Numbness in Lips

Lip paresthesia is the medical name for lip numbness. Lip numbness is the condition where you experience partial or total loss of lip sensation and you can feel this in either one or both of your lips. Lips comprise of soft tissues and that is what makes them so sensitive. So, any tingling and numbness you feel on your lips will probably give you an uncomfortable feeling. If the condition ends up being serious, chances are that the lips color will change. There are times where the tingling and numbness extends even to your tongue and gums, and as a result, you might find it hard to speak, drink or eat.

Causes of Numbness in Lips

1. Allergy

One common cause of lip numbness is being allergic to chemicals or food. A swollen or tingling lip can be a sign that you are having an allergic reaction and the numbness can either be delayed or instant. Minor allergic reactions tend to last for a few minutes while severe reactions can last for hours. Severe reactions can also come with side effects like trouble breathing, dizziness and hives. It often needs emergency medical attention to stop.

2. Mineral Deficiency

Mineral deficiency has also been linked to numbness of lips. If your body has low phosphate, potassium or sodium your bloodstream will have an imbalance of chemicals. In such a situation, you can take mineral supplements once your doctor has done a urine or blood test and confirmed the specific mineral that is on low-levels.

For example, hypocalcemia is a condition that occurs when your bloodstream has low calcium levels. It can also be a result of usage of a certain drug or different underlying diseases. This affliction has been associated with several symptoms including aching muscles, muscle spasms, lips paresthesias and tetany. Tests like phosphate and blood calcium levels are performed by physicians in diagnosis of hypocalcemia.

3. Poor Circulation

This is yet another common cause of lip numbness. When the blood vessels around the lips are constricted, you will feel numbness and tingling on your lips. The condition known as the Reynaud's phenomenon, it causes blood vessel spasm which is known to cause numbness or tingling. As this condition progresses, color will change to blue from white then to red or pink.

4. Neurological Conditions

Neurological conditions like trigeminal neuralgia and multiple sclerosis are also known to make your lips tingly or numb. Your automatic nervous system comprises of the spinal cord, nerves (which control the involuntary actions) and brain. The functioning of this system is affected by neurological conditions and as a result, your heart rate, breathing and blood pressure get affected. When one of the mentioned functions has a problem, one of the symptoms is numbness.

5. Transient Ischemic

Transient ischemic is a condition commonly called the mini-stroke. It occurs when the flow of blood to your brain is blocked temporarily or briefly. This condition is also characterized by symptoms similar to those of stroke. The only difference is that transient ischemic does not have long-term effects. Some common symptoms include weakness and numbness affecting part of your face which includes your lips, one leg and arm of the same side. Other transient ischemic symptoms are difficulty in understanding speech, slurred speech, loss of vision in both or one eye, dizziness & double vision and loss of balance. Most attacks of this condition are warning signs that indicate the possible risk of suffering from a stroke in the future. It is, therefore, important to see your doctor so that the underlying cause can be determined and correct treatment given.

6. Hyperventilation

This is a condition characterized by rapid and heavy breathing and is brought on by stressful situations or anxiety. When you hyperventilate, your bloodstream loses excess carbon dioxide and in turn, you become more anxious. One common symptoms of this condition is numb or tingling feet, lips and hands. Other symptoms accompanying this condition include tetany, lightheadedness and/or painful twitching of muscles.

7. Peripheral Neuropathy

Known to cause damage to the sensory nerves, peripheral neuropathy is a condition that causes pain, pinching, tingling or numbness. In many cases, people suffering from neuropathy feel numbness that starts from the feet moving up to their legs which makes it hard for them to balance or even walk. These abnormal sensations normally get worse when you want to sleep.

8. Raynaud's Phenomenon

Raynaud's phenomenon is a disorder that comes about when the blood vessels of your lips, ears, nose, toes and fingers narrow or constrict. Blood vessel narrowing is known as vasospastic attacks and is known to cause tingling, pain and spasm in the areas affected. During this attack, your skin can turn blue or very white since the oxygen in your blood is diminishing.

9. Ciguatera Poisoning

Ciguatera poisoning is a condition that comes about when you eat the tropical finfish. Smaller fish eat tiny plants known as dinoflagellates which produce ciguatoxins. When big fish eat small fish that have eaten these plants, and you end up eating the big fish in question, chances are that you will suffer from ciguatera poisoning. Symptoms of this poisoning include numb tongue and lips, vomiting, nausea hallucinations and dizziness.

Treatment for Numbness in Lips

Temporary tingling or numb lips don't need treatment. If it has been caused by cold sores, you can take some home remedies to control that infection. They include avoiding acidic and salt foods and also changing your toothbrush.

If the numbness you feel is in other body parts including the lips, seek medical attention. Allergies can be controlled with medications such as antihistamines, and patients are advised to avoid allergens. For those with neuropathy brought about by unchecked sugar levels in the blood, you should bring down the sugar levels using medicines prescribed by your doctor and change your diet. Nutritional deficiency can be treated by having dietary supplements and a proper diet. You should also use relaxation techniques to keep anxiety attacks at bay.

When to See a Doctor

Any tingling or numbness of the lips should be taken seriously and treated. This is especially so when it is accompanied other symptoms. Seek emergency medical attention (call 911) if the person you are with or you experience numb lips accompanied by shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, swelling of lips, throat and mouth or wheezing.

Seek immediate medical attention if the numbness in your lips is persistent or brings you concern. Doctors will perform tests in order to determine the underlying cause and afterwards provide proper diagnosis and treatment.

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