Friday, 12 July 2013
Angular cheilitis, an inflammatory skin condition affecting the labial commissures or the mouth angles, is often associated with vitamin deficiency, particularly vitamin B12. Is this true? Does vitamin B deficiency really cause this skin problem otherwise known as perleche or cheilosis?
To answer the question, it’s both a yes and a no.
Deficiency in vitamin B12 does not directly cause the skin condition. Just because you’re deficient in this vitamin doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically suffer from angular cheilitis, or that if you have angular cheilitis, it’s solely because you’re not getting enough vitamin B12.
The truth is, vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the many things that can trigger its onset. Why? Anything that weakens the immune resistance can make a person vulnerable to a multitude of infections including angular cheilitis.
Although there’s no specific study linking vitamin B12 deficiency to angular cheilitis, it has been found by several researchers that insufficient in B12 can weaken the immune system and make the body more susceptible to various types of infections.
In one study involving vitamin B12 deficient patients, it was revealed that chronic coughs due to bacterial infection in upper respiratory tract were greatly reduced after intake of vitamin B12 supplements. These findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Another study, this one conducted by an Australian research team from Monash University and University of Melbourne, found that vitamin B synthesis was effective in activating specialized immune cells to combat bacteria and yeast. It makes the body more capable of fighting infections.
Safe it is to say that though vitamin B12 deficiency will not immediately put you at risk of angular cheilitis, it’s better to ensure sufficient intake of this vitamin. Not only would this reduce likelihood of developing angular cheilitis, it will also help speed up your recovery if ever you succumb to it, and improve your health in general.
Vitamin B12 supplement is always a good idea. But you’d also have to improve the quality of your diet. Best food sources of vitamin B12 include lean meat, poultry, seafood, beans, and dark leafy greens, among many others.
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Posted by Pete Galigher at 10:24
Thursday, 11 July 2013
A Quick but Definitive Guide to Angular Cheilitis or Perleche
Every important thing you need to know about angular cheilitis is included in this quick but definitive guide. If you or anyone you know is suffering from this frustrating skin condition, the first step in getting rid of the problem permanently is learning more about it.
Angular cheilitis refers to a chronic inflammatory condition of the skin that affects the labial commissures or the mouth corners. Apart from the French term “perleche,” it is also called by several other names such as cheilosis, angular stomatitis, and mouth corner cracks.
Any (or a combination) of the following can trigger the onset of this skin problem:
- Accumulation of saliva in the corners of the mouth
- Dry chapped lips
- Bacteria, yeasts, fungi or virus
- Skin conditions like contact dermatitis
- Habits that cause saliva accumulation or spread of bacteria or fungi (thumb-sucking, fingernail biting, use of pacifier and so on)
- Medical conditions that weaken the immune system
- Poor-fitting dentures
- Cold weather that causes skin dryness and chapping
Here’s a brief look at the top predisposing factors that put people at risk of angular cheilitis:
- Oral thrush in babies, elderly, diabetics, or people who use antibiotics
- Malnutrition (iron or riboflavin deficiency)
- Systemic ailments like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
- Sensitive skin
- Genetic predisposition
Angular cheilitis’ manifestations include the following:
- Cracks, splits and fissures on the corners of the mouth
- Pain, swelling, itchiness and bleeding in the affected areas
- Blisters, erosions and crusting
To diagnose angular cheilitis, a doctor will perform a culture test by taking a swab from the mouth corners. This will reveal the existence of microorganisms like Candida albicans and Staphylococcus aureus.
The good news is, angular cheilitis can possibly go away on its own without treatment. But of course, since the symptoms are often painful and bothersome, you’d want to do something about it instead of just wait. These treatment methods have been proven effective in curbing this skin problem:
- Moisturizing lip balm
- Antibacterial medications
- Anti-fungal topical ointments
- Nutritional supplements
Posted by Pete Galigher at 10:21
Wednesday, 10 July 2013
A Close Look at Angular Cheilitis and Oral Herpes
Angular cheilitis is often mistaken as oral herpes. Since the latter is highly contagious and thus, a lot more prevalent, it’s understandable that more people are familiar about it. But it’s very important to learn to distinguish between the two. Not only could confusion result in misdiagnosis, it can also lead to incorrect treatment. So that won’t happen, it’s best to educate yourself about the basics of these two mouth conditions.
