[Clinical manifestations of the mouth revealing Vitamin B12 deficiency before the onset of anemia]

Ann Dermatol Venereol. 2003 Feb;130(2 Pt 1):191-4.
[Article in French]


Introduction: The association of manifestations in the mouth and Vitamin B12 deficiency is already known. The signs are not specific to Vitamin B12 deficiency, however they may reveal the deficiency and this is often ignored and leads to delays in diagnosis. We report two cases of Vitamin B12 deficiency revealed by stomatodynia, glossitis and erosions in the mouth.

Observations: Two women aged 51 and 76 years consulted, one for atrophic glossitis and the other for stomatodynia that had progressed over the past few months. No other symptoms were present. The biological examinations revealed isolated macrocytosis without anemia. Vitamin B12 could not be measured in the serum. The symptoms regressed in less than one month following replacement therapy.

Discussion: As with our two patients, the majority of cases of Vitamin B12 deficiency reported in the literature were only discovered several months or years after their onset, or were treated for other causes. Vitamin B12 deficiency leads to severe neuropathies. The neurological damage is reversible when replacement therapy is initiated early. Since the oral signs appear before the modification in the systemic markers of deficiency, it is crucial that these signs be recognized and diagnosed before the occurrence of severe after effects.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anemia / complications*
  • Anemia / diagnosis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Glossitis / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Mouth Diseases / etiology*
  • Stomatitis / etiology*
  • Vitamin B 12 Deficiency / complications*
  • Vitamin B 12 Deficiency / diagnosis*