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Aphthous Ulcers - Symptoms & Treatment


Aphthous ulcers is an open sore in the mouth, which appears as a painful white or yellow ulcer surrounded by a bright red area. Aphthous ulcers are the most common type of mouth ulcer. Aphthous ulcers are typically recurrent round or oval sores or ulcers that occur inside the mouth on areas where the skin is not tightly bound to the underlying bone. Aphthous ulcers are also known as canker sores. Aphthous ulcers are caused by a break in the mucous membrane. Canker sores are thought to form when, for unexplained reasons, a person's immune system identifies the presence of chemical molecules that it does not recognize. At least 1 in 5 people develop aphthous mouth ulcers at some stage in their life. Women are affected more often than men. Canker sores are common, but the cause in many cases is unknown. Conversely, cold sores almost always start out on the lips and don't often spread to the soft tissues of your mouth.

Usually only one aphthous ulcer will develop but there is a possibility of five occurring at the same time. The term aphtha means ulcer; It has been used for many years to describe areas of ulceration on mucous membranes. Aphthous stomatitis is a condition which is characterized by recurrent discrete areas of ulceration which are almost always painful. Aphthous ulcers may have abnormalities in cell communication and epithelial integrity. Aphthous ulcers usually first occur between the ages of 10 and 40. They then recur from time to time. There can be days, weeks, months, or years between each bout of ulcers. Most of the time, treatment isn't necessary for canker sores. Pain usually decreases after several days, and canker sores typically heal within one to three weeks. Canker sores may also occur at the site of a bite when the tongue or cheek is bitten.

Causes of Aphthous ulcers

The common causes and risk factor's of Aphthous ulcers include the following:

  • An overreaction by the body's own immune system.
  • Nutritional deficiencies, particularly vitamins B, iron, and folic acid.
  • Certain foods including chocolate.
  • Family history.
  • Changes in hormone levels.
  • Bacterial infections, such as stomach ulcers caused by the bacterium, H. pylori.
  • Burns from eating hot food.
  • Irritation from strong antiseptics, such as a mouthwash.

Symptoms of Aphthous ulcers

Some symptoms related to Aphthous ulcers are as follows:

  • Round, white sores with a red edge or halo.
  • Sore throat.
  • Swollen or painful lymphadenopathy
  • Tingling or burning sensation prior to appearance of the sores.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Listlessness.
  • Loss of appetite.

Treatment of Aphthous ulcers

Here is list of the methods for treating Aphthous ulcers:

  • An oral rinse, such as viscous lidocaine used every three hours or before meals, provides short-term relief from pain caused by aphthous ulcers.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Regularly rinse your mouth out with warm, slightly salted water.
  • Dexamethasone suspension may be given with instructions to rinse the mouth and spit it out; or dexamethasone, prednisone, or other corticosteroid may be given systemically (in a pill or injection, for example).
  • Calcineurin inhibitors such as topical pimecrolimus or tacrolimus.
  • Antibacterial mouthwashes to reduce secondary infection.
  • Take pain-killing medication, such as paracetamol.

 

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