White Bumps On Lips: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis & Treatments

Be it eating, kissing, speaking or whistling, one cannot perform such tasks without the help of the lips. It aids a person to establish communication with the world he or she lives in. But, it is pretty natural for one to become self-conscious when hideous white spots on the lips. There are various reasons which cause such spots to form. While many of the causative conditions are not alarming, they could be signs of some underlying health issues like oral cancer which are critical in nature and requires prompt medical attention and care.

White Bumps On Lips

Locations

  • Upper lip: The bumps may be of various sizes and can be flat or raised. They can form at any place of the upper lip including lip line or its corners. After waxing or threading, ingrown hairs may get infected in the process, and can trigger bumps on lip line and anywhere further.
  • Lower lip: The bumps that develop on the lower lip line or on the lower lip can be somewhat raised or flat in their appearance. The lower lip is prone to mucous cysts and hairy leukoplakia. Also, the existence of any white spot that refuses to go within a specified frame of time can very well be the sign of oral cancer.
  • Lip line: Fordyce spots and milia are the most obvious cause for bumps occurring on the lip line. The spots are typically small and do not produce any pain. In most cases, they are lip pimples and herpes simplex may also trigger them.
  • Inner lip: Bumps forming inside the lip can be large or small in size, may be accompanied by pain or could be painless, and can develop in groups or may occur in isolation. At times, body fluid is trapped inside them. Fever blisters, infected piercings, and canker sores may develop too inside one’s lips.

White Bumps On Lips

Causes

  • Fordyce spots: Sometimes, white bumps that appear inside the human lips are necessarily sebaceous glands. These glands that produce oils measure as little as one to two millimeters and are visible to the naked eyes. As a person gets old, they usually increase in size. One can have just one or as much as hundred bumps on the inner areas of the lips. Apart from the lips, Fordyce spots may also appear on the penis shaft, scrotum, or the labia. They are also called sebaceous prominence or Fordyce granules and can appear in both males and females. At times, they can look light red, skin-colored, or yellowish white. It is vital to remember that they are not infectious and are not the signs of an undiagnosed sexually transmitted disease (STD). Every eighty to ninety-five adults out of hundred are affected worldwide by Fordyce spots.
  • Herpes simplex: Oral herpes can trigger small canker sores or white bumps on the lips which eventually fill with fluid and transform into blisters or mucous cysts.
  • Milia: When dead cells on the human skin keep getting accumulated and are unable to shed themselves off, small white bumps start to appear and this generally happens in babies. Though milia typically appear on the face, they can also form on the lips.
  • Oral cancer: A raised or flat white bump could very well be the first symptoms of a fatal medical condition like oral carcinogenesis. It is typically painless in the beginning, but could gradually bleed or turn into an ulcer. Prolonged exposure to the harmful UV rays of the sun, excessive alcohol consumption, tobacco abuse and also the HPV or human papillomavirus are all standard causes of oral cancer. At times, non-malignant tumors called fibromas may also develop on one’s lips.
  • Oral thrush: A fungal infection (usually a strain of fungus called Candida albicans) is responsible for causing white lesions on mouth, lips, tonsils or gums in the human body. It is pretty standard for babies and the elderly.
  • Mutant genes: At times, genetic mutations cause white bumps to form on the lips. Similar to people having moles or any other types of birthmarks, they are rendered harmless.
  • Contact dermatitis: Sometimes, lip bumps can occur from this medical condition. Small papules or blisters can appear on the lips due to human body’s allergic response to some particular toothpaste or specific foods. Fruits like mangoes contain oils that can trigger papules or rashes on one’s lips.
  • Vitiligo: This progressive medical condition causes depigmentation in numerous regions of the human body and can potentially affect one’s lips too. Though the actual cause is yet to be found, some doctors believe that it is an autoimmune disorder. It could very well be genetic and may also be linked to the cancer of the skin.

Symptoms

  • Bumps are painful
  • Bumps are bleed
  • Experiencing something uncommon like something is caught inside the throat
  • Swelling in the neck or the jaw
  • Tongue becomes numb
  • Unable to swallow or chew with ease
  • Throat becomes sore or one has a fever

Treatment

  • Time: The most appropriate way to treat Fordyce spots is to wait for some time so that the human body’s immune system can heal them naturally.
  • Chemotherapy: Oral cancer patients are typically exposed to chemotherapy. Surgical procedures are performed to remove all the lesions or tumors from the affected place and radiation is given to inhibit the rapid growth of the malignant cells.
  • Surgery: Electrosurgery or laser therapy is used to make room for cosmetic changes on one’s lips.
  • Medication: Antifungal mouthwashes and antiviral medications (to treat cases of oral herpes) are widely available over the counter, i.e., they can be purchased without a doctor’s prescription.

When To See A Doctor?

White bumps on lips typically happen to be harmless. However, if they do not disappear even after one fortnight, then it is suggested that one should visit a specialist healthcare professional as early as possible. A person should not take them lightly when any or some of the symptoms mentioned above start to surface.

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