Leukoplakia is a disorder of the mucous membranes. Symptoms consist of white, grey or red patches that form on the tongue, inside of the mouth, or, more rarely, the female vulva. These patches are thick, slightly raised, and often present a hardened surface. Areas of leukoplakia may be sensitive to touch, heat or spicy foods.
The cause of leukoplakia is not clear, but it often develops in response to chronic irritation, such as rough surfaces on dentures, fillings or crowns. One special type, known as hairy leukoplakia, involves a viral infection; it is found only in people who are HIV-positive.
Leukoplakia is associated with an increased risk of cancer in the affected area. Removing an identifiable irritant may resolve the problem. In some cases, surgical treatment is advised.
Principal Proposed Natural Treatments
Lycopene is a
While one study cannot prove a treatment effective, these findings are definitely promising. For more information, including dosage and safety issues, see the
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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