Symptoms A-Z

Lip Numbness Symptoms, Causes & Common Questions

Understand your lip numbness symptoms, including 8 causes & common questions.

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Contents

  1. Symptoms
  2. Causes
  3. 8 Possible Lip Numbness Conditions
  4. Treatments and Relief
  5. Questions Your Doctor May Ask
  6. Statistics

Lip Numbness Symptoms

Numbness of the lip may seem like an odd or harmless symptom to have, and in some cases, it is. It may simply be due to a mild allergy or being out in cold weather and thus easily treatable.

But sometimes this unusual lip numbness symptom can be a sign of a serious illness that needs immediate treatment. As always, the body has a way of getting attention when it needs care, and the loss of feeling in one of the most important sensory parts of the face will certainly cause you to be on higher alert.

Characteristics:

  • An uncomfortable absence of sensation in the lips. This often happens only in the lower lip, but both lips may be affected.
  • One or both lips may also have:
    • Swelling, cracking, bleeding, inflammation, and redness.
    • A stinging, tingling, pins-and-needles sensation.
    • Rash, bumps, or blisters in and around the mouth.

Are lip numbness symptoms serious?

  • If both lips are affected, the cause is most likely allergies and can be readily treated.
  • Frostbite and hypothermia can certainly affect the lips. Though not a sign of illness, these conditions must be treated right away to prevent permanent tissue damage.
  • Numbness that you feel only in the bottom lip tends to be a sign of more serious illness and should be examined by a medical provider as soon as possible.

Lip Numbness Causes

Most common lip numbness cause types:

  • Allergies, as well as anything that strains or damages the nervous system.

  • Systemic allergies to foods or medications, meaning things you have eaten/swallowed.
  • Contact allergies to foods, chemicals, or makeup, meaning things that have directly touched the lips.

  • Exposure to cold weather. This can lead to frostbite, which is the actual freezing of tissue.
  • Hyperventilation, due to excessive crying or other emotional upset. This causes a shortage of CO2 in the blood and leads to numbness in the lips, feet, and hands, and sometimes muscle twitching.
  • Anesthesia:

    • The injections used for dental work or facial surgery will cause only mild tingling and numbness that should fade within a few hours.
    • Some topical numbing medications (creams or gels) for mouth pain may also numb the lips.
  • Botox injections near the mouth.
  • Lip filler injections.
  • Piercings or studs in the lips.
  • Drinking excessive alcohol.
  • Smoking, or using chewing tobacco.
  • Nutritional deficiencies, especially in B vitamins.

Less common lip numbness cause types:

  • Peripheral neuropathy specifically affects the connections between the brain and the peripheries the hands, arms, feet, legs, and face. The signals are disrupted due to nerve damage from various illnesses or chemicals which causes tingling, numbness, and pain. Peripheral neuropathy can be caused by:

  • Metabolic illness, meaning dysfunction in the organs that produce hormones and regulate body processes.
  • Viral illness, which can often cause neuropathy as a side effect.
  • Bacterial illnesses of certain kinds.
  • Autoimmune disease, which means the body's own protective system begins to turn against itself. In addition to lip numbness, symptoms can include:
  • Facial nerve damage.
  • Weakness, numbness, and eventually paralysis.
  • Over-constriction of the blood vessels in the extremities. The face can be affected, and you may experience numbness, tingling, and a feeling of cold in the lips. The lips will appear very pale or even blue-white.
  • Fatigue, dizziness, and vision problems.
  • Addiction to high quantities of drugs or alcohol.
  • Certain medications, especially in heavy doses.
  • Chemotherapy.

Rare and unusual lip numbness cause types:

  • Tumors and other forms of cancer, which can cause damage and disruption in the nervous system. Tumors found in the lips, tongue, throat, jawbone, and lungs may produce the symptom of lower lip numbness.,

8 Possible Lip Numbness Conditions

The list below shows results from the use of our quiz by Buoy users who experienced lip numbness. This list does not constitute medical advice and may not accurately represent what you have.

Allergic reaction (not life-threatening)

When the body encounters a harmful substance, it responds with inflammation and swelling that can be protective. In many individuals, the body responds this way to substances that are not normally harmful, like foods or pollen. This is the basis of allergy, or Type 1 Hypersensitivity.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: swollen face, swollen lips, lip numbness, hives, red swollen bumps or patches with a pale center, lip redness

Symptoms that never occur with allergic reaction (not life-threatening): shortness of breath, throat itching

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Low calcium level

Hypocalcemia is a condition where there is not enough calcium in the blood. Calcium is a mineral contained in the blood, which helps the heart and other muscles function properly, and is needed to maintain strong teeth and bones.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: fatigue, shortness of breath, irritability, general numbness, tingling foot

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Cold sore

A cold sore is a skin lesion on the lips caused by infection with the herpes simplex virus (HSV). Cold sores are extremely common. In fact, most adults are infected with HSV, usually transmitted in childhood by normal close contact with parents, siblings or friends.

While the infection can be entirely unnoticed, or asymptomatic, the cold sores themselves are usually visible and sometimes painful. In an otherwise healthy individual, they are essentially harmless, though their appearance can cause a great deal of distress.

As with most viruses, there is no cure for HSV infection, though certain medications can decrease the rate of outbreaks for those who are severely afflicted.

