5 Things You Need To Know About Cheilitis Glandularis

Cheilitis glandularis is an inflammatory disorder of the salivary glands that is characterized by swelling of the lower lip. This condition poses both aesthetic and health problems for sufferers. Here are five things you need to know about it.

What are the signs of cheilitis glandularis?

If you have cheilitis glandularis, you'll notice that your lower lip is swollen. You'll also see or feel swollen bumps on the inside of your lower lip; these bumps are inflamed labial salivary glands. If you squeeze your lip, mucus will come out of the bumps. These lesions may become infected, and if that happens, your lips may become crusty and swollen. Ulcers can also form in the area. Both the appearance and the pain of this condition can be distressing.

What causes it?

The cause of cheilitis glandularis still isn't known. Researchers have suggested that the condition is an autosomal dominant hereditary disease, meaning that it may be able to be passed down from parent to child. Factors like excessive sun exposure to the lower lip, smoking, and poor oral hygiene have also been proposed as possible factors. More research will need to be done to confirm these theories.

Is it serious?

Sufferers of cheilitis glandularis may be self-conscious about their lower lip's appearance, but this condition is not just a cosmetic problem. It has been linked to a higher risk of skin cancer, specifically squamous cell carcinoma. Often, pre-cancerous cells are present, and in as many as 35% of cases, carcinomas are already present. Since there is such a high chance that cheilitis glandularis can become cancerous, it needs to be taken seriously and treated promptly.

Can it be treated?

Your dermatologist can offer multiple treatments for this condition, including topical 5-fluorouracil. This cream is very powerful and is used to treat skin cancers. The cream will destroy the damaged cells in your lip. The goal of this treatment is to prevent your condition from becoming cancerous, and if it has already become cancerous, to kill the cancer cells. If this cream isn't enough, you may need to have surgery to remove the cells.

If your lip is infected, your dermatologist may also prescribe an antibiotic. Corticosteroids may also be given to help reduce the swelling in your salivary glands.

How common is cheilitis glandularis?

Cheilitis glandularis is uncommon, both in the United States and in the rest of the world. It is most common in males who are middle-aged or seniors. 

If your lower lip is swollen and crusty, see your dermatologist right away for treatment. You may have cheilitis glandularis, a potentially-serious but treatable condition. Go to website for more information.