Angular cheilitis is a chronic condition involving the corner of the mouth’s skin. It can be a fungal, bacterial or viral infection. It may occur only on one side of the mouth or on both sides. It doesn’t choose its victim, as it affects both genders and all ages. There’s a slight increase of risk, however, among children, elderly and people who have compromised immune resistance. This condition, which can last for a few weeks and then heal on its own, affects movement of the mouth, making talking, eating and smiling a challenge.
Various factors can trigger the onset of angular cheilitis. The most common causes include nutritional deficiency, poor-fitting dentures, use of expired cosmetic products, certain medical conditions, use of pacifier or feeding bottles among babies, thumb-sucking or fingernail-biting habits, cold weather, stress, and chapped lips.
The bottom line is this: any activity that causes accumulation of skin-drying saliva on the corners of the mouth (poor-fitting dentures, use of pacifier, or thumb sucking) that results in crack formation combined with any factor that weakens the immune system, making a person susceptible to infection (iron or vitamin B deficiency, stress, or sickness), can cause angular cheilitis.
The most obvious symptom of this inflammatory skin condition is the appearance of open lesions on the corners of the mouth. These open lesions usually start from dry, flaky and chapped skin. Eventually, they turn into deep cracks or splits. When saliva or any other source of bacteria or fungi come into contact with those cracks and splits, and penetrate into them, that’s when infection happens.
Soon, the area will become inflamed and red. These are signs that the body’s immune system is trying to fight off the invaders. If that works, the redness and swelling will go away after a few days or weeks. If not, the cracks will turn into ulcers, which may bleed whenever the mouth is opened.
To diagnose angular cheilitis, a culture test is performed. It determines if the condition is a result of a fungal, bacterial or viral infection. A doctor will perform the test by getting a swab from the affected area of the mouth. This will then be tested for traces of microbes like Candida albicans and Staphylococcus aureus.
Treatment is usually a combination of topical ointment or cream (antibacterial or fungal) and elimination of the trigger. Even if you manage to combat the fungi or bacteria causing the infection but fail to get rid of the primary cause of the condition, it’s likely to recur. For example, if you’re suffering from a certain medical condition that makes your immune resistance weak, then you’ll probably get the infection over and over.
This is why, you need to strengthen your immune defense with proper diet and exercise. If you’re deficient in certain vitamins or minerals, especially vitamin B12 or iron, it’s a must to get nutritional supplements to fight the problem more effectively. You also need to get immediate medical care if you’re suffering from any underlying condition that’s causing your angular cheilitis.
Compared to angular cheilitis, oral herpes is a lot more common. It affects over 50 percent of the adult population in the United States. It’s probably because this skin condition is highly contagious. It can easily be transmitted from one person to another by sharing items or coming into close contact (e.g. kissing).
This mouth disorder, which is marked by red and swollen blisters around the mouth, can go away without treatment in two to four weeks. It can go through three stages: primary infection, latency and recurrence. During the first stage, the virus enters the skin and reproduces, creating cold sores accompanied by fever. If it doesn’t occur with any sores or other symptoms, it’s referred to as the asymptomatic type of infection.
During the latency stage, the virus moves from the site of infection to a nerve tissue mass located in the spine called the dorsal root ganglion. Here, it reproduces again before deactivating. By this time, you’ll find yourself relieved of symptoms. But when the body undergoes emotional or physical stress, the virus reactivates and this is known as the third stage or recurrence.
This condition, otherwise known as cold sores, can affect all ages at any time of the year. It is caused by a virus called by herpes simplex virus. This virus comes in two types: HSV-1 and HSV-2. HSV-1 is accountable for 80 percent of oral herpes cases.
As for the symptoms, the first one is the appearance of painful sores on the lips, tongue, gums, roof of the mouth, and inside the cheeks. These can be painful, burning and itchy. These may be accompanied by fever, muscle aches, exhaustion, irritability and gray coating on the tongue or tonsils. When the blisters erupt, they form shallow gray ulcers before turning into dry scabs.
Doctors can easily identify oral herpes based on the physical appearance of the blisters. But if the condition requires a more definitive diagnosis, your doctor will perform laboratory tests including culture analysis, antigen and antibody studies, blood sampling, and staining test (Tzanck smear).
Alleviating the symptoms is one of the first treatment steps for oral herpes. For fever and muscle pain, acetaminophen like Tylenol or ibuprofen such as Advil, Excedrin or Motrin is given. The doctor will also advice intake of plenty of fluids for dehydration prevention. Oral or intravenous medications for oral herpes are only advised for people with severe infections and extremely weak immune systems.
