Do you have small white, red or yellowish painful or painless bumps on lips? Have you at times ever wondered what causes them. The following is a discussion, meant to provide you with the causes and most effective means of treating them, as well as medical products used to get rid of the problem.
Small, Red, White and Painful ones
Oral herpes is often associated with bumps on lips but not always. There are many other things that can cause these lumps or bumps. The first two common causes of painful red or white bumps that are not herpes are canker sores and cold sores.
a. Canker sores
One of the main causes of bumps around lips is canker sores. These are shallow, painful red or white tiny lip lumps that occur in the inside mouth linings. You might get them on the inside of your lips or the insides of your cheeks. Canker sores are different from fever blisters, which usually are on the outside or the corners of your mouth.
The following are major predisposing factors for canker sores as the main causes of these tiny lumps according to [mayoclinic.org]:
- Use of toothbrushes and substances that bear Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (mouth rinse).
- Coffee, strawberries, eggs, nuts, cheese, and spicy or acidic foods
- A diet that lacks in vitamin B-12, Zinc, Folate (folic acid) or Iron
- An allergic response to certain bacteria in your mouth
- Bacterial infection Helicobacter pylori, (the same bacteria that cause peptic ulcers)
- Hormonal shifts during menstruation
- Emotional stress
If you are so keen on your oral health you will see one or more painful, red spots that characterize the above lip bumps. To know they are actually canker sores, within a very short time they develop into an open little white/yellow center, small in size (under 1/3 inch) as healing starts.
b. Cold sores
Besides canker sores, the other cause of lumps on lips known as cold sores. “Cold sores are actually caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV)” [uwhealth.org]
They are notably different from canker sores, which do not appear by a viral infection. “In cold sores, the herpes virus replicates itself and damages the skin,” [uwhealth.org] causing small, painful lip lumps of fluid-filled blisters (also referred to as fever blisters).
Unlike canker sores, cold sores are contagious and can spread to other people through contact. Cold sores infect outside of the mouth but around the lips, (or even under the nose or on the chin). These lumps in the lips have a bright red border or base, and there are one or more fluid-filled red lip bumps in the center that looks yellow or clear. For instance, provided here are images that you can see and help bring out the clear difference.
To get a visual impression of how canker sores and cold sores look like, have a look at the below photos. The 1st and 2nd photos show canker sores with the second one caused by Behçet’s syndrome. The third photo has a white cold sore.
d. How to relieve pain due to canker sores and cold sores
Are the above images a hindrance to bring back your confidence and relieve pain associated with these conditions? We are here to give home solutions and help you with reliable tips to defend yourself against being infected.
If you opt for medicines, a variety of lip ointments and cream products are available including the over the counter (OTC) and prescribed. For OTC try Milk of Magnesia, Anbesol, and Orabase. Remember that every moment you acquire OTC you must carefully read and follow all directions of use. Under a doctor’s prescribed instructions, you should consider swallowing lidocaine, a liquid medicine, to relieve pain. However, do not give Aspirin to teenagers or youths of age20 & below.
e. Home care and remedies for canker and cold sores
If you want to try home remedies as well as care for your canker sores and cold sores, try the following
- Avoid intimate deep kissing esp. with infected loved ones,
- To prevent more irritation and pain avoid acidic diets and spices (ginger, cinnamon),
- Apply ice cubes carefully onto the lip sores until they melt away
- Gently and regularly brush your teeth using Sensodyne/Biotene (toothpaste) with a soft-bristle brush,
- Frequently rinse your mouth using warm salty water or baking powder solution (1/2 teaspoon + glass water) for soothing effect,
- Tap lightly a pinch of milk of magnesia on your canker sore a few times daily.
Going on with causes, oral acne is a possible culprit. “Bumps on the lips can also be a sign of premature acne development. People who suffer from hormonal imbalance and practice poor skin care often fall victim,” [www.med-health.net].
This bumps will be common during puberty i.e. at puberty, testosterone hormone level rises hence stimulating glands in the skin to secrete more sebum (oil). In women to be specific, “androgens the male hormones present in women, can contribute to acne flares by over-stimulating the oil glands.” [www.aad.org]
In the list below are the common medicines and cream products sold over the counter (OTC) used in treating oral acne:
- Benzoyl peroxide, Salicylic acid creams/gels, such as (Brevoxyl/Triaz& Propa pH/Stridex respectively)
- Azelaic acid, such as Azelex- topical cream.
- Isotretinoin (oral retinoid)
Topical creams are therefore the best oral acne treatment in adults medicine because they open up clogged pores leading to the elimination of oil. In hormonal therapy, androgen hormone inhibitors, such as spironolactone are used. Note that infants/children and teens need to be under-prescribed doses.
Going on with causes of bumps on lips, so far many ladies and women have reported to being hypersensitive to certain lip balms, glosses, lipsticks, and other creams. “A basic lipstick was composed of the stick, emollient i.e. (solvent for the dyes), preservatives/anti-oxidants, perfumes/flavorings, and colors. Further chemical agents may be added for gloss, water-resistance, sealant, cushioning, texture and richness” [www.dermnetnz.org]
Some people might allergic to the above ingredients and others not mention which will, in turn, irritate lip mucosa. For instance ingredients like mica and titanium, which add a sparkling or glossy look to the lips when applied might cause some irritation.
So far, allergens reported in lip care products include Eosin and Ricinoleic acid that cosmetic companies have now carefully eliminated from the lip cosmetics and products.
