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Keywords:

  • burning mouth symptom;
  • male;
  • premenopausal female

Objectives

To identify possible clinical differences between male, premenopausal, and postmenopausal female patients with burning mouth symptoms.

Background

Burning mouth symptoms are known to occur predominantly in postmenopausal women. In some rare cases, however, such symptoms may also appear in men and younger premenopausal women. There is no information on the characteristics of male and premenopausal female patients with burning mouth symptoms.

Methods

A total of 22 male patients (no age limit) and 19 relatively younger premenopausal female patients (age: ≤45 years) with a burning sensation in the mouth without any visible signs of oral mucosal diseases were included in the experimental groups. Sixty burning mouth patients (postmenopausal females, age: ≥50 years) without oral mucosal diseases were included as a typical older postmenopausal group for comparison. All individuals in the 3 groups were subjected to clinical evaluations including an interview, a comprehensive questionnaire, a simplified psychological evaluation (Symptom Checklist-90-Revision [SCL-90-R]), blood tests, and a measurement of salivary flow rate.

Results

The male group reported taste problems less commonly (40.9%, P = .009) and less severely (median visual analog scale [VAS] = 0.00, P = .004) than the postmenopausal group (73.3%, median VAS = 4.50). The younger premenopausal group complained of paresthesia more commonly (68.4%, P = .006) and more severely (median VAS = 0.50, P = .007) than the postmenopausal group (30.0%, median VAS = 0.00). The male group (81.8%) reported discomfort of the tongue less commonly than the postmenopausal group (100.0%, P = .004). The percentage of patients with a symptom triad of oral mucosal pain, dysguesia, and xerostomia was significantly higher in the premenopausal (73.7%, P = .005) and postmenopausal (60.0%, P = .012) groups than the male group (27.3%). The flow rate of unstimulated whole saliva was significantly higher in the premenopausal group (0.27 ± 0.18 mL/min) than the postmenopausal group (0.17 ± 0.16 mL/min, P = .006). None of the 9 symptom dimensions of the SCL-90-R were significantly different among the 3 groups. The percentage of patients with abnormal blood tests and taking medications due to comorbid diseases was the lowest in the premenopausal group.

Conclusions

Male and premenopausal female patients with burning mouth symptoms showed different characteristics compared with typical postmenopausal female patients.