Mouth ulcers – what’s causing yours?

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I knew I had to go ahead with writing about this topic after sourcing the lovely image of this cute teddy bear with a poorly mouth. I expect teddy knows exactly how I felt for five days earlier this week when my mouth ulcer appeared from nowhere. Aside from constant pain when eating, drinking and swallowing, it also hurt whenever I spoke and I felt as if I was talking weirdly too.

My go-to treatment is always Bonjela which I’ve used right from childhood to presenthood when the odd painful ulcer rears its ugly head. Gels and pastels that contain anaesthetic tend to be the most commonly used treatments, as well as gargling and swallowing soluble paracetamol. Natural relief can also be obtained from chamomile tea, by allowing it to cool and swilling it around the mouth before swallowing.

So what causes those painful lumps or craters in your mouth? Well, accidental damage is often the culprit whether you’ve brushed your teeth too hard, had a minor burn from hot food and drink or bitten your mouth accidentally – the latter is often what happens to cause mine.

You can also become more prone to them if you are feeling rundown or ill, they are more likely to appear before menstruation, can often be stress-related, or the result of injuries to the lining of the mouth caused by a roughened tooth, braces or dentures. Recurrent mouth ulcers can be due to anaemia, a deficiency of vitamin B or folic acid. If you keep experiencing recurring ulcers or have ones that are not healing, please see your doctor for professional advice.

Ulcers can also occur as a result of herpes infection, inflammatory bowel disease and immune disorders, though these are also accompanied with other symptoms.

Be very wary of a mouth ulcer that enlarges slowly or does not heal and lasts longer than three weeks as this can be a sign of mouth cancer. See your doctor or dentist immediately with any concerns. Smokers and drinkers are most at risk.

As a proud north easterner, my latest research with the area’s LAHCC (Look A Head Cancer Campaign) for a nursing healthcare feature led to the discovery that mouth, head and neck cancer rates in my local region are much higher than the national average due to increased smoking and binge drinking. Though the cancers are more common in men and women over 40, they can also occur in younger people too.

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Men’s health week: Bupa’s online health clinic – don’t be shy, just ask away

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If the thought of going to see your doctor and discussing anything health-related leaves you in a cold sweat, dear male readers, get online and take advantage of Bupa’s live free men’s health clinics commencing Monday in support of Men’s Health Week, which runs June 13th-19th and aims to get more men accessing quality health information online. 

The clinic sessions give you the perfect opportunity to ask the health questions you have always wanted to know but may have been too afraid to ask.

Via Bupa’s Facebook and Twitter channels, for two hours each day, Monday to Friday, Bupa’s medical team will be on hand to answer any health questions which are concerning men or their partners, while offering free medical advice and support. Anonymous postings, confidential responses and direct messages are welcomed, so please don’t let bashfulness put you off.

Though each session focuses on a different area of men’s health, questions about ALL aspects of men’s health and wellbeing will be taken by the experts including leading GP’s, dietitians and physiotherapists.

Daily clinic topics and timings are: Monday 13th June – men’s fitness 12-2pm / Tuesday 14th June – men’s sexual health 12-2pm / Wednesday 15th June – men’s nutrition 6-8pm / Thursday 16th June – general men’s health 12-2pm and Friday 17th June men’s mental health 12-2pm.

With Bupa research revealing over a third of men do not do anything to check their health, do use this week to get online and delve into the masses of free expert advice and alleviate all those questions and concerns about your health.

I’d really love to hear your comments and receive the odd retweet too, big thanks if you can help…