Last updated on January 12th, 2018
Do you become frightened when you get your lips going numb? What causes numbness on lips? Is there anything best to do to address this kind of problem?
Anyone can get numb upper lip or lower lip. However, what is it? Let us internalize numbing of lips in terms of symptoms accompanied.
- 1 What does it mean to get numb lips?
- 2 Lip numbness symptoms
- 3 Numb lips or numbness in or on lip causes
- 4 Serious or life-threatening numb lip – causes & symptoms
- 5 Symptoms of a life-threatening condition
- 6 Upper or lower lip numbness
- 7 Numbness on face and lips
- 8 Quick treatment remedy for numbness in lip
What does it mean to get numb lips?
What does numb lips mean? Numbness in lips (the upper or lower lip) can be a symptom itself or a condition in which an unnatural sensation is felt. When lips numb or get numb lips, you experience an abnormal sensation. This abnormal sensation may be partial or complete, that is, there is no feeling at all.
As we shall see below, the causes of numb lips can be mild or serious to an extent that it can be life threatening. For instance, if the lip numbness involve a dysfunction in carrying signals between the brain and lips or face or hands or limbs, the condition could be termed as neuropathic.
Lip numbness symptoms
As a symptom, numbness in the lips can go along with itself. However, patients who get numb lips may ex
perience additional symptoms, which may be mild or serious depending on causes.
- Sting sensation
- Redness on the lips
- Tingling or mild pricking sensation
The mild symptoms can be treated easily but the serious ones should be taken seriously or reported to respective authority such as an emergency health team.
Numb lips or numbness in or on lip causes
What causes numbness in lips? Read on to know what could be causing it and whether it is something potentially serious or not.
The causes of lip numbness may be mild or strong. Depending upon the source, in recent times. Below is a discussion to help you find out more and what you should do.
Exposure to extremely cold environment
Numb lips with slight loss in sensation could be the result of exposure to cold temperatures. Numb lips from such external factors are considered mild and should get back to normal sensation.
Keep in mind that your hands, fingers and feet can be affected too when you have least protected them.
Allergic reactions that result to numbing in lips are usually mild. Sources of allergy that lead to lip numbness include foods allergy, chemicals and certain medication or drugs.
Of all allergen sources that result to lip numbness, foods are reportedly the major culprits since not many people really know what kinds of foods can potentially lead to allergy in mouth.
Even though, other substances or lip products as well as the construction materials can cause numb lips. Allergic reactions can affect anyone regardless of age, race or gender. Common symptoms (accompanied) due to allergies may be different depending upon the sources. For instance, food allergens can result in:
- Nausea or actual vomiting
- Tingling in lips
- Rash or bumps
- Formation of blisters around mouth or skin in other body parts
The good news is that not everyone is allergic to a similar substance or food or potential side effects from drugs that are associated with numbness.
Medication that cause lip or facial numbness
Besides medications being one of the possible course of allergic reactions, certain medications can produce side effects that result to lip numbness especially when you are on long-term treatment
The common side effects include sores, rash – redness, itching, etc. Examples of medicines responsible in include dental medicines like Benzocaine.
Does anaesthesia cause numb lips? Another reason for lip numbness is surgical operations that necessitate use of anesthesia or numbing agent.
With most anesthesia that is required during such surgical operations such as tooth removal, an injection or application is required to avoid pain and ache while extracting.
A common symptom expected is tingling and mild numbness that fades away after sometime (a few minutes or hours). The surrounding area including around mouth, gums and roof of mouth may be affected. You could also lose your taste if numbing occurs in tongue.
Some people may complain of itching or irritation especially after lip biting or chewing, which is absolutely unintentional.
Do you experience tingling and mild numbness after taking alcohol? Extreme utilization and excessive consumption of alcoholic spirits or alcohol could lead a loss of sensation.
Other possible reasons for numbness in lips
In addition to the above causes of numb lips, here are other factors that probably account for lip numbness or tingling.
- Lip piercing rings or studs
- Raynaud’s disease or syndrome. This syndrome is mostly secondary to autoimmune disorders such as lupus.
