Why Are There Bumps on The Back of My Tongue?

Why Are There Bumps on The Back of My Tongue?

If you have bumps on the back of your tongue, it is very likely that you are suffering from an infection or an allergy. This happens because the bumps are caused by the accumulation of saliva in the glands on the back of your tongue.

The bumps on your tongue are called papillae. These are the little protrusions from the surface of your tongue. They vary in size and shape depending on a person’s age, diet, and location on the tongue.

Symptoms of Back of Tongue Bumps

There are a number of symptoms that may point to the most likely cause of bumps on the back of your tongue.

Some symptoms include:

  • Red, raised bumps on the back of your tongue
  • Tenderness in affected area
  • Burning sensation in mouth
  • Crusty white material around the bumps

Causes for Getting Bumps on The Back of Your Tongue

Transient Lingual Papillitis

Transient Lingual Papillitis, or ‘Hairy Tongue,’ is a relatively common condition that causes tiny bumps to appear on the back of one’s tongue. These small, pinkish bumps are typically less than 1 millimeter in size and are made up of tiny blood vessels.

The cause for this condition is unknown, but it can be triggered by medications, diet changes or even stress. Sometimes Transient Lingual Papillitis can be confused with other oral health problems like canker sores.


Stress is a common cause of these bumps on the back of your tongue. They are not only unattractive but also may be uncomfortable. Stress is usually caused by things like not getting enough sleep or personal problems.

You can also get them from dehydration or having gum disease. Stress caused by any of these conditions can lead to bumps on the back of your tongue which are unsightly and painful.

Gastrointestinal Upset

There are a number of causes of gastrointestinal upset, with a wide range of symptoms. These include nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. While the most common symptom is stomach pain. Gastrointestinal upset is also often accompanied by bumps on the back of your tongue that may be caused by gastroparesis or endoscopy issues.

Hormone Fluctuations

One of the side-effects of the hormonal changes during pregnancy is a bumpy sensation on the back of your tongue. This is because during pregnancy, there is a shift in blood flow from your mouth to your uterus, giving you a heightened sense of taste sensitivity.

It is also believed that hormonal fluctuations may also cause women to lose their appetite and feel nausea during their menstrual periods.

Canker Sores

Canker sores are caused by trauma to the mouth, such as biting the inside of the cheek, brushing too hard against teeth with braces or having dental work done. They may also occur as a result of an immune system malfunction or as a side effect from some medications such as those for acne treatment.

Oral Thrush

Oral thrush is an infection in the mouth caused by a yeast-like fungus called Candida. It is also called as a yeast infection of the mouth. Oral thrush affects the tongue and especially the back of it. There are small, round, white or yellowish bumps that usually grow in clusters on the back of your tongue.

Infections can be caused by any one of these factors:

  • Poor oral hygiene, which leads to a buildup of bacteria on your tongue and gums
  • Tooth brushing with toothpaste containing sugar or artificial sweeteners
  • Taking antibiotics or other medications for an extended period

Cold Sores

Cold sores are caused by the herpes virus, which is transferred through contact with an infected person. The virus enters your body by going through a break in your skin or through your mouth. The symptoms of a cold sore can be a tingling sensation in the affected area, a thin clear liquid coming from the sore and a red bump on the back of your tongue.


Leukoplakia is a common medical condition, which typically appears on the back of your tongue. It usually appears as white patches that are rough to the touch.

It can also be described as an area where there are bumps or sores on the tongue’s surface. This medical condition is often caused by different types of irritants, such as tobacco, alcohol, medication side effects or food allergies.

Squamous Cell Papilloma

Squamous Cell Papilloma is a rare form of cancer that can affect the back of your tongue. The bumps on the back of your tongue are usually white or grey in color, but can sometimes be pink or brown. The bumps usually don’t hurt and there’s no pain inside your mouth.

However, if it’s not treated, it could lead to difficulty in swallowing, speaking, and other problems.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is the most common type of cancer that starts in the mouth and throat. The most common symptom of oral cancer is a sore that does not heal.

Some people with oral cancer may also experience swollen lymph nodes, difficulty swallowing, pain in your jaw or neck, hoarseness, unexplained weight loss, chronic sore throat or cough. There are many causes for oral cancer including smoking tobacco products and drinking alcohol.

Ways to Diagnose Bumps on The Back of Your Tongue

A bump on the back of your tongue is not always a cause for concern. It could be nothing more than a benign growth that will go away on its own, or it could be something more serious, such as oral cancer.

To get to the bottom of it, you should consult your dentist to have the bump examined. An exam by your dentist may include taking an X-ray of the mouth to rule out oral cancer and examining the inside of your mouth with a microscope for signs of oral cancer.


Bumps on the back of your tongue are generally harmless, but they can be indicative of serious health problems. The bumps are caused by an overgrowth of cells that line the tongue’s surface.

There are many possible causes for bumps on the back of your tongue, including:

  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Genetic factors
  • A viral infection
  • Radiation treatment to the head and neck area
  • Cancer treatments (e.g., chemotherapy)
  • Having a small mouth or throat passage

Don’t ignore these bumps if they get worse. Consult your doctor right away.

About the author

Johnny is dedicated to providing useful information on commonly asked questions on the internet. He is thankful for your support ♥

Leave a Comment