Rarity: Uncommon

Top Symptoms: mouth lesions, itchy mouth, pain on the outside of the lips, lip numbness, burning pain on the outside of the lips

Symptoms that always occur with cold sore: mouth lesions

Urgency: Self-treatment

Spider bite requiring medical attention

Some spiders can be very dangerous. Even for the less dangerous ones, some people have serious reactions. If the symptoms of these reactions go untreated, it can be life-threatening.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: nausea, abdominal pain (stomach ache), vomiting, fever, dizziness

Symptoms that always occur with spider bite requiring medical attention: spider bite

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Lip Numbness Symptom Checker

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Hypoparathyroidism

Hypoparathyroidism is a condition in the parathyroid glands do not produce enough parathyroid hormone. This leads to low levels of calcium in the blood, which can cause both short-term and long-term symptoms. Causes of hypoparathyroidism include surgery or radiation to the neck, autoimmune damage to the parathyroid glands, abnormal development of the parathyroid glands, and low levels of magnesium in the blood.

Short-term symptoms of hypoparathyroidism include(https://www.buoyhealth.com/symptoms-a-z/blurry-vision/), and changes to the bones, teeth, skin, hair, and/or nails.

Hypoparathyroidism is treated with oral or IV medications to increase calcium levels in the blood. A newer medication to treat hypoparathyroidism is PTH 1-84, which mimics the body's natural parathyroid hormone.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: patchy hair loss, skin thickening, fingernail changes, patchy body hair loss

Urgency: Hospital emergency room

Stroke or tia (transient ischemic attack)

Transient ischemic attack, or TIA, is sometimes called a "mini stroke" or a "warning stroke." Any stroke means that blood flow somewhere in the brain has been blocked by a clot.

Risk factors include smoking, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, though anyone can experience a TIA.

Symptoms are "transient," meaning they come and go within minutes because the clot dissolves or moves on its own. Stroke symptoms include weakness, numbness, and paralysis on one side of the face and/or body; slurred speech; abnormal vision; and sudden, severe headache.

A TIA does not cause permanent damage because it is over quickly. However, the patient must get treatment because a TIA is a warning that a more damaging stroke is likely to occur. Take the patient to the emergency room or call 9-1-1.

Diagnosis is made through patient history; physical examination; CT scan or MRI; and electrocardiogram.

Treatment includes anticoagulant medication to prevent further clots. Surgery to clear some of the arteries may also be recommended.

Rarity: Common

Top Symptoms: dizziness, leg numbness, arm numbness, new headache, stiff neck

Symptoms that never occur with stroke or tia (transient ischemic attack): bilateral weakness

Urgency: Emergency medical service

Diabetic neuropathy

Diabetic neuropathy is nerve damage caused by longstanding or poorly controlled diabetes mellitus (DM). Other risk factors for developing diabetic neuropathy include obesity, smoking, cardiovascular disease, and abnormal lipid levels.

Diabetic neuropathy can present as a number of distinct syndromes, including distal symmetric polyneuropathy, autonomic polyneuropathy, cranial neuropathy, or truncal neuropathy. Symptoms may include loss of sensation, weakness, pain, cardiovascular abnormalities, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, retention of urine, and/or double vision.

The diagnosis is initially made by clinical examination. Treatment includes controlling blood sugar, medications to relieve pain, and regular foot care.

Rarity: Ultra rare

Top Symptoms: anxiety, depressed mood, trouble sleeping, diarrhea, fatigue

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Chronic idiopathic peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy refers to the feeling of numbness, tingling, and pins-and-needles sensation in the feet. Idiopathic means the cause is not known, and chronic means the condition is ongoing without getting better or worse.

The condition is most often found in people over age 60. Idiopathic neuropathy has no known cause.

Symptoms include uncomfortable numbness and tingling in the feet; difficulty standing or walking due to pain and lack of normal sensitivity; and weakness and cramping in the muscles of the feet and ankles.

Peripheral neuropathy can greatly interfere with quality of life, so a medical provider should be seen in order to treat the symptoms and reduce the discomfort.

Diagnosis is made through physical examination; blood tests to rule out other conditions; and neurologic and muscle studies such as electromyography.

Treatment involves over-the-counter pain relievers; prescription pain relievers to manage more severe pain; physical therapy and safety measures to compensate for loss of sensation in the feet; and therapeutic footwear to help with balance and walking.

Rarity: Rare

Top Symptoms: distal numbness, muscle aches, joint stiffness, numbness on both sides of body, loss of muscle mass

Urgency: Primary care doctor

Lip Numbness Treatments and Relief

Seek immediate lip numbness treatment in the emergency room or call 911 if you have sudden lip numbness symptoms with any of the following:

Schedule an appointment for:

  • Ongoing lip numbness with mild swelling of the face, lips, and tongue.
  • Discussion of current medications to see if any of them may be causing the lip numbness.

Lip numbness remedies that you can try at home:

  • Apply petroleum jelly to lips before going out in the cold
  • Avoid carbonated drinks
  • Improve the diet, especially by taking B complex vitamins.

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Lip Numbness

To diagnose this condition, your doctor would likely ask the following questions:

  • Does your throat feel itchy or irritated?
  • Do you have a rash?
  • Relax your face. Have someone else tap the corner of your mouth. Does your lip or face twitch with each tap? (This is known as Chvostek's sign.)
  • Where in your mouth are you numb?

The above questions are also covered by our A.I. Health Assistant.

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions

Take a quiz to find out why you're having lip numbness

Lip Numbness Symptom Checker Statistics

People who have experienced lip numbness have also experienced:

  • 6% Tongue Numbness
  • 6% Swollen Lips
  • 4% Facial Numbness

People who have experienced lip numbness were most often matched with:

  • 44% Allergic Reaction (Not Life-Threatening)
  • 44% Low Calcium Level
  • 11% Cold Sore

People who have experienced lip numbness had symptoms persist for:

  • 47% Less than a day
  • 27% Less than a week
  • 11% Over a month

Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Lip Numbness Symptom Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you're having lip numbness