Canker sores are painful, open sores that develop on the inside of the mouth. They can have a yellow or white rim and generally are positioned on top of a swollen red bump. While they look and feel dreadful they are relatively benign in nature and are not contagious. Doctors think that there are a several things that can lead to the development of canker sores, and stress is one of the top causes.
Stress – What Is It?
Stress is something that taxes your body. It can be physical, emotional or psychological. Physical stress is caused by things like illnesses, physically demanding jobs and pregnancy. Emotional stress is caused by things like going through a divorce, anticipating a child going off to college and dealing with the death of a close friend or family member. Psychological stress occurs when emotional stress is so sever that is impacts your psychological health. Psychological disorders like depression, anxiety and substance abuse disorders all cause stress.
Stress and Your Immune System
When your body is under stress, whether it is physical, emotional, psychological or a combination of stressors, your immune system is less efficient. This leaves your body susceptible to things like infections, injuries and illnesses. This is why when you are under a lot of stress that you tend to catch colds and feel weak.
Stress, Your Immune System and Canker Sores
It is suspected that canker sores are caused by the same bacterial infection that causes peptic ulcers, H. pyori. If you are under enough stress to weaken your immune system you have a greater chance of developing a bacterial infection of H. pyori which can lead to the development of canker sores. This means that stress indirectly leads to the development of canker sores by weakening your body’s natural defense system to bacterial infections.
Preventing Canker Sores
If your canker sores seem to be triggered by stress then you are in luck as there are many ways to reduce the amount of stress you are under. The first option that you have for stress reduction is to learn when to ask for help. No body can do everything by themselves. By learning to ask for help on occasion you will reduce your stress load and help improve the quality of the work that you complete, and most importantly you will reduce the number of canker sores that you get.
Your second option is to exercise. Exercise not only will make you physically stronger, it will help to produce brain chemicals that will make you emotionally stronger and more resistant to the effects of stress. This will in turn help to prevent canker sores from developing.
Your final option is to learn how to relax. You can relieve stress by soaking in a hot bath perfumed with lavender, you can meditate or you can get a massage. All of these options will help you to relieve stress, preserve your immune system and help you to prevent the development of canker sores.