Picture of Aphthous Ulcer of the Uvula
This page was last updated: April 21, 2020

Aphthous ulcers are a common and painful problem. Benign aphthae tend to be small (less than 1 cm in diameter) and shallow. Aphthous ulcers that occur in conjunction with symptoms of uveitis, genital ulcerations, conjunctivitis, arthritis, fever or adenopathy should prompt a search for a serious etiology. The lack of clarity regarding the etiology of aphthous ulcers has resulted in treatments that are largely empiric. These treatments include antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, immune modulators, anesthetics and alternative (herbal) remedies. (Am Fam Physician 2000;62:149-54,160.)

Aphthous ulcers can be classified into three different types: minor, major and herpetiform. Minor aphthae are generally located on labial or buccal mucosa, the soft palate and the floor of the mouth. They can be singular or multiple, and tend to be small (less than 1 cm in diameter) and shallow. Major aphthae are larger and involve deeper ulceration. Major aphthae may also be more likely to scar with healing. Herpetiform aphthae frequently are more numerous and vesicular in morphology. Patients with benign aphthous ulcers should have no other findings such as fever, adenopathy, gastrointestinal symptoms or other skin or mucous-membrane symptoms.

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Aphtous ulcer of the uvula.