Despite their importance to the body, people forget about their lips in the grand scheme of health.
That is, until they suffer from cheilitis. This group of conditions can cause inflammation, pain and burning feelings in the lips. That’s rather hard to ignore.
There are several different forms of cheilitis. They can be caused by a wide variety of infections, pre-existing conditions or genetics. This article will focus on three different types of cheilitis. They are angular cheilitis, cheilitis granulomatosa and glandular cheilitis. Take this opportunity to learn more about what their causes are, and how these lip problems can be treated.
This is one of the more common forms of cheilitis and is intricately linked with infections. Angular cheilitis causes dry skin and cracked lips in the corners of the mouth. The area can also become inflamed and red. People with diabetes are by far the most likely to have issues with angular cheilitis. The weakened immune system due to Diabetes can allow for infection to form more easily in the cheilitis cracked lips around the mouth. Excessive saliva caused by licking lips, or mouth shape means that the lips continue to become dry and irritated. This is because saliva becomes an irritant as it dries.
Angular cheilitis is best handled by dealing with the underlying causes. This can mean treatment for diabetes including lifestyle changes and diet. It may require medications to help regulate blood sugar. The same can be said for alternative medical causes. Treating the underlying cause is the most obvious choice. One infection has taken root, then an appropriate counter needs to be determined by a doctor. Not all infections respond to antibiotics. While some people may get angular cheilitis repeatedly, it’s treatable and symptoms typically respond quickly.
This is a rarer form of cheilitis that is genetically passed down from parents to children. In this form of cheilitis, the lips suffer from large lumpy swelling and inflammation. There are many things which can cause granulomatous cheilitis. This includes allergic contact dermatitis, sarcoidosis, orofacial granulomatosis, genetic disorders or Crohn’s disease. This can come on suddenly and cause lips to swell incredibly quickly. There are additional symptoms which may occur including fever, inflamed lymph nodes and intermittent facial palsy.
Treating this form of cheilitis can focus on causes like allergies or system treatment. When things get really serious, it’s possible that medications can be applied to help fight inflammation. These can be short or long term versions. Surgery is possible in the most severe cases.
This form of cheilitis will most commonly affect the lower lip of people. This version is most commonly found in older men, though there are reported cases for both younger people and in women. While the causes of glandular cheilitis aren’t fully known, it has been linked to some issues like smoking, overt exposure to the sun and lip biting or other trauma. If left untreated, bacterial infections are very possible. There is also the possibility of dealing with squamous cell carcinoma due to the sun exposure and smoking.
The good news is that treatment is often not necessary. Lips will return to normal size on their own. However, limiting exposure to the sun and quitting smoking is important. In some more severe cases, it’s possible that some topical medications may be used to try to help with sun damage.