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
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • 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


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