ZocdocAnswersWhy has my 22-year-old son has been so sick for over a year, and why has his tongue turned bright orange and furry?

Question

Why has my 22-year-old son has been so sick for over a year, and why has his tongue turned bright orange and furry?

My 22 year old son has been very I'll for over a year, stomach problems, problems with his genitals, problems going to the bathroom. He's been to the dr numerous times with no help. They've tested him for every std possible and several other tests. Now his tongue has turned bright orange with almost a furry texture. Can you please give me some idea what this could be and what we should do. He has become very depressed and cannot keep a job because of the severity of the pain.

Answer

It sounds like your son may have developed a condition known as hairy tongue. Although this condition can be normal in some individuals, when it is acquired as in your son's case, an underlying cause should be investigated. The most common causes of acquired hairy tongue would include poor oral hygiene (by far the most common cause), as well as inflammation of the gums (gingivitis, also often related to poor oral hygiene) and a yeast infection in the mouth. Your son's primary care doctor or dentist should be able to confirm the diagnosis and also consider these and other common causes. If this does turn out to be a yeast infection of the mouth, then that would be fairly unusual in someone your son's age, and could represent an underlying immune system problem, from HIV infection or another immune suppressing condition. It is unlikely that there is any direct relationship between your son's hairy tongue and some of his other medical issues, such as stomach problem or severe pain. These issues, however, also do sound quite severe, and I recommend that you encourage him to seek help from his primary care doctor to evaluate these other problems.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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