Tingling lips can be a symptom of allergies, infections, imbalances in blood chemistry, and neurological problems. Numbness, tingling, heat, and other odd sensations in the lips are symptoms, rather than independent conditions, and it is important to see a doctor for evaluation. The doctor can conduct an examination, recommend diagnostic tests, and develop an explanation. Once the doctor determines the cause, it can be treated and the tingling should resolve.
One very common reason to experience tingling lips is food allergies. The lips are sensitive, and when people consume foods they are allergic to, the lips can be the first warning signs. If the lips become tingly or puffy, people should take note of the foods they've recently consumed. Allergies can vary in severity, and sometimes food allergies are limited to some mild discomfort around the lips and mouth. In other cases, the tingling may be followed with more severe allergy symptoms like airway closure and rash.
Infections, particularly with herpes, can also cause tingling lips. People with herpes commonly notice tingling shortly before an outbreak, and other kinds of viral, bacterial, and fungal infections of the mouth can cause tingling as well. The lips may also be itchy. Other signs of infection, like lesions, discolorations, and strong smells may develop as the infectious organism gains a foothold.
Blood chemistry can play a role as well, particularly in the case of changes in calcium levels. Tingling lips may be a sign of hormonal imbalances. Neurological issues like damage to the facial nerves can also cause the condition. Another potential culprit is Raynaud's phenomenon, where the blood vessels spasm in response to cold. The spasms restrict the flow of blood, causing tingling, numbness, and discomfort. People exposed to extreme cold may experience lip tingling without any underlying pathology as their bodies react to the cold.
Sometimes, people develop tingling lips during a panic attack. In panic attacks, the body floods with hormones as a flight or fight response develops. It is common to experience numbness, tingling, and other abnormal sensations in the extremities. The patient may also feel faint, dizzy, or clammy. The physical symptoms of a panic attack may be quite severe, and can be disabling for some patients, making it important to find out why a person experiences such attacks. Medications are available to address the panic attacks when they occur, and patients can also use therapy to explore the underlying causes and develop coping skills to prevent future attacks.