Prevention is better than cure. Reduce costs of aesthetic living and maintain your good health by adapting to a recommended lifestyle. For example, avoid applying lipsticks which contain allergens such as Nickel.
If you have bumps especially patchy ones, it could be lip cancer. “Lip cancers come in the form of the abnormal growth of the flat cells on the lips.”[cancerwall.com]
One of its causes is tar present in tobacco. The harmful chemical substance damages the inner lip linings. Other causes are excessive alcohol consumption, prolonged periods of exposure to ultraviolet radiations (UVRs) and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).The pictures presented here give.
Surgery aims at removing lip cancer tumor, whereas chemotherapy focuses on cell removal. A drug known as Cisplatin is used in chemotherapy. Another treatment is radiation therapy which is even beneficial since it only targets a small area with the lip cancer patches. Radiation therapy is extremely purposeful before surgery can be carried on lip tumors. There are two types namely External Radiation Therapy and Internal Radiation Therapy.[www.cancer8.com]
Oral Herpes HSV – Painful Bumps
Oral herpes is an infection due to the herpes simplex virus. It causes small, painful blisters commonly called cold sores or fever blisters. Also known as Herpes labialis, oral herpes is a common infection of small bumps around the lips.
There are two types of viruses: Herpes Simplex Virus type-1 (HSV-1) and Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV-2) The HSV-1 is responsible for oral herpes. The viral infection is very common amongst children aged between 1-2 years. Most teenagers and young people in the United States are infected with this virus by age 20. It spreads through contact and when you have oral sex. Furthermore, anyone can catch it at any age, any time of the season.
It is therefore common to feel a burning, painful or itchy sensation on areas with small red bumps on lips. You will experience fever, tiredness, muscle aches, and irritability especially when on drugs.
Treatment for these painful lip lumps requires antiviral medicine. They help reduce pain and make your lumpy lips regain their natural shapes and look quickly. Medicines used to treat include Acyclovir, Famciclovir, and Valacyclovir. Strictly apply Abreva Topical-Docosanol lip cream to heal cold sores only. The advantage using it is attributed to its fast action (DON’T use to cure canker sores). “These medicines work best if you take them when you have warning signs. If frequent, you may need to take these medicines all the time.” [www.nlm.nih.gov]
Home remedies for oral herpes and precaution
If you greatly value your natural health and have little demands to seek medication, alternatively you can deal with herpes bumps at home.Please make use of these guidelines and routines:
- Apply ice or frozen cold water to help ease pain,
- Gently and regularly wash the blisters with antiseptic=germ-killing soap and water to prevent spreading,
- Avoid hot beverages and salty foods, and fruits/drinks containing citric acid,
- Wash your mouth with cool water while you spit out,
- Eat popsicles
- Apply lip balms that contain Zinc oxide and moisturizing lip cream to prevent dehydration,
- Avoid sharing utensils such as spoons and cups, straws with esp. oral herpes infected persons,
- Abstain from oral sex practices.
Fordyce spots- White, Red, Hard bump on Lip Line
What is this hard bump on the upper lip line? Could it be a Fordyce spot? “Fordyce spots are non-contagious white or red bumps on lips,” [healthool.com]. They are tiny white painless pimples the upper lip. Vaporizing laser therapy, the best treatment, can be done to get rid of the patches.
Oral thrush is a fungal infection that causes white lesions on the lips, mouth, gums, or tonsils.
The fungus Candida albicans is what causes oral thrush. This infection, identified by white coating inside the lips, is common among children and adults living with HIV and diabetes. The immune system in toddlers is weaker and cannot control oral thrush yeast. Older persons tend to fall, victims, as immunity decreases with age. Timely administration of anti-fungal medicines counters fungal growth activity thus curbing infection from spreading. Topical oral thrush medicines sold over the counter such as:
- Antibiotics e.g. tetracycline,
- Liquidities (e.g. Fluconazole),
- Azoles (clotrimazole, fluconazole, and itraconazole)
- 1% Gentian violet (1%)
Let us now put our attention on how to prevent and manage oral thrush (remedies) at home. These include:
- Application of distilled white vinegar/diluted baking soda solution to breastfeeding mother’s nipples,
- Maintain high standards of water and food hygiene when feeding bottle nipples for young children.
- Avoid overuse of mouth rinses – Sjögren’s syndrome.
- Use of birth control pills/oral contraceptives
Hard bump ones
Sometimes one may end with hard bumps on lips. Some of the common causes of such bumps in Fordyce spots. The best cure is through laser surgery or liquid nitrogen therapy. However, if there is prolonged pain and persistence of the bumpy lips then you need to see a professional doctor who will carry out an excision to get rid of them.
If they are painful, it is likely they are caused by oral herpes, canker sores or colds sores. Look at other symptoms to know what is responsible for your painful bumps on lips.
Tiny or small ones
Small or tiny ones can be caused by Fordyce spots, canker sores, oral herpes and cold sores. However, sometimes each of these causes may have bigger bumps especially canker sores and cold sores.
Do you have any question concerning the lip bump cause, treatment, medicine, and natural remedies? Your health satisfaction of the lip burning issues is our content. We care so much about your health concerns, queries. It is your freedom to express health issues using comments, sign of a good lifestyle. In a prudent manner seek relevant help, clarification and proper advice from your trusted doctor/medical centre.
Reference and Sources