Pineapple can often cause minor skin irritations because it’s highly acidic. The fruit -- or the juice -- can cause your tongue to feel gritty, itchy and mildly painful shortly after eating. If you develop severe pain, itching, burning or swelling in your tongue from eating pineapple, you should talk with your doctor. Common conditions that might be related to tongue pain after you eat pineapple include burning mouth syndrome and oral allergy syndrome. Both of these conditions might cause similar symptoms after eating pineapple and need to be evaluated by your doctor.
Burning Mouth Syndrome
Burning mouth syndrome is a condition that is not fully understood. Some people are highly sensitive to the foods they consume, which can lead to mild to severe pain in the tongue and mouth. The condition mostly affects post-menopausal women and might be related to damage to the nerves in the tongue. The burning pain sensation might remain consistent throughout the day, or eating certain foods might trigger symptoms. Sometimes though, the burning stems from acid coming into contact with oral mouth sores, like canker sores.
Oral Allergy Syndrome
Oral allergy syndrome is a condition that’s related to hay fever, which is an allergic reaction to airborne particles such as pollen, mold and dust. In some cases, your immune system might mistake the proteins in pineapple for pollen or other allergen. If you’re allergic to some pollen, you might experience a localized allergic reaction in your mouth, tongue and lips. This condition typically causes minor irritation for a few minutes or up to an hour after eating pineapple. If the symptoms persist or worsen, you'll need to get to the emergency room.
If you’re diagnosed with oral allergy syndrome, you don’t have to avoid pineapple for the rest of your life. The most common treatment is to consume the pineapple cooked, according to Oprah.com. Cooking the pineapple will modify the protein structure, so your immune system probably won't detect it. If cooking the fruit doesn’t produce any improvement, you can participate in sublingual immunotherapy with the guidance of a health care professional. This treatment slowly sensitizes your body to the proteins in pineapple by placing small amounts under your tongue.
If your tongue pain includes tongue swelling, you might be having an emergency. Tongue swelling that occurs shortly after you eat pineapple might be a sign of anaphylaxis, a severe allergic reaction that causes your throat to swell, resulting in shortness of breath and wheezing. Other symptoms include stomach pain, skin irritation, facial swelling, dizziness, flushing of the skin, a drop in blood pressure and a racing heartbeat. It can lead to death if left untreated.
Diane Marks started her writing career in 2010 and has been in health care administration for more than 30 years. She holds a registered nurse license from Citizens General Hospital School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Arts in health care education from California University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in health administration from the University of Pittsburgh.