Recurrent aphthous stomatitis

Clin Dermatol. 2016 Jul-Aug;34(4):475-81. doi: 10.1016/j.clindermatol.2016.02.020. Epub 2016 Mar 2.


Recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS) is the most common acute oral ulcerative condition in North America. RAS is divided into a mild, common form, simple aphthosis, and a severe, less common form, complex aphthosis. Aphthosis is a reactive condition. The lesions of RAS can represent the mucosal manifestation of a variety of conditions. These include conditions with oral and genital aphthae such as ulcus vulvae acutum, reactive nonsexually related acute genital ulcers, and Behçet disease. The mouth is the beginning of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, and the lesions of RAS can be a manifestation of GI diseases such as gluten-sensitive enteropathy, ulcerative colitis, and Crohn disease. Complex aphthosis may also have correctable causes. The clinician should seek these in a careful evaluation. Successful management of both simple and complex aphthosis depends on accurate diagnosis, proper classification, recognition of provocative factors, and the identification of associated diseases. The outlook for patients with both simple and complex aphthosis is positive.

MeSH terms

  • Behcet Syndrome / complications
  • Behcet Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Genital Diseases, Female / etiology
  • Humans
  • Risk Factors
  • Skin Ulcer / etiology
  • Stomatitis, Aphthous / classification
  • Stomatitis, Aphthous / diagnosis*
  • Stomatitis, Aphthous / drug therapy*
  • Stomatitis, Aphthous / etiology

Supplementary concepts

  • Sutton disease 2