Several different types of sores affect the mouth, lips and gums. The most common are canker sores, cold sores and chancre sores. Many individuals mistake one type of sore for another or confuse a harmless mouth ulcer for an ominous warning sign of a sexual transmitted disease.
Canker sores are not sexually transmitted. They are apthous ulcers that occur in the lining of the mouth. You cannot catch a canker sore from someone displaying symptoms of the ulcer. The sores occur inside the mouth, not outside like cold sores, and are white with red borders around the white sore. Canker sores are extremely painful and it can take between one and three weeks for the sore to completely heal. Doctors believe canker sores are often caused by malnutrition or trauma to the mouth. Even eating acidic foods can trigger canker sore attacks. These sores occur in women more frequently than men and may be accompanied with a fever or feelings of fatigue.
Canker sores heal on their own in a matter of weeks. The pain can be controlled with acetaminophen or ibuprofen and topical treatments can be applied directly to the sore to ease discomfort while eating, drinking or brushing. Topical medications include anbesol, orajel and orabase, just to name a few. If you have a canker sore that will not heal, consult your physician as it may be a sign of cancer. Remember canker sores are not cancerous and will not turn into cancer so if you have a mouth ulcer that will not heal, it is not a canker sore.
Cold sores are sexually transmitted diseases and are extremely contagious. Cold sores, or fever blisters, are caused by the herpes simplex virus. When an active blister is present, even friendly kissing can lead to transmission of the virus. During an outbreak, herpes can be spread to the lips, genitals and anus. Oral herpes cause fever blisters to flare up on and around the lips. The sores appear as blisters that crust over in a few days and heal completely in about a week and a half. The sores are painful and an overall feeling of lethargy is common.
Herpes has no cure. Legions typically occur most frequently after the first year of exposure. The virus lies dormant inside the body until another outbreak appears. The immune system becomes more adapt at suppressing the virus over a period of time. In individuals with weaken immune systems, it may be necessary to treat the virus with daily antiviral pills. The best treatment of oral and genital herpes is prevention. If you do not know the status of yourself or your partner, be checked and know for sure.
Chancre sores present during the first stage of syphilis and may be found on the lips, mouth, tongue, genitals, anus, breasts and nipples. The sores are usually painless. The first sign of syphilis is often one sore at the location where syphilis first entered the body. The chancre sores are hard, small and round. The time between first contact and the first symptom (the chancre sore) varies between 10 and 90 days.
A single dose of penicillin can cure syphilis in someone who has been infected for less than a year. In cases of syphilis lasting more than a year, several shots may be necessary to kill the bacteria completely. The bacterium is entirely destroyed with treatment; however, the initial damage cannot be repaired. It is important for people who are at risk for syphilis to be tested regularly. In late stages of the disease, it is common to see severe damage to the internal organs. Coordinating muscle movement becomes difficult, paralysis and blindness can occur, and death is possible in the latent stages of syphilis.