- Multiple sclerosis
Sometimes observable signs may be absent thus there is need to rely on what the patients are exactly describing to be feeling like. Paying attention of other symptoms are therefore key in determining how severe the problem is.
Serious or life-threatening numb lip – causes & symptoms
Below are some of the potentially deadly conditions associated with possible numbness not only the lips but also on other parts of the face, hands and feet.
To begin, one of allergic reactions
A. Neuropathy – peripheral neuropathy
Moving on according to Emedicine Health experts, neuropathy refers to general malfunctions or diseases that affect nerve function. There are a number of neuropathy types namely; autonomic, focal, peripheral and cranial neuropathy.
In focus with our discussion, we shall look at peripheral neuropathy especially, since it is regarded as malfunction outside the central nervous system (the brain and the spinal cord).
Peripheral neuropathy is one of the life-threatening conditions which can be caused by other serious health conditions or other medical reasons including:
- Excessive alcohol abuse
- Physical damage of nerves
- Lyme disease
- Kidney disease with longer-lasting effects on body
- Chronic liver disease
- Medications (e.g. Phenytoin)
- Therapy or cancer treatments
According to NHS Choices, the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy in the UK is diabetes (types 1 and 2).
Symptoms of peripheral neuropathy
There is a significant variation in symptoms depending upon the area and the nerves that are affected. For instance, there could be lip numbness with tingling, extreme sensitivity, muscle weakness, paralysis, etc.
Another life-threatening condition is hypocalcemia. When there is low calcium levels in the blood serum we say you have hypocalcaemia.
Common symptoms of hypocalcemia include
- Numbness in skin around mouth or other parts of body that are affected
- Muscle spasms
- Cardiac arrest
In detail, symptoms that accompany numbness usually cause a tingling sensation, described as pins and needle in the lip tissue.
The limbs and hands may also experience this kind of tingling.
What causes hypocalcaemia? Vitamin D deficiencies, and hypoparathyroidism are common causes. The condition may also be contributed by pancreatitis, kidney failure, tumor lysis syndrome and certain medications.
Hypocalcemia causes life-threatening symptoms which involve the cardiac electrical instability, heart rate and related risks.
C. Mouth (oral) cancer
Mouth cancer can also be a life-threatening condition if the early signs are not detected and appropriate measures or action taken to control growth and spread of the cancer cells.
Some of the cancer of the lip or mouth cancer include:
- Swollen lumps or bumps which are thickening
- Erosions on the gums and nearby areas with unexplained bleeding in the mouth
- A soreness or feeling that something is caught in the back of the throat
- Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
- Hoarseness in voice with a characteristic chronic sore throat
- Presence of white patches or velvety-looking or red patches in the mouth
- Unexplained numbness in face, lips or any area on face
- Persistent sores in mouth that bleed easily and which won’t heal within two weeks
- Pain or tenderness on throat, in face, mouth or lips
Patients may also experience ear pain, weak teeth or dentures. Some people undergo a dramatic weight loss.
There are a good number of internal factors that cause a development in cancer of the mouth. These are some of the risk factors for oral or lip cancer.
- Smoking, chewing tobacco or passive smoking
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Excessive exposure to sun’s UV radiations
D. Transient ischemic attack (stroke)
“A transient ischemic attack (TIA) happens when blood flow to part of the brain is blocked or reduced camera.gif, often by a blood clot.” [www.webmd.com].
Symptoms of TIA in many cases come suddenly and can go away after a short while, however, blood flow remains in a blocked state. These signs/symptoms include:
- Sudden numbness/tingling in face
- Weakness, or loss of movement in arms and feet
- Sudden vision changes.
- Sudden trouble in speech
- Sudden confusion or trouble understanding simple statements
- Sudden problems with walking
Common causes of Transient ischemic attack include hardening of arteries (atherosclerosis), heart attack, or abnormal heart rhythms.
Symptoms of a life-threatening condition
In most or some of the above cases, numb lips may be a symptom of a life-threatening condition. These include:
1. Difficulty swallowing
Even though there could be a totally different reason for trouble in swallowing, if you have a lack of sensation in lips or hands or in lib extremities, call your doctor immediately. Otherwise, help that person by taking them to an emergency health unit as soon as possible.