As you can see, these two mouth conditions have countless differences. Although they may look similar, they have different causes, symptoms and treatment methods.
Posted by Pete Galigher at 10:18
Discover the Various Mouth Illnesses Similar to Angular Cheilitis
The fact that angular cheilitis is similar to many other types of mouth illnesses can make treatment difficult. There is a bigger chance of improper self-diagnosis and wrong treatment. To avoid confusion, it’s important to know that this inflammatory skin condition occurs only on the corners of the mouth or the mouth angles, thus the name.
It can be triggered by a number of factors including fungal or bacterial infections, poor-fitting dentures, vitamin B or iron deficiency, and cold weather. Unlike other mouth disorders like cold sore, it’s not contagious. It can’t even spread to other parts of the body.
Here are some of the mouth disorders commonly mistaken as angular cheilitis:
Angular cheilitis versus cold sores
Cold sores, otherwise known as oral herpes, are caused by a virus called herpes simplex (HSV-1). While angular cheilitis manifests itself as deep cracks or splits on the corners of the mouth, this condition causes the appearance of several blisters around the mouth area, not just on the corners. These blisters can grow bigger until they burst and form a scab.
Cold sores can fully heal within 14 to 20 days. And because it’s highly contagious, it’s a lot more common than angular cheilitis. In fact, according to the American Sexual Health Association, over 50 percent of the adults in the United States have cold sores.
Angular cheilitis versus mouth ulcers
Commonly affecting people ages 16 to 25 years old, mouth ulcers refer to open lesions inside the mouth that penetrate into the mucus membrane. Unlike angular cheilitis that’s limited on the mouth’s corners, this one can develop inside the lips, inside the cheeks, on the gums, and under the tongue. Since it’s usually caused by trauma (such as accidental biting of the lip or cheek), mouth ulcer is not contagious. Healing time is also quick—from a few days to a week.
Angular cheilitis versus chapped lips
The two mouth disorders mentioned above are totally unrelated to angular cheilitis. But this one, though a different condition, can be a possible precursor. As you know, skin dryness is a leading cause of angular cheilitis since dry skin is more prone to crack formation. When cracks form and bacteria or fungi set in, that’s when the problem turns into an infection.
Chapped lips are very common especially for people living in cold weather. Although it doesn’t automatically lead to angular cheilitis, it pays to be careful. Don’t make the mistake of licking your lips to “moisturize” it. Doing so accomplishes the opposite. Saliva only dries up the skin even further. Not to mention, it has a lot of bacteria and fungi that can cause infection.
Whether it’s angular cheilitis, oral herpes, mouth ulcer or simply chapped lips, it’s imperative to resolve the problem right away before it gets worse. Consult your doctor to get proper diagnosis especially if you’re not so sure what particular type of condition you have. This way, you’ll be able to apply the proper suitable treatment that will give you long-term results.
Posted by Pete Galigher at 10:07
Preventing and Treating Angular Cheilitis in Children
Children’s immune systems are not that strong yet, which is why they’re more vulnerable to infections than adults. Babies in particular are at big risk, suffering from a high number of infections once every one to two months.
There’s a long list of common pediatric infections that affect babies and young children every year. These include ear infections, diarrhea, flu, and urinary tract infections, among many others. Common cold is the most prevalent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there’s an annual rate of one billion common cold cases in the United States.
Although not as rife as the common cold, angular cheilitis can also pose a serious problem to children. Angular cheilitis is a skin disorder characterized with scaling and fissures on the corners of the mouth.
It affects children who are sick, are under constant stress, or are deficient in nutrients since infections can get into the body easier when the immune resistance is weak. It’s also common in kids who drool while sleeping or eating, or babies who use pacifiers as saliva accumulation on the mouth corners can lead to the formation of cracks. Those who bite their fingernails or suck their thumbs out of habit are also more prone to this infection.
Apart from these, children are also more susceptible to this condition because they’re more sensitive to extreme changes in temperature. Dry and cold weather can trigger angular cheilitis because it makes the skin more prone to chapping and drying, and this can eventually lead to cracking and infections.
Treating angular cheilitis in children and preventing its recurrence requires finding out what exactly is causing the problem. Home remedies usually work but only to alleviate the symptoms like redness, swelling, and itchiness. Now, in order to get rid of the problem for good, the root cause should be eliminated.
