Mucositis is when your mouth or gut is sore and inflamed. It’s a common side effect of chemotherapy and radiotherapy for cancer. It can be very unpleasant, but usually stops in a few weeks.

Things you can do to help

If you’re having cancer treatment, there are some things you can do to help prevent and ease mucositis.

Tell your care team if you’re having cancer treatment and get:

  • a sore mouth
  • mouth ulcers
  • difficulty swallowing, eating or talking
  • a dry mouth and lips
  • diarrhoea, bleeding from your bottom, or pain when pooing

These are symptoms of mucositis. They usually begin around 1 to 2 weeks after starting cancer treatment.

Treatments for mucositis

Mucositis should get better within a few weeks of finishing cancer treatment.

Your care team can offer treatments to ease it, such as:

  • mouthwashes that clean, numb and protect your mouth
  • painkillers
  • sprays or gels to keep your mouth moist (saliva substitutes)
  • medicines to stop diarrhoea or reduce soreness inside your bottom (rectum)

Talking to others can help

You may also find it useful to chat to people in a similar situation or who have had cancer treatment before.

Ask your care team about support groups in your area.

You could also try an online forum like: