Canker sores (aphthous ulcers), or aphthae, are the foremost common explanation for periodic (recurring) ulcers inside the mouth and genital linings (mucous membrane surfaces). Their cause is unknown, but stress, lack of sleep, trauma, and maybe some vitamin deficiencies, toothpastes, and foods can make the condition worse. Some people with anemia and other medical conditions that weaken the system could also be more likely to develop canker sores.
There are 3 types of canker sore:
Ø Minor aphthae (80% of cases)
Ø Major aphthae (Sutton disease, approximately 10% of cases)
Ø Herpetiform aphthae (10% of cases)
Minor aphthae heal within 1–2 weeks. Major aphthae are extremely painful, last from 2–4 weeks, and usually cause scars after they heal. Herpetiform aphthae progress during a way that's almost like minor aphthous ulcers.
Who's at risk?
Canker sores affect approximately 25% of the overall population. They are more common in women, and that they usually start to seem in children or teens. People infected with HIV/AIDS are often severely affected with canker sores.
Signs and Symptoms
Minor aphthae are single or multiple lesions, 1.0 cm or less in diameter. Major aphthae are deep ulcers greater than 2.0 cm in diameter. Herpetiform aphthae appear as multiple ulcerations.
The most common locations of canker sores are inside the mouth or lips or on the tongue. The genitals may also be affected. The sores can have a white, gray, or yellow base.
There is no cure for canker sores. Most heal in 1–2 weeks, but the subsequent measures may help relieve the pain:
Ø Apply protective pastes to form a barrier over the sore.
Ø Apply local anesthetics (benzocaine, lidocaine) to help numb the area.
Ø Use antibacterial mouthwashes.
Ø Avoid products or foods that seem to trigger episodes.
Ø Maintain a good diet or take vitamins.
Ø Get enough sleep and reduce stress.
When to Seek Medical Care
See your doctor if canker sores don't heal, occur frequently, or if you've got extreme discomfort or pain.
Treatments Your Physician May Prescribe
Treatment with topical steroids or other medications applied to the affected area, to hurry up healing of the lesions, are often used. These include:
Ø Topical calcineurin inhibitors (tacrolimus or pimecrolimus)
Ø Prednisone in severe cases
Other oral medications, dapsone and colchicine, could also be utilized in more severe cases, when repeated outbreaks continue for years.
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