For example, if iron-deficiency anemia is said to be causing the problem, then the child’s parents should feed him with a diet that’s high in iron. For kids, the best sources of iron include lean meat, poultry, fortified cereals and oatmeal, tofu, soybeans, lentils, beans, spinach, collard greens, kale, whole wheat bread and raisins. Iron supplements can also help.
If angular cheilitis is triggered by habits like thumb-sucking or the use of pacifier, these should be eliminated in order for the skin condition to be fully treated. As angular cheilitis can also be caused by bacterial or fungal infections, then fighting the problem with the use of antibacterial or anti-fungal medications can be the best recourse.
Don’t let your kid suffer from this problem long enough. Get to the bottom of the issue and resolve whatever it is that’s causing those painful and itchy cracks on the corners of your child’s mouth.
Posted by Pete Galigher at 10:03
Tuesday, 9 July 2013
What is the Best Angular Cheilitis Home Remedy?
Angular cheilitis, a chronic inflammatory condition of the skin caused by fungus, bacteria or virus, triggers the formation of cracks on the mouth’s angles. Sometimes, it occurs only on one side but more often, bilaterally. Tell-tale signs include redness and inflammation, deep cracks, bleeding, and shallow ulcers on the corners of the mouth.
It’s rooted from various causes. On top of the list, we have nutritional deficiencies, especially iron and vitamin B12; weakened immune resistance; bacterial, fungal or viral infections, dry and cold weather that lead to chapped skin on the lips; poor-fitting dentures; and accumulation of saliva on the mouth corners.
This skin condition is usually painful, itchy, unsightly and annoying. People who suffer from this problem are always in the search for effective but safe home remedies, which is why experts are often asked this question: What is the best angular cheilitis home remedy?
There’s no single answer to this question, as it actually depends on what works best for you. What’s effective for some people are not for others. Your best bet is to try different methods to find out which one will give you quick and long-term solution.
Here are some of those that you’d want to try:
- Aloe vera – Aloe vera has long been used as a home remedy for various minor ailments. For angular cheilitis, it is said to provide relief by soothing and toning down the inflammation. What you need to do is to get a little bit of gel from the inner part of the plant and apply over the affected area. This has worked for many people because aloe vera has the ability to boost the repair of skin tissue and promote regeneration of the cells.
- Cocoa butter – Cocoa butter is an efficient skin moisturizer. It doesn’t only prevent chapped lips but also helps solve the problem of angular cheilitis. Put a small amount of cocoa butter (preferably the all-natural kind) on the affected area. Leave it on for the rest of the day. You can also choose to apply it several times about two to three times daily. This will bring back the moisture to the cracks on the mouth corners and treat the inflammation.
- Neem leaves – To get rid of angular cheilitis, you also need to fight the infection. Use neem leaves for this job. Crush a small amount of fresh neem leaves to extract the juice. Apply it on the corners of the lips to help destroy the bacteria or fungi causing the infection.
- Honey – Another efficient way to combat bacteria and fungi is with honey. It’s hard to imagine how this sweet substance can fight microorganisms but you’ll be surprised as to how well it can do the task. Discover its efficacy by applying some on the affected area and leave it on for about 15 minutes twice or thrice a day. For quicker results, use in combination with fresh cucumber slices.
- Water – One factor that leads to angular cheilitis is dryness. That’s why, it’s a must to keep your body hydrated. Increase your water intake. It should be at least 10 glasses of water a day. This is a good remedy for cracked and dry lip corners. Use a straw though so that moisture won’t accumulate in those areas.
Posted by Pete Galigher at 09:59
Monday, 8 July 2013
Angular Cheilitis and HIV: What’s the Connection?
If you search online for information about angular cheilitis, there’s a good chance that you’ll find something that tells you it’s a common symptom of HIV. And if you think you have angular cheilitis, this is more than enough to make you panic. Don’t. At least for now.
Angular cheilitis is not a common symptom of HIV. Having this inflammatory skin condition that affects the corners of the mouth’s skin is not a good indicator of HIV. Before we get to that, let’s learn more about these two medical conditions first in order to better understand why they are commonly associated with each other.
Angular cheilitis is an infection of the skin on the corners of the mouth. This is due to the accumulation of saliva on these areas that leave the skin dry and prone to chapping. Extreme chapping can lead to the formation of cracks, which in time can become infected as more bacteria- and fungi-containing saliva get into them. However, infection doesn’t happen automatically. It only occurs when the body’s immune resistance is weak.
