Gluten Sensitivity & Mouth Ulcers

by Faydra on July 11, 2009

in News,Research

A Study Reveals New Information About Recurrent Mouth Ulcers & Gluten Intolerance

This revealing study shows a relationship between individuals with persistent mouth ulcers recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS) and the protein, gluten,  found in (yes, you know this already  :-) )wheat, barley & rye.

Usually we think of recurrent mouth ulcers or canker sores (that’s what I’ve always called them) are associated with stress, emotional & physical (i.e. after you bite your lip) or other infections, viral, etc.  Some other associations are with certain foods, for example eating lots of high acid foods, tomatoes, citrus, etc.  However, this study states another very interesting cause of canker sores. These recurrent ulcers may be the sole manifestation in 5% of those with Gluten Sensitive Enteropathy (GSE).  Are the your wheels turning?  Mine are!

The researchers chose to avoid the controversy in the definition of Celiac Disease, so they used the term “Gluten Sensitive Enteropathy (GSE) rather than celiac disease to describe patients with any degrees of intestinal damage together with positive serologic tests. The 247 people in the study experienced major canker sores at least three times in one year.  The researchers measured these individuals for celiac disease markers and then assessed the efficacy of gluten free diet on the improvement of the mouth ulcers in those diagnosed with GSE.

This study was done in Iran where the overall prevalence of GSE is 0.96% of the general population.  The study found in the RAS patients, the prevalence of gluten sensitivity to be 2.83%.  It is a “significant minority” and one worthy of evaluation of celiac disease in these patients, according the authors of this study.  Those in the study who kept to a strict gluten free diet benefited from a “significant improvement within 2-6 months after beginning of GFD.  Furthermore anemia resolved after 6 months of follow up in the two patients who suffered from anemia.”

“Many physicians may still consider the gastrointestinal signs and symptoms as a main manifestation of celiac patients whereas recent studies demonstrated that gastrointestinal presentations may be absent in GSE patients especially in the beginning of the disease. In this study, none of our GSE patients had any gastrointestinal symptoms. Therefore, gastrointestinal symptoms are sometimes absent in the setting of the disease and RAS could be the first or the sole presentation of GSE.”
Published June 17, 2009 in the professional journal, BMC Gastroenterology.

This is definitely food for thought, isn’t it?  I hope this new information can prevent others from suffering long-term, chronic effects of undiagnosed celiac disease.

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  • Melanie

    THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS! YES, my wheels are indeed turning. I am immediately going to try to go GF and see if that helps me! I have zero gastrointestinal symptoms but have been battling self-diagnosed RAS for 3+ years. (As you can imagine, I’ve tried many things to help or control it.) Thanks again!

    • http://www.glutenfreesavvy.com Faydra

      You are so welcome!! I hope you see improvement soon!! ?

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