Getting a skin tag on the tongue isn’t uncommon, but they MUST be distinguished from other medical conditions before you get them treated. Our tongues aren’t made of skin – they’re muscular organs. So, is it a tongue skin tag or is it something else?
In many ways, a skin tag under the tongue can be viewed slightly differently to those that appear elsewhere. There are a few factors to bear in mind to make sure it is, indeed, a skin tag. If it is, treating it effectively is the next step. But, we need to look at the causes and other ‘similar’ medical issues.
So, let’s take a look at how to identify them, and how to remove a tongue skin tag.
What Are the Possible Causes of Skin Tags on the Tongue?
If you find a white piece of skin on the tongue, the cause is likely to be the same as finding one anywhere else on the body. They are a result of friction. This friction is usually caused by skin rubbing against skin. Your tongue rubbing against any skin inside your mouth could cause a skin tag to appear. However, it can sometimes be caused by body jewelry, such as a tongue stud.
Skin tags have also been linked to other factors, though there is less scientific evidence. These include the following:
- Age – more common as we get older
- Weight gain
- Hormones – pregnancy and menopause
- Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)
- Insulin resistance – pre-diabetes symptom
- Taking steroids
How to Identify Tongue Skin Tags
Skin tags are nothing more than small and fleshy benign growths. They can be extremely small, or grow to the size of a grape. You will probably be able to notice a skin tag’s presence on the tongue fairly quickly. Not by sight, but by feel.
If you notice a fleshy fold anywhere on your tongue, there’s a chance it could be a skin tag. But, there are a few other medical possibilities. Some of these can be harmful, or dangerous, so understanding the difference is critical!
What Could a Skin Tag Be Mistaken For?
The plica fimbriata is nothing more than mucous membrane on the underside of the tongue. Occasionally, the membrane can fold over itself just slightly. This can create the feel of a bump, which many people mistake for a skin tag. However, this is a perfectly natural occurrence for some people. No treatment is needed since there are no negative side effects involved.
A tongue skin tag can also sometimes be mistaken for a wart or multiple warts. Warts are completely different from skin tags, in that they are caused by a virus. They are also extremely contagious. Getting a wart on the tongue is rare, but it can happen.
If you have any reason to believe it might be a wart it’s important to seek out treatment. In the meantime, do not allow your mouth to come in contact with others. Warts will need to be removed by a doctor since a topical cream won’t ‘stick’ to the tongue effectively.
Swollen Taste Bud
Sometimes people mistake a swollen taste bud for a skin tag. Swollen taste buds, however, will appear white in color, and less ‘fleshy.’ They are something that requires a doctor’s attention for treatment.
The only time you may need to show concern about a skin tag on the tongue is if it looks ‘strange.’ More specifically, if it is at all painful, or a vibrant red or white color, seek out an opinion from your doctor.
They will likely want to remove the skin tag and run a biopsy. Testing the skin tag will show if you had/have oral cancer or any other type of ailment. These cases are rare. For the most part, you won’t have to worry about that with a skin tag.
Are Skin Tags on the Tongue Painful?
Skin tags on the tongue (or anywhere) should not be painful unless you have an infection. However, pain is a completely different subject to consider, and it’s not normal for a skin tag. If you are experiencing pain, it could be a sign of something that is more serious.
It’s likely that your skin tag occurred on a spot of the tongue that is used to friction. So, if that friction continues, it could cause some irritation. If you notice pain or bleeding from the skin tag on your tongue, seek out treatment as soon as possible.
How to Remove Tongue Skin Tags
Most of the time, skin tag removal is fairly simple. They won’t fall off on their own, but cutting off the blood flow causes them to shrivel and fall off. Obviously, it can be difficult to do that with a tongue skin tag. Many of the ‘typical’ treatment options won’t work because of the location.
The first thing you should do is discuss it with a doctor. They will direct you toward the safest option. Skin tags can be medically/surgically removed. Doctors can either cut skin tags off with a scalpel, burned off with a laser tool or cauterized. Whether or not any of these would be the best option for the particular location of your skin tag is something you and your doctor would have to discuss.
Since it’s not easy to tie off a skin tag, you have to look at other options. And topical or medicated solutions aren’t meant to be swallowed. Self-treatment isn’t recommended.
Whether you choose to live with the skin tag or not is still a personal choice. Remember, it will not ‘go away’ on its own, even with time. Under most circumstances, skin tags aren’t painful. If they do hurt, or are a strange color, it’s possibly something else. Consider talking with your doctor about removal options if a skin tag on the tongue is starting to bother you.