2. Respiratory or breathing problems
Shortness in breath, inability to breathe or difficulty in breathing symptomized or described as wheezing, or choking and blurred speech should be taken very serious.
3. Unexplained for swelling
Another symptom to keenly note is sudden swelling of face, lips or the tongue.
4. Other symptoms (Neurological or digestive)
Other possible complications in terms of the symptoms may include those of the functionality of nervous system or digestive system such as:
- Stability problems – tumbling or unsteady walk or actual falling
- Thrashing of muscle coordination
- Altered bowel movements
- Unable to produce voice
Upper or lower lip numbness
What can really cause numbness in lower lip? Most of the causes we have discussed can make your bottom lips numb.
Is top lip numbness real? Conditions from allergy to neurological disorders can affect the sensation of the lip tissue nerves. And this is the same for either upper or lower lips.
“So for about 6wks (I’m 29wks6dys preg currently) I’ve noticed that my upper lip, throughout the day, will go totally numb as if I can’t control the muscles to pucker at all, but as if they’re already puckered already (just the upper lip) – now it’s not a terribly upsetting situation as I’ve found with orgnancy my body is doing all weird things!” PBGirl BabyCenter
Remedies for numbness on the lips should be done with caution, while you take into consideration a few factors like the most likely cause and how severe the symptoms are.
If your lower lips numb seriously or suddenly, you should see a dentist or allergy expert.
Numbness on face and lips
Besides the lips, numbness on other parts of the face can also occur and may be experienced as facial numbness. Such areas comprise the chin area or around mouth.
Numbness around mouth and lips
Following our discussion, the common causes of numbness around lips or mouth include allergy, certain medications, ALCOHOL ABUSE, cold temperatures and anesthesia. Swelling on surface or whole lip, numbness and tingling in lips are common but will depend on the causes.
Notably, a rash or bumps accompanied with itching and sudden swelling should be taken seriously. If you suspect that the numbness in your lips is due to these factors, please seek medical help urgently.
- Medication side effects
- Lip piercing
Cases in which the lips, mouth and tongue numb for a long-term with life-threatening symptoms are always an emergency. Therefore, ensure you have the victim taken to an emergency room, is diagnosed and have tests carried out by a dentist.
Quick treatment remedy for numbness in lip
Given the fact there are several reasons for lip numbness, proper investigations should be done prior to treatment.
i. Applying petroleum jelly
This is one of the simplest means to deal with the numbing effect due to exposure to cold. The best jelly to apply should be scent-free and pure such as Vaseline. So, ladies and everyone intending to be out in the cold events ensure you carry petroleum jelly tube.
ii. Avoid Carbon dioxide
For individuals with this problem, keep off carbonated soft drinks.
iii. Stop the drug causing lip numbness
If you have started taking medicines and realize that you get numb lips, you should to see your physician (or doctor who prescribed) before you can stop that specific medication.
This is important regarding the necessity to get a different form of medication intended for the disease or problem.
iv. Address your deficiencies
If you have occasional mild numb lips you could be facing a deficiency symptom. Vitamin B is helpful in lip numbness. If you want to know it is a deficiency and really need to get rid of this, see a nutritionist or physician.
v. Avoid exposing your face to triggers
If you have learnt that it is a certain food or allergen that is causing your lip problem, keep off them. Therefore:
- Change your toothbrush regularly
- Avoid salty and acidic food
- Avoid carbonated drinks
Numbness of lips is curable as long as you have done all it takes before it turns into a serious disorder which can cause complications or result in loss of lives.
- Peripheral neuropathy – Causes: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Peripheral-neuropathy/Pages/Causes.aspx
- Hypocalcemia: http://www.healthline.com/health/hypocalcemia#overview1
- Oral Cancer: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/oral-cancer
- Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA): http://www.webmd.com/stroke/tc/transient-ischemic-attack-tia-topic-overview
- American Academy of Family Physicians. Multiple Sclerosis https://familydoctor.org/condition/multiple-sclerosis/?adfree=true