Gastroenterology clinic

How I deal with recurrent aphthous ulceration

Katherine Ellard



Aphthous ulcers are very common. Most cases settle without treatment, but a small percentage of patients suffer painful recurrences that affect their quality of life. This month, Dr Ellard describes her approach to managing patients with recurrent aphthous ulceration.

Article Extract

  • Approximately 25% of the population has experienced aphthous ulceration at some time.
  • Aphthous ulcers are more likely to occur in people who do not smoke. People who smoke may experience a recurrence when they cease smoking.
  • Some patients believe that their ulcers flare in response to stress. Some women say that flares occur in the premenstrual week.
  • Very rarely, recurrent aphthous ulceration is associated with another condition, such as coeliac disease, Crohn’s disease, Behçet’s disease or AIDS.