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Cheilitis glandularis is an abnormal enlargement and protrusion of the lower lip with the loss of the clear demarcation between the lip surface and the surrounding skin. Ask a Doctor Online Now!The term cheilitis glandularis is used to describe changes in the lip rather than being a diagnosis on its own. The term cheilitis refers to the inflammation of the lip and there are various different types of cheilitis which are not necessarily related. The condition initially starts as simple cheilitis glandularis marked by inflammation of the salivary ducts with swelling of the lip. The minor salivary glands in the inner lip lining (mucosa) contribute small amounts of mucus in the mouth. Genetic factors have been proposed as a possible factor in cheilitis glandularis but this has not been conclusively proven. There is no significant evidence to suggest that certain mouth diseases like oral thrush (candidiasis) and oral lichen planus more likely to progress to cheilitis glandularis.  However, the treatment may be complicated by the presence of these other diseases. Signs and symptoms of cheilitis glandularis depends on the severity and duration of the condition. People with cheilitis glandularis are are greater risk of squamous cell carcinoma of the lip.
Antihistamines are prescribed for angioedema but are not effective for cheilitis glandularis on its own.
Antibiotics may be commenced for bacterial infections and combined with topical immunosuppressants for superficial suppurative forms. Topical immunosuppressants and immune modulators may be prescribed for cheilitis glandularis with conditions such as oral lichen planus. Surgery may be necessary in some cases and this may include vermilionectomy, cryosurgery or laser surgery.
Please note that any information or feedback on this website is not intended to replace a consultation with a health care professional and will not constitute a medical diagnosis.
The delicate lining of the inner lip becomes exposed to the environment gradually damaging it and sometimes leading to infections.


The exact reason for these changes is unclear although it is believed to revolve around dysfunction of the minor salivary glands on the lip. Cheilitis glandularis is lip inflammation associated with malfunction of the minor salivary glands. It is important to note that cheilitis glandularis is a consequence of some underlying disease that causes disturbances in the minor salivary glands. The condition has also been seen in HIV infected patients and is believed to a manifestation of HIV, although it does not occur in every person infected with the virus.
It is not uncommon for it to be asymptomatic in the early stages meaning that there are no symptoms. This is more likely in Caucasians and the contributing factor in this regard may be sunlight exposure. Treating any underlying diseases of the mouth or lip should be the first priority even if it appears to be unrelated to cheilitis glandularis. The first sign that a person would get is a burning sensation in the mouth, followed by appearance of blisters. Even microscopic examination of the lip tissue may show different changes among patients and the minor salivary glands may be completely normal in some instances. There are broadly three types which are believed to be the mild, moderate and severe stages of the same condition. The changes in the lip is a result of exposure to the environment as the swelling causes eversion (turning outwards). It is as yet unclear whether trauma, tobacco use, infection and prolonged use of antibiotics may be contributing factors to the development of the condition or simply worsen a mild existing case (simple cheilitis glandularis). The condition is chronic and progressive and patients may only seek treatment months after it starts.
The latter, Crohn’s disease, is an inflammatory bowel disease but can affect any part of the gut including the mouth and lips. However, since the condition is so uncommon, treatment has to be selected on the individual case.


Sometimes, the underlying disease in kidney and stomach will reflect by the symptoms of mouth ulcer.
It should not be mistaken with other lower lips disorders often caused by biting, excessive licking, sun damage to the lip and abnormal drying of the lip. Despite the condition being vague in terms of the underlying disease process, causes and even responsiveness to treatment, it is needs to be attended to as it will continue to worsen over time and even increase the chances of squamous cell carcinoma (cancer) of the lip in some cases.
Over time if it is left untreated it can eventually become the deep suppurative form which is also referred to as myxadenitis labialis.
This is ongoing over long periods of time and some of the ducts may become narrowed leading to accumulation of saliva and formation of retention cysts. Men between the ages of 40 and 70 years seem to be more likely to suffer with cheilitis glandularis. Cheilitis glandularis also needs to be differentiated from angioedema of the lip where there is pronounced swelling and enlargement of the lip often due to an allergic reaction.
The formation of retention cysts and ulcers are not complications as such but part of the disease process. In case the blisters do not get settle down within a week, you need to consult a doctor, since it can be formed due to other reasons like hormonal imbalance and bowel disease.
Some of the ducts are also abnormally widened allowing for small amounts of thick secretions to constantly leak out. Hyperpigmentation (darkening) may occur in some cases with repeated irritation of the lining.




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