Numbness of lips may be experienced as an abnormal sensation or tingling. There may be a complete or a fractional lack of feeling in the lip. There are several causes of numbness of the lips, ranging from mild to severe. Also, the condition may be acute or chronic, depending on the cause and underlying condition.
Numbness may be due to exposure to cold temperature, an allergic reaction, or due to certain drugs and medications. It could also be a sign of neuropathy, wherein the nerves fail to carry signals between the lip and the brain. Neuropathy may be because of nutritional insufficiency, exposure to poisonous chemicals, or certain diseases.
Numbness may be a symptom of a life threatening condition, such as, anaphylaxis, hyperventilation, or ingestion of toxins.
Numb lips may occur in association with other symptoms, which vary depending up on the underlying disease. Symptoms affecting the lips and mouth tend to involve other body systems.
Commonly seen symptoms that accompany numb lips include: burning sensation, bleeding, tingling and pins and needles sensation, swelling, redness, and heat.
Causes Of Upper Lip Numbness
There are diverse causes of numbness of the lips and they vary from mild to severe. Grave factors responsible for numbness of lips include – allergic reactions and neuropathy, in which the nerves fail to conduct messages between the brain and the lips.
Common causes are:
- Cold temperature.
- Allergic reaction to some foods.
- Vitamin deficiency.
- Side effects of certain drugs and medicines.
- Raynaud’s syndrome – i.e. spasm of the small blood vessels of the toes and the fingers, which results in the diminution of blood circulation.
- Tetany – i.e. contractions of the muscle caused due to low levels of calcium in the blood.
Numb lips may also occur due to:
- Exposure to noxious chemicals.
- Diabetes mellitus.
- Guillain-Barré syndrome.
- Ischemia – i.e. inadequate blood flow to the lips.
- Lyme disease – i.e. bacterial infection that is spread by ticks.
- Multiple sclerosis, a disorder that afflicts the brain and the spinal cord resulting in poor coordination, weakness and fatigue, balance difficulties, etc.
Causes that could be life threatening include:
- Ingestion of toxins, such as, ingesting some chemicals, consuming poisonous plants, and consuming wild, inedible mushrooms.
Treatment For Numbness In Lips
The treatment of numbness of the lip depends up on the etiological factor responsible. Your doctor will assess your condition, order a few diagnostic tests and investigations and determine the course of action.
- Numbness due to vitamin insufficiency can be easily corrected with supplementation. By and large, vitamin B complex and folic acid supplements are recommended for about 2 months. This will make up for the deficit speedily. Also, your doctor will prescribe a wholesome and nutritious diet to prevent recurrences.
- Numbness due to allergic reactions and reactions to certain medicines and drugs stops once the offending agent is removed. Talk to your physician about the drugs that you may be taking.
- Disorders such as multiple sclerosis, hypothyroidism, diabetes, Guillain-Barré syndrome, Raynaud’s syndrome and Lyme disease call for a more specific approach and a suitable line of treatment.
- Cancer treatment may comprise of radiation therapy, chemotherapy and possibly surgical intervention.
- Life threatening cases such as hyperventilation and anaphylaxis necessitates immediate medical attention.