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus, the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), millions have HIV infection, with nearly 20 percent unaware of it. All over the world, there’s an average of 1.5 million deaths per year, as reported by the Worldwide HIV and AIDS statistics of Avert.org.
The virus comes into types: HIV-1 and HIV-2. The more common and what is referred to by HIV is HIV-1. Both types of viruses destroy specific cells in the blood—the CD4+ T cells, which are the ones responsible for curbing illnesses. AIDs can therefore weaken the immune system greatly and make patients a lot more susceptible to diseases and infections.
HIV can be found in the infected person’s bodily fluids including blood, breast milk, vaginal fluids, semen, and so on. This is why, it can be transmitted from one person to another through sexual intercourse or blood transfusion. It can also be passed from an infected mother to her unborn child during pregnancy or to a baby through breastfeeding.
Being a deadly disease with no cure, HIV and AIDS are greatly feared. This and the social stigma that comes with acquiring this medical condition definitely make a person with AIDS suffer a lot. It’s good to know though that there are many forms of treatment that can slow down the progress of this disease, helping people infected with HIV live a good quality life.
The reason angular cheilitis is being linked to HIV is because both are triggered by weak immune systems. When the body’s immune resistance is very weak, it becomes easy to develop infections including angular cheilitis. But again, it doesn’t mean that just because you have inflammation on the corners of your mouth, you’re already infected with HIV. It can be caused by many other factors. If it would make you feel better, have yourself tested for HIV to have that peace of mind you’re looking for. Once you find out that it’s not the cause of your angular cheilitis, move on and find out what truly is causing it so you can get the suitable proper treatment.
Posted by Pete Galigher at 09:56
Angular Cheilitis or Oral Herpes? Learn to Distinguish the Two
The problem with angular cheilitis, other than being annoying painful and itchy, is that it resembles other mouth ailments, which can lead to incorrect self-diagnosis and treatment. One common mouth disorder often confused with it is oral herpes or cold sore. It’s very important to distinguish between the two so proper treatment can be applied.
What is angular cheilitis?
Angular cheilitis is a medical condition of the skin marked by the formation of cracks on the mouth corners. These openings make normal movement of the lips difficult and uncomfortable. The problem generally starts with an accumulation of saliva on the corners of the mouth. Saliva doesn’t only dry up the skin, leading to open cracks and splits, it also contains bacteria and fungi that can cause infection. When infection occurs, that’s when angular cheilitis is said to have occurred. As it gets worse, the cracks develop into deeper crusts that bleed whenever the mouth is opened.
What is oral herpes?
Herpes labialis is the medical term for oral herpes or cold sore. It refers to the infection of the mouth or gums that cause the appearance of small and painful blisters. These sores, which appear not only on the corners of the mouth but all around the nearby areas, can be extremely distressing. Sometimes, they burst and develop into scabs. The condition usually heals on its own after a few weeks.
What are the similarities and differences between the two?
Based on the definitions provided, angular cheilitis and oral herpes share three things in common:
- Both conditions are painful and uncomfortable
- Both appear on the mouth area
- Both are marked by redness and inflammation
- Causes – Angular cheilitis can be triggered by numerous factors including nutritional deficiency, dental problems, weakened immune system, and fungal or bacterial infections. It can be caused by one factor or a combination of several. But the bottom line is, the condition is due to the drying, cracking, and infection of the mouth corners.
Oral herpes, on the other hand, is caused by only one thing and that’s the virus called herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), thus the name.
- Signs and symptoms – For angular cheilitis, signs and symptoms include skin lesions in one or both corners of the mouth, dry flaky skin, extremely dry and chapped lips, painful bumps or cracks on the mouth corners, bleeding when the mouth is opened, stinging sensation on the affected area, white coating on the tongue, and pain when smiling, laughing or eating. As for cold sore, tell-tale signs are blisters around the mouth, sore throat, fever, tingling around the lips, headaches, and muscle pains.
- Spread of virus – It’s also important to note that while oral herpes is highly contagious, angular cheilitis is not. Herpes virus is in fact very easy to spread. You can catch it by having intimate contact with an infected person, or coming into contact with anything that he/she has used like towels, utensils, razor and so on. Angular cheilitis, meanwhile, can’t be spread from one person to another. It can’t even spread to other body parts. The infection is contained to the mouth corners.
