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Numbness in Lips

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The numbness sensation appearing in the lip area can be partial or complete. There are many reasons that might lead to numbness in lips, some more severe than others. Most often, there is an underlying condition that leads to this problem, among other modifications. It is important to keep in mind that both acute and chronic problems can lead to such a symptom. The correct diagnosis of the underlying condition will allow for the right treatment to be administered. Once the condition is treated, the numbness in the lips will disappear. Left untreated, the numbness can become permanent.

What Causes Numbness in Lips?

These are the most common causes that can lead to numbness in lips:

numbness in lipsHyperventilation

  • Appears in anxious or stressed people
  • Occurs when the person feels the acute need of oxygen
  • The quick inspiration and exhalation of air reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood
  • The person might experience numbness in the lips and in the extremities, the symptoms being accompanied by muscle tremors.

Raynaud’s phenomenon

  • Constriction of blood vessels
  • The constriction affects the transfer of the oxygen, causing numbness in lips and modification of lip color (bluish or white)
  • This condition is especially noticeable during the cold weather.

Lyme disease

  • This condition is caused by the bite of an infected tick
  • The neurological modifications lead to lip numbness, among other symptoms.

Peripheral neuropathy

  • Damage to the sensory nerves
  • Depending on the affected territory, it can cause numbness in the lips and other similar symptoms.

Mini-stroke

  • This happens when the regular oxygen flow in the brain in stopped by a blood clot
  • The person will experience paralysis on one side of the body and a wide range of other symptoms, including lip numbness on the affected side.

Auto-immune disorders

Guillain-Barré syndrome

  • Nerves are attacked by the immune system
  • The attack on the nerves leads to lip numbness, this symptom being usually accompanied by numbness in the extremities and muscle weakness.

Multiple sclerosis

  • Nerve signals are affected as the protective sheath covering the nerves becomes damaged
  • Nerve cells do not communicate efficiently, leading to numbness in the lips, muscle twitches and reduced mobility.

Ciguatera poisoning

  • Appears after the consumption of fish
  • The fish contains ciguatoxins after consuming certain species of plants
  • Among the symptoms this kind of poisoning produces, one will find lip numbness and hallucinations.

Reduced levels of calcium in the blood (hypocalcaemia)

  • Can appear as a result of a low-calcium diet or be caused by an underlying condition
  • As the levels of calcium are low, the patient might experience numbness in the lips and muscle twitches.

Other causes include:

  • Local anesthesia for dental work
  • Allergic reaction to food or other allergens
  • Side-effect of different medication
  • Exposure to cold temperatures
  • Nutritional deficiency
  • Exposure to harmful substances or chemicals
  • Toxic ingestion of inedible substances
  • Trauma to the lips.

Treatment

The treatment of lip numbness depends on the underlying condition:

Hyperventilation:

  • Breathing therapy – reduce anxiety and eliminate stress
  • Psychological counseling – effectively identify the cause of the anxiety and ways to manage stress
  • Immediate solution – gradual, slow breathing / breathing into a bag.

Raynaud’s phenomenon:

  • Vasodilators (calcium channel blockers)
  • Aspirin
  • Sympatholytic agents.

Lyme disease

  • Antibiotics to eliminate the infection

Peripheral neuropathy

  • Antidepressants
  • Anti-epileptic drugs

Mini-stroke

  • Oxygen therapy
  • Mannitol to reduce the brain swelling

Auto-immune disorders

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  • Guillain-Barré syndrome
    • Plasmapheresis – the blood is taken through a special machine and brought back to the body, the harmful antibodies being eliminated
    • Pain medication
    • Physical therapy
  • Multiple sclerosis
    • Intravenous corticosteroids
    • Plasmapheresis
    • Interferon
    • Alternative medicine.

Ciguatera poisoning

  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Steroids
  • Vitamin supplements
  • Mannitol

Hypocalcaemia

  • Administration of intravenous calcium
  • Calcium supplements.

Other causes:

  • Adrenaline shot in case of allergic reaction to food or other allergens
  • Stomach pumping or salt water ingestion in case of toxic substances
  • In case of trauma, the area should be disinfected and sutured.

Relief

The following home remedies can bring relief when it comes to numbness in lips:

Petroleum jelly

  • It can help reduce the numbness felt in the lips
  • The daily application also keeps the lips moisturized

Herbal tea

Drinking warm herbal tea can improve the circulation in the area and reduce the numbness sensation experience in the lip area

Gentle massage

By gently massaging the lip area, the circulation is stimulated the numbness sensation reduced.

As you have seen for yourself, the best way to treat numbness in lips is to address the underlying condition. Besides this, there are several preventive measures that you can take into consideration:

  • Avoid excessive alcohol intake and smoking (chewing tobacco including)
  • Avoid foods that you are allergic to
  • Change your toothbrush frequently and maintain excellent oral hygiene to prevent bacterial infections
  • Change the medication you are currently taking with another one that does not have side-effects
  • Protect the oral area with a mask in case you will enter into contact with chemical substances or fumes
  • Avoid exposure to cold temperatures; when going out during the winter, protect your extremities and wear a scarf around your neck
  • Try relaxation techniques in case you are suffering from anxiety
  • Eat a healthy diet, with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, so that you do not suffer from nutritional deficiencies.

If the numbness in lips is caused by a neurological or auto-immune disorder, then you can consider alternative or complementary medicine in order to improve this symptom. Be sure to notify your doctor about any treatment course that you have decided to pursue, besides the one that you are currently taking. In rare cases, the numbness in lips can be a sign of cancer, so you might want to visit the doctor and inquire more information on the subject. Early prevention is the key to getting cured.


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