White patches are the main symptom of oral hairy leukoplakia. The patches are:
Sometimes, the patches cause discomfort and taste changes.
The symptoms of oral hairy leukoplakia may look like other medical conditions or problems. Always talk with your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
Oral hairy leukoplakia patches are easy to identify. Healthcare providers can often diagnose it from a physical exam alone. Oral candidiasis, or thrush, can be similar in appearance. However, your healthcare provider can often remove thrush growths on the tongue. This helps your healthcare provider to tell the difference between the two conditions.
A biopsy of one of the patches can confirm the diagnosis. But, this test usually isn’t done unless the patches look unusual, or if they suspect cancer or another rare condition.
Your healthcare provider will figure out the best treatment based on:
Oral hairy leukoplakia itself doesn’t usually need treatment. There are no other symptoms. But, it may mean your healthcare provider needs to take a closer look at your HIV treatment to help boost your immunity.
In some cases, your healthcare provider may prescribe an antiviral drug. Rarely, in more severe cases, your healthcare provider may surgically remove the sore.
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