Lip Burning Sensation

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What is lip burning sensation?

A lip burning sensation may result from abnormal sensations in the lips due to nerve damage or dysfunction. Lip burning sensation may also result from different types of lip burns or even chapped lips. Certain types of neuropathy (nerve problems) may result in lip burning sensation, as the cranial nerves from the brain supply the lips. Symptoms may occur in the lips alone or any other area of the body that is supplied by a peripheral nerve. Lip burning sensation may be the only symptom experienced, it may start as a tingling (paresthesia) and change to numbness, or there may be a combination of symptoms.

Burns from heat, cold, chemicals and sun may also cause a lip burning sensation.

The duration and course of lip burning sensation vary widely, depending on the cause. Symptoms caused by injury often have a sudden onset. Lip burning sensation resulting from neuropathy may develop slowly and persist or worsen over time.

Sudden lip burning sensation accompanied by numbness or weakness of the arms or legs, especially when it occurs on only one side of the body, can be a sign of stroke. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you experience lip burning sensation along with serious symptoms, such as weakness or paralysis, vision changes, speech difficulties, confusion or loss of consciousness for even a brief moment, or severe headache. If your lip burning sensation is persistent or causes you concern, seek prompt medical care.

What other symptoms might occur with lip burning sensation?

Lip burning sensation may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Symptoms that frequently affect the lips also involve other body systems.

Lip symptoms that may occur along with lip burning sensation

Lip burning sensation may accompany other symptoms affecting the lips including:

  • Bleeding lips

  • Chapped lips

  • Cracked lips

  • Dryness

  • Pain

  • Swelling

Other symptoms that may occur along with lip burning sensation

Lip burning sensation may accompany symptoms related to other body systems including:

  • Burning sensations elsewhere in the body

  • Changes in sensation

  • Extreme sensitivity to the lightest touch

  • Inability to determine joint position, which causes lack of coordination

  • Muscle weakness and difficulty walking

  • Nerve pain

  • Numbness or reduced ability to feel pain or changes in temperature, especially in your feet and toes

  • Pain when walking

  • Serious foot problems, such as ulcers, infections, deformities, and bone and joint pain

  • Sharp, jabbing pain that may be worse at night

  • Tingling or numbness

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

Sudden lip burning sensation accompanied by numbness or weakness of the arms or legs, especially when it occurs on only one side of the body, can be a sign of stroke. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or anyone you are with, experience lip burning sensation accompanied by other symptoms that frequently occur with a stroke including:

  • Change in mental status or sudden behavior change, such as confusion, delirium, lethargy, hallucinations and delusions

  • Garbled or slurred speech or inability to speak

  • Paralysis or inability to move a body part

  • Severe headache

  • Sudden change in vision, loss of vision, or eye pain

What causes lip burning sensation?

Lip burning sensation can be the result of sensory nerve or skin damage in the lips and surrounding tissues. Burns are a common cause of lip burning sensation. Chemicals, food, and sun exposure may cause such burns.

Disorders of the nerves, such as neuropathy, trauma and stroke may also cause lip burning sensation. Diabetes is a common cause of disorders related to sensory neuropathy and, therefore, could be a contributing factor to lip burning sensation.

Causes of lip burning sensation

Lip burning sensation may be caused by numerous conditions including:

  • Hypersensitivity response to food or other substances
  • Chapped lips
  • Chemical burn
  • Cold
  • Lip injury
  • Mouth trauma or injury
  • Neuropathy
  • Sun burn
  • Thermal burn

Serious or life-threatening causes of lip burning sensation

In some cases, lip burning sensation may be a symptom of a serious or life-threatening condition that should be evaluated immediately in an emergency setting. These include:

  • Cranial nerve trauma or injury
  • Stroke
  • Transient ischemic attack

Questions for diagnosing the cause of lip burning sensation

To diagnose your condition, your doctor or licensed health care practitioner will ask you several questions related to your lip burning sensation including:

  • How long have you had the lip burning sensation?
  • What other symptoms are you experiencing?
  • When do your symptoms occur?
  • Are your symptoms worsened or relieved by anything?

What are the potential complications of lip burning sensation?

Because lip burning sensation can be due to serious diseases, failure to seek treatment can result in serious complications and permanent damage. Once the underlying cause is diagnosed, it is important for you to follow the treatment plan that you and your health care professional design specifically for you to reduce the risk of potential complications including:

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2021 Jan 10
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.
  1. Chapped lips. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/002036.htm
  2. Peripheral neuropathy. MedlinePlus, U.S. National Library of Medicine. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000593.htm