Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. UC causes inflammation in the colon, which triggers a number of symptoms, including diarrhea, abdominal pain, and bloody stools. UC can also cause sores to develop in a person’s mouth.

People with UC often experience their symptoms in flare-ups, which occur before a period of remission. During remission, a person may experience fewer symptoms than usual or no symptoms at all.

Common symptoms of UC include:

A person with UC may also experience fatigue, a loss of appetite, fever, nausea, and anemia.

This article will explain the link between UC and mouth sores, including which medications can cause them. It will give some treatment tips for people with UC who are experiencing mouth sores.

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UC can cause sores to develop in any part of a person’s gastrointestinal tract. This means that sores can develop anywhere from the person’s anus to their mouth.

A person with UC may experience different types of mouth sores, including ulcers and pustules.

Below are some types of mouth sores and other mouth issues that UC can cause.

Canker sores are small mouth ulcers that often appear between the lower lip and the gum. They also sometimes appear along the side or base of the tongue.

Canker sores tend to appear during severe UC flare-ups and often go away once the flare-up has finished.

These sores can be painful and may make it difficult to eat and speak.

Pyostomatitis vegetan (PV) is a rare and chronic condition that causes lots of white or yellow pustules to develop inside a person’s mouth.

UC and Crohn’s disease can both cause PV to develop. But PV is more common in people with UC than Crohn’s disease, according to a 2013 study.

Medical professionals strongly link PV with inflammatory bowel disease, and PV may be the first noticeable sign that a person has the disease.

People with UC may also experience a change of taste.

One 2020 study showed reduced taste sensitivity to specific flavors in people with inflammatory bowel disease. They experienced a reduction in taste when eating sweet, salty, bitter, umami, and fatty tasting foods.

But people with inflammatory bowel disease actually had an increased perception of sour flavors when compared with people without the disease.

People with UC may also notice they have a dry mouth. This condition may be due to certain drugs that people with UC take, which can cause dry mouth. These include corticosteroids, antidiarrheal drugs, and anti-inflammatory drugs.

One 2012 study into the oral manifestations of UC showed that 30% of people with the disease had dry mouth compared with 10% of people without the disease.

Learn some home remedies for dry mouth here.

Bad breath is sometimes called halitosis. This condition is also associated with UC.

This may be related to dry mouth, as saliva tends to wash away dead cells and bacteria that are present in a person’s mouth.

Learn some home remedies for bad breath here.

A person with UC may experience mouth sores as a result of side effects from certain medications. But a person should always discuss any changes to their medication with their doctor first.


Aminosalicylates are drugs that medical professionals often use to treat UC. They reduce inflammation in the lining of the intestine.

One side effect of these drugs is that they may cause sores to appear in a person’s mouth.

If a person does develop mouth sores when taking aminosalicylates, they should tell their doctor immediately.


Medical professionals also use corticosteroids to treat UC.

While there is little evidence that corticosteroids can cause ulcers in the mouth, there is evidence linking these drugs with the occurrence of candidiasis in the mouth.

Candidiasis is a fungal infection that causes white patches to develop inside the mouth and throat. This can cause soreness in the mouth and may affect a person’s taste.

Learn more about medications and treatments for UC here.

Canker sores and other mouth sores often heal on their own without the need for treatment. But there are some treatment options and home remedies that a person may wish to try.

Medical treatment

A person may also wish to use medical treatments for their mouth sores. These include:

  • topical gels or creams
  • pain relief or anti-inflammatory mouthwashes
  • nutritional supplements, such as folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, and zinc
  • steroid gels
  • anti-inflammatory medications

A person may wish to take pain relief medication to manage any pain their mouth sores cause. Pain relief medications may include Tylenol or ibuprofen.

There is no proven method of preventing mouth sores. But there are a number of things that people can try that may help prevent them from developing. These include:

  • avoiding very hot food and drinks
  • avoiding abrasive foods and food that may stick in the mouth
  • avoiding spicy and acidic foods
  • practicing regular good dental hygiene
  • using a soft toothbrush and avoiding scratching the inside of the mouth
  • chewing slowly
  • taking vitamin B supplements
  • avoiding smoking or using tobacco
  • drinking plenty of water

Learn more about mouth sores here.

Generally, mouth sores go away on their own. But a person may wish to speak with a doctor if they have mouth sores that stay for more than 3 weeks without reducing.

They may also wish to contact a doctor if their mouth sores worsen with or without treatment.

A person may also wish to speak with a doctor if they get mouth sores that come and go frequently.

UC is a type of inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation and ulcers to occur in a person’s colon.

This can cause symptoms such as diarrhea, rectal bleeding, abdominal pain, and abdominal cramps. Another possible symptom of UC is the development of mouth sores. A person may also experience other oral symptoms such as dry mouth, taste changes, and bad breath.

Most mouth sores go away without the need for treatment. But a person may wish to try some home remedies such as using ice, milk of magnesia, salt, tea bags, and baking soda.

If mouth sores last for longer than 3 weeks without improving or continue to come and go more frequently than 2–3 times a year, a person may wish to contact their doctor.