- Treatment – While both conditions can be treated effectively, once you’re inflicted with the herpes virus, it stays with you for lifetime. That’s not the case with angular cheilitis. You can get rid of it for good and once you do, you won’t have to worry about it coming back.
Treatment methods for angular cheilitis include application of an anti-fungal or antibacterial ointment on the affected area. It’s also important to get to the root cause of the problem and resolve that for long-term treatment of angular cheilitis. For example, if the condition is caused by poor-fitting dentures, one should go to the dentist and have his/her dentures fixed.
When it comes to oral herpes, the doctor will prescribe antiviral medications to kill the virus, as well as pain killers to alleviate the pain and other symptoms. Common medicines prescribed for cold sore include Acyclovir, Famciclovir and Valacyclovir. There are also antiviral skin creams that can be applied on the mouth sores.
Learning to distinguish between these two conditions that are often confused with each other can help ensure proper and suitable treatment.
Posted by Pete Galigher at 09:51
Sunday, 7 July 2013
Does Angular Cheilitis Cream Work?An inflammatory skin lesion on the mouth’s corners that often occur bilaterally, angular cheilitis is marked by deep cracks, crusts, and shallow ulcers that may bleed when the mouth is opened. Just by the sound of it, it’s easy to imagine how painful and uncomfortable this ailment is. If you’re suffering from it, you can quickly attest as to how this problem, which is also quite embarrassing, has taken a toll on the quality of your life.
Good thing, there are angular cheilitis creams available in the market. These are anti-fungal topical ointments that can be purchased over the counter. As you may know, this condition is often triggered by a fungus called Candida albicans. Killing these pathogens with 1 percent hydrocortisone or clotrimazole can help clear up the problem for good. And yes, it does work in most cases.
However, for some people, it doesn’t. Or even if it does, it only alleviates the symptoms on a surface level and the entire problem recurs after a short period. There can be a number of reasons why the anti-fungal treatment is not working. For one, it’s possible that the person has a very weak immune system that even if you manage to kill the fungi causing the problem, you’re still prone to another case of fungal infection.
Also, it can happen that you didn’t get rid of the very root cause of the problem. For example, if what’s causing the fungal infection is your habit of biting your fingernails or whatever object you can get your hands on, then you can’t expect to say goodbye to angular cheilitis for good until you ditch these habits. Or if you still keep on licking your lips, which only dries up your skin and gets more fungi or bacteria into the corners of the mouth, then the problem is most likely to recur.
In more severe cases, angular cheilitis may be caused by an underlying medical problem. Examples of these include Plummer-Vinson syndrome, Crohn’s Disease, inflammatory bowel disease, and ulcerative colitis. When this is the case, even if you use countless anti-fungal creams, your angular cheilitis will not be eliminated until you have your medical condition treated. Getting immediate medical attention is a must.
Angular cheilitis creams do work. If they don’t, that means you have another problem to solve beneath the fungal infection occurring on the corners of your mouth.
Posted by Pete Galigher at 09:41
Saturday, 6 July 2013
Get to Know the Top Causes of Angular Cheilitis
Many people don’t know what angular cheilitis is but they surely are familiar to those cracks on the corners of the mouth. An inflammatory skin condition marked by open lesions and fissures on the corners of the mouth, angular cheilitis is a very common skin problem that’s often seen in dermatology clinics and dental offices. It can be triggered by numerous possible factors such as the following:
Bacterial, fungal or viral infection
Most cases of angular cheilitis are fungal infections while some are bacterial or viral. Bacteria and fungi can naturally be found in the saliva. They don’t cause any problem when the person’s immune system is working at its best. When it’s not, and there’s an accumulation of saliva on the corners of the mouth, leaving the skin prone to drying and chapping, open lesions can develop and these can become infected. When that happens, a person may develop angular cheilitis.
According to experts, angular cheilitis can also be caused by nutritional deficiencies, particularly of iron and vitamin B, although not directly as stated in the New Hanover Regional Medical Center study performed in 2005. Instead, since vitamin B and iron support the immune system, deficiency in these nutrients can weaken the body’s immune resistance and make it more prone to infections including angular cheilitis.
Denture stomatitis and other dental issues
This condition refers to tissue inflammation under dentures. When the dentures are not removed or cleaned on a regular basis, yeast infections can occur. Also, poor fitting dentures can be a problem. These cause friction that in turn irritates the mouth. Apart from that, they also pave the way for saliva to accumulate on the corners of the mouth, leading to an infection. Lack of teeth particularly those at the back or near the cheeks and lips can also increase risk of angular cheilitis. That’s because this can result in bite collapse that can crack the corners of the mouth’s skin.
