Suck on Some Ice
You can try sucking ice cube, ice chips, or ice pops to keep your mouth hydrated and at a cooler temperature. You can also try placing the ice cubes or ice chips on the bumps directly but ensure that they are not too cold to cause more damage.
The cold condition will help relieve the pain and swelling at the back of our tongue. This also helps prevents your mouth from drying, which will only worsen the condition.
4. Eat Soothing Foods
Eat and drink food substances that help relieve the pain and discomfort caused by the bumps. Generally cooled will enhance the soothing effect of such foods.
Feed on dairy products such as yogurt, milk and ice cream and foods such as pudding or popsicles to relieve the pain and discomfort caused by the bumps and make them heal faster.
5. Avoid Spicy and Fatty Foods
While some foods are could be the cause of the bumps on back of tongue, other foods could aggravate the condition. Spicy and fatty foods are likely to be behind the allergies that cause bumps on back of tongue or worsen the already existing bumps.
- Therefore, avoiding spicy foods, may help prevent or get rid of bumps on the back of your tongue.
- Avoid acidic foods and drinks such as such as tomatoes, oranges or orange juice, sodas and coffee. Also stay away from pepper, chili powder, cinnamon and mint to prevent bumps on back of tongue or make them heal faster.
- Stay away from cigarettes or chewing tobacco, which can exacerbate your discomfort.
6. Maintain Oral Health.
Some infections that cause bumps on back of tongue are as a result of poor oral hygiene and health. You can prevent these bumps by observing high standards of oral hygiene and health.
- Brush your teeth and floss every day and after every meal consistently. Failure to brush and floss may lead to accumulation of food particles and plaque in mouth and on teeth to avoid oral and dental infections
- Visit your dentist at least twice every ear for medical check-ups to maintain heathy teeth, tongue, and gums.
7. Give the Bumps Time Heal
In most cases, the bumps on back of tongue do not require any measure to heal. In such cases, you just need to give the bumps some time to resolve on their own. Most bumps usually heal after a few days.
However, if they do not get better after three days, consult your healthcare provider for advice and treatment. This is due to the fact that there could be an underlying health problem that is causing the bumps.
Medical Treatment for Bump on Back of Tongue
There is no one common treatment for bumps on back of tongue. Rather, the treatment for the bumps depends on the health problem that causes the bumps and basically entails treating the underlying health problems.
Medical treatments may be administered to the patient only through prescription by a doctor after diagnosis. The common medications for the various health problems that can cause bumps on tongue, including back of tongue include:
- Scarlet Fever: Although it does not usually require medical treatment, antibiotics are usually used to reduce the duration the infection is contagious. Antibiotics also help speed up the recovery process and reduce the risk of development of other
- Oral Thrush: The common medical treatment for oral thrush include antifungal medication such as fluconazole, a clotrimazole lozenge, nystatin mouth wash. For severe infections, itraconazole or amphotericin B may be used
- Strep Throat: Antibiotic are used to treat the strep throat infection. Although there are several types of antibiotics that can be used, the ones which are commonly used are penicillin and amoxicillin
- Kawasaki syndrome: Immunoglobulin (IVIG) medicine is given through a vein relive the inflammation of the blood vessels. In addition, aspirin is usually administered to relieve pain and fever and reduce the risk of blood clots.
- Syphilis: Only antibiotics, especially penicillin, can treat syphilis. Over-the-counter-medications and home remedies do not treat syphilis. Treatment is very necessary for a pregnant woman, who may spread it to the fetus, resulting in defects and other serious health problems, including infant death.
- Oral Cancer: Depending on its stage, cancer may be treated by surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation
When to See a Doctor Over Bumps on Back of Tongue
At first, you may want to try home remedies or over the counter medications for the treatment of bumps on the back of the tongue. This may be the case, especially when there are no signs of a serious problem. Since bumps on back of tongue may constitute other serious problems it is necessary to consult the doctor if:
- the bumps are large
- the bumps are spreading
- the bumps are accompanied by pain and fever
- the bumps make it difficult to eat or drink enough fluids
- the bumps persist despite avoiding the possible trigger foods and taking over-the-counter pain medications, or using relevant non-medical home remedies
- They last 3 weeks or longer