For those living with multiple sclerosis, mouth sores might be a recurring complaint. Given the complicated nature of MS, mouth sores may be indicative of different problems.
Multiple Sclerosis, Mouth Sores and IBD
First of all, it is important to point out that, in many patients, multiple sclerosis does not occur in isolation. Many patients with multiple sclerosis also have other diseases or conditions. It has actually been shown that people with one inflammatory disease are highly likely to develop another. In keeping with this observation, people suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) have demonstrated an elevated risk of developing multiple sclerosis.
The symptoms of IBD can affect the entire gastrointestinal tract. They are also often exhibited outside the digestive system. Thus, it is not unusual for those suffering from IBD to have fever, stomach cramps, diarrhea, weight-loss, joint-swelling and mouth ulcers. The mouth ulcers are of particular interest because they may occur in a patient who also has multiple sclerosis. When that happens, the patient may associate the mouth ulcers directly with the multiple sclerosis and refer to them as multiple sclerosis mouth sores.
In such patients, the precise relationship between IBD and multiple sclerosis is worthy of further consideration. It is worth investigating whether the IBD triggered the multiple sclerosis or whether the two conditions were in fact triggered by the same set of genetic or environmental factors. Another possible link between the two inflammatory conditions has been identified by researchers: it has been suggested that some of the newer medications used to treat IBD play a role in causing multiple sclerosis. However, this latter association does not account for all cases in which IBD and MS coincide: the medications in question are relatively new while observations of an association between IBD and MS go back further in time.
MS, Mouth Sores and Lyme Disease
Mouth sores are sometimes attributable to Lyme disease, a bacterial infection that is transmitted to humans by ticks. Some of the effects of Lyme disease are felt in the CNS. Additionally, Lyme disease triggers an autoimmune process of sorts in the body, causing inflammation and associated problems. In these two ways, Lyme disease is similar to MS. Given that mouth sores have been associated with Lyme disease, it is possible for patients suffering from both Lyme disease and MS to suffer from mouth sores. For these patients with Lyme disease and MS, mouth sores can be terribly painful.
Other Explanations for Suspected Multiple Sclerosis Mouth Sores
A number of MS patients experience the sensation of burning pain in the mouth. They may assume they have mouth sores or ulcers, but close examination reveals none of these. These patients may actually be suffering from pain triggered by MS lesions in the tissue of the nervous system.