Some people who suffer from Crohn’s disease get ulcers in their intestinal tracts and even in their mouths. Mouth ulcers are known as aphthous ulcers, and they’re associated with an extremely rare type of Crohn’s disease called pyostomatitis vegetans. Understanding what causes these ulcers is crucial to determining the best method of treating them and improving quality of life.
What Is an Aphthous Ulcer?
An aphthous ulcer is a mouth ulcer that limits a Crohn’s sufferer’s ability to ingest food and, therefore, get proper nutrition. Aphthous ulcers usually appear during an intestinal inflammation, or flare-up. They resemble common canker sores, but they can be much bigger and more detrimental to health.
Aphthous ulcers are caused by pyostomatitis vegetans, a type of oral Crohn’s disease. They are frequently large in numbers, and sometimes they can contain pus. These sores are typically treated with oral and topical corticosteroids and immune-modulating drugs.
Mouth Ulcer Signs and Symptoms
Sometimes, a person with Crohn’s may notice signs and symptoms that cause them to suspect they have a mouth ulcer. These indicators include visible bleeding in the mouth and sores filled with pus.
Treatment for Mouth Ulcers
While oral and topical pharmaceutical medications are sometimes effective at eliminating mouth ulcers, these drugs are not without side effects. Occasionally, these medicines and antibiotics given to treat mouth ulcers cause an oral fungal infection called thrush.
Immune-modulating drugs given to treat mouth ulcers may also leave a person susceptible to infections like herpes simplex (HSV) and cytomegalovirus (CMV). To ease pain, a topical oral anesthetic, such as lidocaine, is sometimes administered to numb the mouth and make patients more comfortable. Often, Crohn’s sufferers with severe mouth ulcers will need to take vitamin B12 supplements.
People with oral hemorrhages should consult their doctors right away. Not only can they get medication to ease the symptoms of mouth ulcers, but they can also start a conversation regarding additional treatments that might be effective in treating these painful sores.