Habits that cause spread of bacteria
Other possible circumstances that can set off the onset of angular cheilitis include touching of the lips with dirty fingers, chewing on objects like pencils or pens, drooling while sleeping or eating, and biting of fingernails, among others. In children, bottle feeding and use of pacifier can also lead to angular cheilitis.
Not everyone living in a cold location will have angular cheilitis but they certainly are at more risk of this condition than those who live in warmer regions. Why is that? Cold weather makes people prone to chapped lips. People who have this problem commonly lick their chapped lips, thinking that it’s the best way to get the moisture back. That’s actually a big misconception. Saliva only dries up the lips further. Not only that, it can cause an accumulation of saliva on the corners of the mouth. When that happens, angular cheilitis may occur.
Use of certain products
Certain products like toothpastes and cosmetic items contain harsh ingredients that cause skin irritation. This irritation can become a bacterial infection, making a person at risk of angular cheilitis. Same is true when a person ends up using an expired product such as lip balm. This can cause contact dermatitis, and then angular cheilitis.
Certain medical conditions
Some medical conditions make it more likely for a person to have angular cheilitis. Examples of such as ailments include atopic dermatitis, Crohn’s disease, Down syndrome, and Plummer-Vinson syndrome. Being under constant stress can also be a problem since this can weaken the immune system as well.
Getting to the root cause of angular cheilitis is the first step in treating it. As most causes discussed above are linked to weak immune system and bacterial/fungal infections, it’s best for anyone with angular cheilitis to boost his/her overall health, and kill the microorganisms causing the infection using antibacterial or anti-fungal treatments.
Posted by Pete Galigher at 09:33
Friday, 5 July 2013
Is Angular Cheilitis Contagious?
Angular cheilitis is a skin inflammatory condition affecting the corners of the mouth. It’s a painful and uncomfortable ailment characterized by flaking and scaling of the skin on the lips’ corners made worse by fungal or bacterial infections.
It is also called “perleche,” a French word, which means to lick (lecher). That’s because most people who have this problem usually lick their lips to keep them moisturized, not knowing that it only aggravates drying and infection.
If you have this problem or know someone who does, probably the first question on your mind would be: is it contagious?
The good news is: it’s not! In fact, it can’t even spread to other parts of your body, let alone to other people. Some people think it’s contagious because it looks similar to other contagious ailments on the mouth like fever blisters and cold sores. But they’re completely different diseases.
Apart from not being contagious, it’s also good to know that angular cheilitis is quite easy to treat. In fact, many opt for home remedies that prove to be helpful in alleviating symptoms like inflammation, redness, and itchiness. But of course, for long-term treatment, it’s important to get down to the root cause of the problem and resolve that.
Since fungal and bacterial infections are some of the most common causes of this skin condition, you’ll need the help of anti-fungal or antibacterial medications. Consult your doctor to get prescription. Weakened immune system is another culprit so make sure to boost your health with proper diet, regular exercise, and nutritional supplements.
Posted by Pete Galigher at 09:38
Thursday, 4 July 2013
Anti Fungal Treatment for Angular Cheilitis
Angular cheilitis can be caused by several factors. One that always makes the list is fungal infection. Some cases are in fact 100 percent fungal infections while others are caused by a combination of fungal and bacterial infections. Since this is the case, it’s safe to assume that anti-fungal treatment can work very well for this problem. But before we get to that, let’s first find out what angular cheilitis is.
What is angular cheilitis?
Angular cheilitis is an inflammatory skin condition that occurs at the labial commissures, more commonly known as the corners of the mouth. This disorder is called several names like perleche, cheilosis, angular stomatitis, mouth corner cracks, and so on. It can occur on one side or both sides. The typical manifestation of the problem are deep splits and cracks, and sometimes, bleeding when ulcers or crusts have formed.
Why does angular cheilitis occur?
For most people, it starts with tiny cracks on the corners of the mouth. This happens when there’s an excess accumulation of saliva on those areas that leave the skin dry and prone to chapping. When more saliva gets into the area, bacteria and fungi can get inside. If the person’s immune resistance is not that strong, this can set off fungal or bacterial infection, which makes the cracks develop into open painful lesions.
