Why Are My Lips Numb?

Reviewed on 9/17/2020

What Causes Numb Lips?

There are a number of reasons that lips can become numb, and causes can range from benign and temporary conditions to chronic and serious illness. Causes of numb lips can include: 

What Symptoms May Accompany Numb Lips?

Other symptoms that may accompany numb lips include:

  • Dental visit with an anesthetic 
  • Prolonged cold exposure
    • Shivering and chills
  • Pollen food allergy syndrome (PFAS) 
    • Swelling and/or itching of the tongue, throat, or roof of the mouth 
    • Swelling of the uvula in the back of the throat
    • Throat tightening
  • Cold sores (fever blisters)
  • Low parathyroid hormone (hypoparathyroidism)
    • Burning feeling in fingertips or toes
    • Dry, rough skin 
    • Fragile nails
    • Depression 
    • Anxiety
    • Fatigue 
    • Weakness
    • Hair loss
    • Muscle aches, cramps, or twitches
    • Painful menstrual periods
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
    • Numbness or prickly feeling can also affect other parts of the face, body, arms, and legs
    • Bladder or bowel problems
    • Vision problems 
    • Dizziness
    • Difficulty walking 
    • Stiff muscles
    • Weakness 
    • Fatigue
  • Raynaud’s syndrome (also called Raynaud’s phenomenon) 
    • Tingling and numbness of lips, legs, arms, and fingers 
    • Lips, legs, arms, and fingers may turn pale or white
    • Skin color changes from white to blue to bright red, when oxygenated blood rushes back
    • Throbbing or a warm tingling feeling when blood returns
  • Stroke
    • Numbness in the mouth and face, especially on one side
    • Dizziness and balance problems
    • Facial drooping on one side
    • Severe headache
    • Slurred speech
    • Vision problems
    • Weakness on one side of the body 
    • Confusion
    • Problems walking

What Is the Treatment for Numb Lips?

  • Dental visit with an anesthetic 
    • No treatment needed
    • Numbness will wear off after a few hours
  • Prolonged cold exposure
    • Get into a warm environment
    • Drink warm beverages
  • Pollen food allergy syndrome (PFAS)
    • Rinse the mouth with water to remove traces of food
    • Avoid trigger foods, especially raw foods
    • Call 911 if you have difficulty swallowing 
  • Cold sores
    • Often no treatment is needed and cold sores heal on their own
    • See a doctor if a cold sore lasts more than 15 days 
  • Low parathyroid hormone (hypoparathyroidism)
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
    • Numbness tends to come and go
    • Corticosteroids may be prescribed in severe cases
  • Raynaud’s syndrome (also called Raynaud’s phenomenon)  
    • Avoid sudden exposure to the cold
    • Don’t smoke
    • Practice stress reduction techniques such as yoga or meditation
  • Stroke
    • Stroke is a medical emergency. Call 911 and get to a hospital immediately.
    • Treatments include 
      • An intravenous (IV) drug to dissolve clots and helps blood flow
      • A mechanical device to trap or breaks up the clot
      • Special clips to support fragile blood vessels
      • Surgery

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Reviewed on 9/17/2020
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