Warning! There will be pictures of varying degrees of grossness. If you are squeamish and think weird tongues might freak you out, please locate the nearest exit.
Tongues. They reside in our mouths, are incredibly flexible — sometimes freakishly so — and are the strongest muscle in the human body. These muscles have always been a source of weird tricks and traits. Some people can roll it into a shape that vaguely resembles a taco, others can make the clover and then there are those that can somehow straight up fold their tongue in half.
These strange tongue facts are news to no one, but there is something I'm willing to bet that the majority of people don't know about. If you are a fan of watching bizarre medical conditions videos, you may have heard of this condition called geographic tongue. "What's that?" you who have not heard of this ailment ask. Well, it's something I have lived with every day for as long as I can remember. Geographic tongue is a disease (I'm not a fan of the word "disease," but I'm not in charge here) that is centralized to the surface of the tongue. For some unknown reason, it causes raised white lines and/or bald patches all over the tongue - that's where the geographic part comes in.
According to the Mayo Clinic, geographic tongue is listed as a harmless ailment, but I would disagree. True, it will not kill you — unless you're allergic to having a weird looking tongue — but it can definitely cause harm. You see, this condition brings with it an incredibly delightful increased sensitivity to spicy and acidic things. I'm not talking about a slight increase either. What I'm talking about is an "I've become so sensitive that the small amount of acid in a banana hurts me," increased sensitivity.
Just imagine, you go home and you find out that your mother has made that delicious chili for dinner. You know the one I'm talking about. Everyone at the table can easily consume their entire bowl while barely being bothered by the relatively small amount of spice. You however — oh boy — you get to the end of your bowl (which has been loaded with heat reducers like sour cream and cheese, and you even ate most of it with buttered crackers!) and you're sweating like a pig because of the ridiculous amount of heat and pain radiating from your tongue. You're almost in tears, and you find yourself wondering, "Is my tongue bleeding? It feels like it's bleeding." No, your tongue isn't bleeding. It's just dangerously red, welted and dreading tomorrow's leftovers.
It can't get worse than that, can it? Sorry to ruin your dreams, but it can. Geographic tongue by itself causes sensitivity, but those unlucky enough, much like myself, will also find themselves in possession of a fissured tongue. This condition causes lovely little groves to cover the tongue and its own round of spicy/acidic food caused pain.
There's nothing quite like a double pain whammy that makes your tongue look gross, am I right?