Cheilitis Can Cause the Lips To Be Inflamed

Skin is supposed to protect parts of the body from outside interference. Unfortunately, the skin can be the target of multiple different issues. People with angular cheilitis or cheilitis granulomatosa understand this. Angular cheilitis is the far more common situation, in which the two corners of the mouth (labial commissures) become dry, inflamed and quite painful. Technically, this isn’t actually a condition, but is rather a symptom of other diseases and infections. 

While it can be frustrating to deal with, there are several methods to help minimize the impact of angular cheilitis on daily life. Cheilitis cracked lips are very prone to infection. By managing cheilitis before it leads to an infection, many hours of uncomfortable pain can be spared. Infections are the most common result of untreated cheilitis. There’s no reason to suffer the pain and annoyance without making any effort to feel better! 

Causes of Angular Cheilitis

Some cases of angular cheilitis escape obvious cause. Other times it’s due to a lack of moisture in the mouth area. Evaporating saliva can cause irritation, dryness and cracked lips. By licking their lips, people are trying to ease the issue, but really, it just propagates it by repeating the cycle. As the skin is dry and cracked, infections get in and cause the pain. Yeast infections in the area are very common and create a burning sensation. Other bacteria can also cause infections including the staph bacteria. 

There is a wide variety of risk factors that can increase the chance of dealing with angular cheilitis. The most important one is diabetes. Diabetes weakens the immune system. In turn, infections of the skin are more likely. Additional risk factors include: 

  • Genetics - Some genetic issues like Down syndrome make a person more vulnerable. 
  • Weakened Immune System - Much like how diabetes weakens the immune system, other conditions can as well. Many medications may reduce the ability of the immune system to treat immunodeficiency diseases. This also includes conditions like HIV/Aids or undergoing treatments like chemotherapy. 
  • Excessive Saliva - The shape of the mouth can be conducive to too much saliva touching the edge of the mouth. People who constantly lick their lips are at higher risk as well. 
  • Insufficient Nutrition - People who aren't eating a proper diet or are suffering from forms of anemia, including iron deficiency anemia are at risk of dealing with cheilitis. 

Treating Angular Cheilitis

When dealing with angular cheilitis, there are a variety of simple treatment options. The first is appropriate hygiene of the area. This can reduce the pain caused by infection and keep them from getting worse. If the sufferer is a diabetic, then proper management of their diabetes can help reduce the issues with angular cheilitis. 

Once an infection occurs, then antibiotics are crucial to help treat the infection if they will respond. Yeast infections in the area of the mouth won’t produce results with antibiotics. Doctors will determine the right kind of medication treatment to counter specific infections. 

The final form of treatment is specific to people who may have a specific mouth shape that is resulting in excessive saliva touching the lips. In these cases some cosmetic injections can be used to alter the shape of the mouth slightly. 

Rare Forms of Cheilitis (Granulomatous Cheilitis)

There is also another form of cheilitis other than angular cheilitis. This is known as granulomatous cheilitis. This causes lumpy swelling throughout the entire lips. There are a variety of causes including genetics, Crohn’s disease, sarcoidosis, orofacial granulomatosis, sarcoidosis, allergic contact dermatitis or various cancers. 

Since this form of cheilitis can affect the entire mouth, treatment can be more severe than that of angular cheilitis. Aside from topical creams, medication to reduce inflammation is common. These may be taken orally or injected into the region. The most severe cases may require surgical reduction. 

Disclaimer: The articles on this website are not meant to encourage the self-management of any health or wellness issue. Nor are they meant to encourage any one type of medical treatment. Treatment or advice used by a reader may have varying results, as each individual is different. Any article reader with a health-related question, is encouraged to seek a proper consultation with a doctor or certified health provider. The articles on this website should not be used to disregard any medical or health-related advice, nor should they be the root cause for delay in seeing a doctor or a certified health provider.

The articles on this website should not be used to start the use of dietary supplements or vitamins, natural or herbal products, homeopathic medicine or other mentioned products prior to a proper consultation with a doctor or certified health provider.

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