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Mouth Diseases

Little Small Pimple Like Bumps on Lips

01/11/2010

Question:

Hello.. so the other day I realized after rubbing my lips together that it wasn`t really smooth so I went to the mirror and noticed these small little pimple like bumps on the top of my lip. Now it has formed a swollen little red bump in the middle of my top lip and still has small little bumps. It also has spread to my bottom lip. You can not notice it from far away some people cant even notice it close up. It just looks like my lips are kinda swollen. At first they didn`t burn or anything. But I`ve had it for like four days now and it is starting to burn and feel numb, kinda a chap feeling.

A little FYI, my husband gets fever blisters like once every three weeks. But we have been together for six years and I never broke out with anything. My mother in law is saying thats what it is, but I never heard of people getting fever blisters on their actually lip. Also I mean why now? After all these years of not getting one why would I all of a sudden pop up with one? Please help

Answer:

What you are describing sounds most like normal anatomic structures called Fordyce granules and minor salivary glands. These have undoubtedly been present for many years, but most people don't notice them. Fordyce granules are most numerous on the upper vermilion zone (lipstick area) of the lip. These tiny (about the size of the head of a pin) sebaceous (oil) glands typically have a yellowish color.

Minor salivary glands are found just beneath the lining of the mouth, and the inner surfaces of the upper and lower lip contain dozens of these soft bumps. Their ducts (tubes that carry the saliva to the lining of the mouth) appear as tiny bumps on the inner surface of the lips.

The sensations that you are experiencing may be caused by your manipulating (pulling and stretching) the lips. Of course, a definite diagnosis could only be made by having someone like your dentist or an oral pathologist look at your mouth.

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Response by:

Carl M Allen, DDS, MSD Carl M Allen, DDS, MSD
Professor Emeritus of Oral Pathology
College of Dentistry
The Ohio State University