How to Treat Mucositis?

  • December 01, 2023
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How to Treat Mucositis?

What is Mucositis?

Mucositis, a common and often painful consequence of specific medical treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy, manifests as inflammation and ulceration in the mucous membranes that line the digestive tract. This includes the mouth, throat, and the gastrointestinal tract. The condition significantly affects the quality of life for individuals undergoing cancer treatment or other medical interventions that target rapidly dividing cells. It presents as a distressing inflammation of the mucosa, the protective mucous membrane throughout the entire gastrointestinal (GI) tract, extending from the oral cavity to the intestines.

While mucous membranes are present in various body cavities and canals, mucositis primarily impacts those in the digestive system, particularly the oral mucosa. This distressing condition often emerges as a side effect of specific cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or stem cell transplants, commonly known as bone marrow transplants.

Why Does Mucositis Occur?

Mucositis occurs as a result of damage to the rapidly dividing cells lining the mucous membranes. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy, while effective in targeting cancer cells, can also harm healthy cells that divide quickly, such as those in the mucous membranes. The damage leads to inflammation, ulceration, and discomfort in the affected areas.

How Does Mucositis Manifest?

The symptoms of mucositis can vary in severity and may include pain, redness, swelling, and the development of ulcers. In the case of oral mucositis, individuals may experience difficulty swallowing, speaking, and eating. Gastrointestinal mucositis can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, and other digestive issues. The severity of mucositis often depends on factors such as the type and dosage of treatment, individual susceptibility, and overall health.