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How Do I Choose the Best Leukoplakia Treatment?

Surgery with a scalpel is often used to remove cancer.
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  • Written By: A. Pasbjerg
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2014
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When choosing a leukoplakia treatment, you need to consider several factors. It is important to look at what is causing the problem. Leukoplakia lesions typically develop in the mouth due to some ongoing irritation, though they can sometimes also form on a woman's genitalia for no apparent reason. Once the irritant is removed, the sore will often clear on its own, but if it does not, a doctor may need to remove it surgically. In cases of hairy leukoplakia, a variation of the condition where the lesion is fuzzy and thrush-like, treatment is usually with medication.

The main components of most leukoplakia treatment are identifying the irritant that has caused a lesion to form in the mouth and removing it. One of the most common causes of leukoplakia is tobacco use, which irritates the tissues in the mouth; if you smoke or chew tobacco, quitting can help clear sores in your mouth. Rough areas on your teeth or dental work that scrape against the inside of your mouth may also be to blame and should be corrected by a dentist. Alcohol should also be avoided, as ongoing exposure to it can also aggravate your mouth and lead to leukoplakia. Once the source of the irritation is gone, the condition often goes away spontaneously.

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If you have a mouth lesion that does not clear up by itself, you may need to consider surgery as part of your leukoplakia treatment. This may be the best option for you, particularly if the lesion is tested and shows signs of becoming cancerous, which happens in a small percentage of cases. Generally, your doctor will give you local anesthesia and then remove the leukoplakia with a laser, scalpel, or a cold probe which freezes it. The same techniques can be used for women with the genital form as well.

Hairy leukoplakia treatment is somewhat different as the source of the lesion is different. These painless, fuzzy, white or gray sores are caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. This type of leukoplakia is often a problem for patients with HIV, and may even be an early sign that a patient has it. You may choose to wait and see if the problem resolves itself, or your doctor may prescribe medication to help it clear. This can include systemic antiviral drugs like valacyclovir and famciclovir, or topical medications like podophyllum resin solution and tretinoin.

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anon351132
Post 5

There is a major difference between Leukoplakia and hairy Leukoplakia. Usually, hairy Leukoplakia occurs on the upper and lower or sides of the tongue. The major cause of hairy Leukoplakia is a weak immune system, or may be due to HIV.

You must meet with your dentist or oral specialist doctor treatment for hairy Leukoplakia. Your doctor may suggest anti-fungal medicine for you.

Although non-hairy Leukoplakia usually occurs inside your cheek, it may be large in size and the main cause of Leukopalika is chewing tobacco. Smoking or use of alcohol with smoking, can also be harmful with leukoplakia.

Surgery for Leukoplakia is not a good idea because recurrence is common. In this case, the best treatment for Leukoplakia is to remove the source of the irritant. If you are using chewing tobacco, smoking or using alcohol, you must stop completely. Most leukoplakia disappears gradually within months, or within a year after removing the source of it.

bear78
Post 4

I had a biopsy and my leukoplakia was found to be non-cancerous. I didn't have to have it removed. I just take multivitamins and pay attention to oral hygiene.

bluedolphin
Post 3

@anon321303-- Dental work can definitely cause leukoplakia. Mine were caused by medicated mouthwash. All types of irritants are bad for the mouth. I didn't want to have them removed but my doctor said that treatment for leukoplakia has to be removal because it is considered pre-malignant, even if we didn't think so. The excision procedure wasn't too bad but I had some pain for several weeks.

I guess I did the right thing because if they had turned into tumors, I would have needed radiation therapy.

donasmrs
Post 2

@anon321303-- Do you have hairy leukoplakia?

As far as I know hairy leukoplakia occurs because of a weakened immune system. I don't mean to scare you because there are lots of possible underlying causes for these lesions, but hairy leukoplakia is common among HIV and AIDS patients. There is no treatment for leukoplakia in this case except to treat HIV/AIDS.

You're right that leukoplakia generally goes away on its own. If it doesn't though, it could be pre-cancerous. You should get it tested to find out. If the doctor thinks it's dangerous, he will remove it and unless you get new lesions, it will fine.

I had two leukoplakia lesions when I was smoking. I had them removed and quit smoking and haven't had them again.

anon321303
Post 1

It seems my leukoplakia started after dental work. It's been a year, and I don't smoke, so there's no other reason for it not to go away.

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