Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.

Can Vitamin Deficiency Cause Mouth Pain?

Tuesday, 07 May 2013 01:07 PM

By Peter Hibberd, M.D.

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Question: My mom is 80 and is having a problem with her mouth. She can't eat things with pepper or spices and is losing weight. Could this be caused by a vitamin deficiency or thyroid problems?

Dr. Hibberd’s answer:
 
Spice sensitivity is common, and may be associated with inflamed tissues in the mouth due to infection or oral lesions caused by vitamin B or vitamin C deficiency.
 
Weight loss in the elderly is always concerning, and this always raises red flags for me. Diet is the most common cause of weight loss, but vitamin deficiency alone is not what causes it. Thyroid problems won’t produce weight loss. Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) will increase appetite.
 
Fatigue and weight loss at age 80 may be from poor nutrition, depression, malignancy, and almost any medical disorder, especially diabetes, TB, heart disease, kidney failure, or infection. She is overdue to see her doctor for an evaluation.

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