Last reviewed by Dr. Raj MD on January 12th, 2022.
What is Scrotal Tongue?
Scrotal Tongue is defined as a medical condition which occurs when grooves develop in your tongue and makes it looked wrinkled. In general your tongue can have a single groove down the middle and other groves branching off or it can have many grooves down the middle. In the United States it affects two to five percent of the population but worldwide it affects approximately twenty-one percent. There is no way to prevent or treat scrotal tongue. It is a lifelong benign or non-cancerous condition. It is a condition that can be seen at any age but it more frequently affects older people.
Scrotal tongue is also referred to as:
- Lingua plicata
- Plicated tongue
- Fissured tongue
- Furrowed tongue
- Lingua fissurata
- Lingua scrotalis
- Grooved tongue
What does a Scrotal tongue look like?
The grooves on the tongue can be present on the sides or top of your tongue but most of them occur on the middle one-third of your tongue. The depth of the grooves can be as deep as six millimeters or as shallow as two millimeters. They can also be connected to other groves in your tongue and give it the appearance of small sections or lobes separating your tongue. These grooves are also referred to as fissures or cracks and only affect your tongue.
Scrotal Tongue Pictures
Picture of Scrotal tongue
Picture 3 – Fissured Tongue with furrows and grooves
Scrotal Tongue Symptoms
When a person has scrotal tongue there are usually no symptoms but you could get a burning sensation if you eat certain acidic or spicy foods, especially if your tongue has deep grooves. In addition, these deep grooves could harbor bits of food or bacteria and cause fungal infection of the tongue or bad breath. Some people also experience difficulty in swallowing or eating and can even experience severe burning when water is put on their tongue.
Causes of Scrotal Tongue
Usually people are born with this medical condition but it may not be noticeable immediately but as you age it does become more noticeable. Although the exact cause is not known it is thought that it can be caused by poor nutrition, infection, or certain health conditions. It is also thought to be a genetic condition. The three main medical conditions in which you see a scrotal tongue are people with Down syndrome, Benign Migratory Glossitis, and Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome.
- Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome — this is a neurological disorder that also includes swelling of your face, especially your lips, and facial nerve palsy.
- Down syndrome, which is caused by having a partial or full copy of the chromosome 21
- Benign Migratory Glossitis — this is also known as geographic tongue. If you have this condition you will also have patches of bald or smooth tongue along with rougher areas where your taste buds are normal. The top layer of your tongue is shed off and the tongue is left tender and red, giving your tongue the appearance of a geographical map
- Cowden syndrome — it is a rare autosomal dominant inherited disorder that is characterized by multiple tumor-like growths. Having a scrotal tongue is sometimes a feature of this syndrome
- Broken or uneven teeth on which your tongue is continuously rubbed leading to an uneven tongue surface and recurrent pain
- Chewing your tongue accidentally while you are under conditions of stress and anxiety or while you are sleeping
- Food allergies
- Acid reflux where your stomach acids may come back up in your mouth
- Habitual tobacco consumption including smoking and chewing tobacco.
- Growths around your tongue that could be cancerous or benign
- A scrotal tongue could be a referred sign of hairy tongue, which is having an abnormal coating on the top surface of your tongue in which the papillae grow long and do not shed like they normally should.
- Grinding your teeth
- Trauma to your tongue such as brushing your tongue to hard
- Severe alcohol consumption
Sometimes a scrotal tongue can be caused by a case of oral yeast infection or oral thrush, which is infections that are caused by the candida fungus in your mouth or having a low immune system, lack of biotin, which is a B vitamin, nutritional deficiencies, or, nutritional deficiencies, or Sjogren’s syndrome. This syndrome is a disease that affects your glands that make moisture and causes dryness in your mouth.
It is normally diagnosed by your dentist or physician when they are either taking care of your teeth or other dental problem or checking your throat for an infection. At this time, they see your tongue and can tell just by looking at it.
Treatment and Cure for Scrotal Tongue
Although there is no treatment for scrotal tongue if you are experiencing excessive discomfort and pain you should see your dentist or physician to find out what is causing this to get it treated to prevent any more complications and relieve the discomfort and pain. If your case of scrotal tongue is caused by an injury or infection your dentist or physician will prescribe antibiotics to help to get rid of the infection and to help with the healing of the injury.
If foods such as acidic or spicy food cause your tongue to burn after eating them you should avoid them. You should also make sure that you are gently cleaning your tongue once or twice a day with a tongue scraper or soft toothbrush. If possible do this when you are finished or before you brush your teeth. You should also make sure that you are keeping your mouth well hydrated, especially if you are experiencing dry mouth.