Canker sores/ulcers are raw “wounds” that usually form on the interior of the mouth in front of your lower gums or sometimes along the interior cheek area, though they can pop up almost anywhere. I’ll sometimes get one on the bottom of my tongue which feels quite a bit different than one on the interior of my mouth. My tongue is sore, but I don’t get the sharp intense pain usually associated with a sore on the interior oral surfaces. Usually they’re triggered by slight trauma to the area spurring on the growth. They’ll usually start small and get bigger, then eventually recede and disappear within about 1 – 2 weeks. Unfortunately until that happens they are very painful and sensitive.
I myself have suffered with canker sores since I was very young. I remember getting them when I was 6 or 7. My mom had a tendency to get them when she was younger, but kind of grew out of it and no longer gets them actively, although she does have some considerable auto-immune disease issues. My brother has rarely ever had one. The source of these sores is unknown. It does not appear to be a Herpes based virus causing it, but probably more along the lines of an autoimmune issue. Though the link between the two isn’t conclusive and autoimmune disorders seem to be a blanket statement for a lot of unexplainable maladies in the health field.
Another big factor is stress and lack of sleep. Recently I’ve had some stressful situations in my life and also have not been getting much sleep. This probably played a part in why my recent sores developed.
The link with IBS comes up because when I have an oral sore flare up, I usually notice that my digestive health suffers as well. My symptoms are more amplified. I am easily fatigued and more irritable as well.
As far as treatment for oral sores go, I’ve found the best treatment is keeping up oral hygiene. My guess is that bacteria in the mouth will attack the open sore and cause more pain. So it is worth it to try to bush and swish with mouthwash as usual, if not more so.
There is also a link between the amino acid Lysine being helpful. Lysine has been somewhat helpful to me before, but unfortunately it also seems to cause digestive distress as well, causing constipation. You may have a different experience and it’s certainly worth a try if you feel a sore coming on and even afterward.
I have tried some of the over the counter remedy gels which are god awful expensive. They really did not make any difference in healing time. There are also numbing agents like Ambesol, which vary in their effectiveness and can really hurt while applying them. They also can make your mouth feel weird or cause funny tastes due to the numbing agent & how they have it flavored.
One tactic that actually has worked in the past was to gently brush around and even on top of the sore when it was small. Yes painful sounding, but when they’re starting out they’re not that bad. This would then be followed up by swishing with an anti-septic mouth wash & taking a lysine supplement. I actually prevented a few small sores from getting very big and they disappeared within a few days rather than taking two weeks. This did not help much with this most recent flare up as the sores set in pretty quickly and largely.
Psoriasis ( Updated Jun, 2011)
Research suggests that Psoriasis an autoimmune related disease. Depending on the type of Psoriasis, symptoms may vary from small mildly flaky & itchy skin to large areas of severe itching, flaking, burning or blistering of the skin coupled with fever, aches & fatigue. Treatment for Psoriasis can range from topical steroidal creams to immunosupressive drugs. Psorasisis can also cause anxiety, depression & self esteem problems. There is no cure for Psoriasis, it is a chronic condition that can be very debilitating. Psoriasis is not contagious.
I initially noticed mild Psoriasis issues on the lower portion of my scalp on the back of my head when I was a teenager. This was around the same time I started experiencing Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms. When going to get my hair cut I’d usually get a comment that I had dandruff issues & need special shampoos that never worked. Years later I finally had a doctor look at it & he prescribed a steroidal foam called Luxiq(foamy Betamethasone) which is easier to use on the the scalp where hair can get in the way. I had good results with Luxiq, but it is very expensive if you do not have insurance, up to $300 USD.
I also developed a 2″ patch of flaking, itching & sometimes raw skin on my back. After trying to treat it for many months using over the counter steriods, with diminishing success, I finally got a hold of some Bethamethasone in cream form which obviously worked much better. Eventually the patch on my back disappeared & has not recurred. I still deal with scalp Psoriasis.
Ultimately there seems to be at least a loose link between IBS, oral sores & psoriasis to autoimmune disorders. There haven’t really been a whole lot of studies linking the three up. I’ve read some other sites on the web about the connection, but a lot of them see to be just be basic outlines on what constitutes IBS or an oral sore. So we’re kind of in the dark. Even if we do find that they are linked there are really only management options available, no cures at this time. Hopefully as medical science progresses there may be more options for treatment. If these are caused by a hereditary link, perhaps gene therapies can be introduced in the future to actually cure or prevent IBS or a whole host of other problems that can occur