What is a lip sore?

A lip sore is a blister, bump, lesion or ulcer occurring on the lips. The surface of the sore may be broken and bleeding or may be crusted or scabbed. The lip sore may be painful, tender or irritating and may look red and swollen.

There are many causes of lip sores; they range from mild to serious. In most cases, lip sores are not caused by a serious condition and do not pose a significant health risk. Lip sores may occur as the result of a single incident or recur frequently.

Lip sores are often the result of a minor trauma. For example, you may develop a lip sore from biting your lip or burning it with hot food. Herpes simplex virus is a common cause of contagious, recurring lip sores called cold sores or fever blisters. Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers, are another common cause of lip sores. Lip sores may also occur as a symptom of an underlying disease or serious condition. A rare but serious cause of lip sores is oral cancer.

Lip sores are rarely associated with a medical emergency. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you experience lip sores along with other serious symptoms such as high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), difficulty breathing, or difficulty swallowing.

Seek prompt medical care

if your lip sore is persistent or causes you concern.


What other symptoms might occur with a lip sore?

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

Mouth symptoms that may occur along with lip sores

Lip sores may accompany other symptoms affecting the mouth including:


What causes a lip sore?

Lip sores have many causes. The type and severity of lip sore will vary with the underlying cause. Lip sores are often the result of minor trauma, such as biting your lip or eating extremely hot food. Other common causes of lip sores include herpes simplex virus infection resulting in a cold sore, as well as canker sores. Less commonly, lip sores may be a symptom of an underlying disease or ser... Read more about lip sorecauses

Medical Reviewer: Cynthia Haines, MD Last Annual Review Date: Aug 5, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Mouth, Teeth and Oral Health