What is Mucositis?
Our digestive system – that is, from mouth to the rectum, is lined by a soft, wet slimy substance called mucous, that keeps it safe and moist. When this barrier is affected due to medications/illness/chemotherapy/radiation, it can cause inflammation and ulcers to form on this lining. This is called mucositis.
What does it cause in the mouth?
- Pain in the mouth
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Bleeding in the mouth
- Ulcers in the mouth
- Bad smell in mouth
- Pus in mouth
- Decreased sleep
- Decreased appetite – dehydration, loss of weight, nutritional deficiency, gaps in treatment plan
What can it cause in the tummy?
- Abdominal discomfort
- Abdominal pain – crampy
- Decreased appetite
- Increased frequency of stools
- Watery stools
- Irritation at the rectal area
Overall it will affect you with:
- Increased stay in hospital
- Increased expenditure on treatment
- Nutritional deficiency
- Gaps in treatment plan
- Reduction in quality of life
What can increase the chance of mucositis or make the mucositis worse?
- If oral health was poor before starting treatment/ while treatment ongoing
- Habits such as eating paan, smoking, alcohol consumption
- If nutritional status and hydration are poor before treatment
- If there are other chronic conditions such as diabetes
- The history of medications needs to be shown to your doctor
- Mouth breathing
- Ill-fitting dentures
- Concurrent chemotherapy and radiation
- Dry mouth
- Depends on the chemotherapy regimen
- Depends on the location of the malignancy