Oral Manifestations of Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Review Based on the Observation of Six Cases

J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2010 Feb;24(2):204-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-3083.2009.03304.x. Epub 2009 Jun 22.


Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) comprises two chronic, tissue-destructive, clinical entities: Crohn's disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC), both immunologically based. Bowel symptoms are predominant, but extra-intestinal complications may occur, including involvement of the oral cavity. Oral involvement during IBD includes several types of lesions: the most common are aphthae; uncommon lesions include, among others, pyostomatitis vegetans and granulomatous lesions of CD. Starting with a presentation of six patients with oral manifestations, which were crucial for the final diagnosis of IBD, a review on the subject is presented. Oral involvement in IBD may be previous or simultaneous to the gastrointestinal symptoms. However, in the majority of cases, bowel disease precedes the onset of oral lesions by months or years. In many patients, the intestinal symptoms may be minimal and can go undetected; thus, most authors believe that the bowel must be thoroughly examined in all patients with suspected IBD even in the absence of specific symptoms. Usually, the clinical course of oral lesions is parallel to the activity of IBD; therefore, oral manifestations are a good cutaneous marker of IBD.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / complications*
  • Mouth Diseases / complications*