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Canker sores are small ulcers that form in the mouth and cause pain, tenderness, or discomfort.

So what are canker sores a symptom of? Although most canker sores are harmless, they can be a sign of a more serious medical condition such as celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, or Behcet’s disease.

Common Causes of Canker Sores

In most cases, canker sores are caused by minor mouth irritation, food sensitivities, emotional stress, or a diet low in vitamin B12, iron, folic acid, or zinc.

If you experience canker sores regularly, it could be a symptom of another medical condition, including:

  • Celiac disease – an autoimmune disorder that makes it hard for a person to digest gluten. With celiac disease, gluten — a protein found in barley and rye — prompts the immune system to attack the small intestine, leading to malnutrition and severe stomach pain.
  • Crohn’s disease – an inflammatory bowel disease that leads to severe diarrhea, fatigue, abdominal pain, malnutrition, and weight loss. Crohn’s disease inflames the lining of the digestive tract and can spread deep into the layers of affected bowel tissue.
  • Behcet’s disease – a rare condition that causes blood vessel inflammation. Although Behcet’s disease can affect almost any area of the body, it impacts the mouth, skin, genitals, eyes, and joints the most.

According to Mayo Clinic, “Anyone can develop canker sores. But they occur more often in teens and young adults, and they’re more common in females.”

It’s important to note that canker sores are not the same as cold sores, which are caused by the herpes virus.

Canker Sore Treatment

Treatment for Canker Sores and Other Symptoms at FastMedIn most cases, canker sores can be treated with over-the-counter mouth rinses, topical products, or oral medications. Common canker sore medications include:

  • Benzocaine
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Fluocinonide

If you experience canker sores often, it may be time to see a medical professional. FastMed Urgent Care is available seven days a week and offers extended hours for your convenience.

Find a FastMed Urgent Care near you today! We accept most major insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid.


Mayo Clinic:

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