How can anti-fungal treatment help?
Since fungi can be the root cause, it can help to combat these microorganisms with the use of anti-fungal creams. The use of anti-fungal creams with 1 percent hydrocortisone is usually advised by doctors. These creams are usually available over the counter.
You may apply the cream on the affected area two to three times per day until the symptoms of pain, redness, and itchiness subside. It’s also an option to buy a cream that contains not only the anti-fungal hydrocortisone but also an anti-infective agent like iodoquinol to speed up the healing process.
Other anti-fungal treatments that are typically prescribed for the treatment of angular cheilitis include Mycolog-ll or Mycostatin, Nystatin, and steroids such as Triamcinolone acetonide. What these anti-fungal treatments do is that they kill the microorganisms that cause the problem. In the process, they help alleviate the symptoms of this condition.
Just be careful when using anti-fungal treatments. Since the ointment is applied near the mouth, it’s possible that it will get into your food or mouth. It’s also a must to avoid licking your lips so that you won’t get too much moisture on the corners of your mouth. Instead of licking your lips, try using a protective hypoallergenic lip balm.
Posted by Pete Galigher at 09:26
Tuesday, 2 July 2013
Angular Cheilitis During Pregnancy: Why Expecting Mothers Are at Risk
Only a very few women can say they’ve breezed through pregnancy without a trace of difficulty. Although this can be one of the most beautiful stages in a woman’s life, it’s not without hardships. Since a woman’s body goes through all sorts of changes while a fetus grows inside her, she can be plagued with numerous problems from minor ones like morning sickness, swelling, heartburns to more serious ones like gestational diabetes, preterm labor, and preeclampsia.
Pregnant women are also at risk of infections since the body’s immune function is not at its best. One common type of infection that many expectant mothers suffer from is angular cheilitis. Also called perleche or cheilosis, this inflammatory mouth condition is marked by flaky and chapped skin, which in turn develops into open painful lesions.
Bacteria and fungi, which are the common culprits of angular cheilitis, are present in the saliva. When there’s excessive amounts of saliva on the corners of the mouth, and a person is under stress or has a weak immune system (such as during pregnancy), this can lead to a bacterial or fungal infections. It’s also important to note that angular cheilitis has been found to occur more frequently during the first trimester, when a pregnant woman is suffering from morning sickness.
Apart from this, pregnant women are also more likely to develop iron-deficiency anemia, another common trigger of angular cheilitis. As you can guess from its name, iron-deficiency anemia happens when the body doesn’t have enough iron, which it needs to manufacture hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the oxygen-carrying protein in the red blood cells. When there’s not enough oxygen in the body, the body becomes weak and more susceptible to infections such as angular cheilitis.
What can an expecting mother do about this?
For one, it’s a must to boost immune defense. It’s for this reason that pregnant women are always advised to eat a nutrient-packed diet. A diet that’s rich in all the necessary vitamins and minerals can help ward off not only angular cheilitis but also other possible health problems. Eating more fruits and vegetables, and taking nutritional supplements are smart moves.
It’s also a must to get the right amount of iron. Expecting mothers are advised to take in 18 to 27 mg of iron a day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pregnant women should take an iron supplement of 30 mg. Fortunately, most prenatal supplements contain that amount of iron. To help your body absorb iron, take vitamin C supplements too. Avoid drinking milk, coffee or tea before taking your iron supplement as these beverages may interfere with absorption.
Moreover, make sure to eat a lot of foods that are rich in iron such as beans, tofu, raisins, shellfish, dark meat, whole grains, nuts, broccoli, collard greens, kale, dates, prunes, figs, potatoes, and iron-fortified food products like grains and cereals. Take note though that while liver is rich in iron, it’s best to avoid it since it contains too much vitamin A, which may cause birth defects.
Angular cheilitis is a common problem among pregnant women but the good news is that with proper diet and health supplements, it can be avoided and treated.
Posted by Pete Galigher at 09:21
Monday, 1 July 2013
Probing the Link between Angular Cheilitis and Anemia
Angular cheilitis and anemia have always been closely linked, with anemia pointed out as one of the possible triggers of angular cheilitis. Otherwise known as perleche, cheilosis, or mouth corner cracks, this medical condition is marked by the fissures and scaling at the labial commissures or the corners of the mouth. Experts say that iron deficiency is one of the reasons these painful open lesions rooted from a fungal or bacterial infection occur.
While there are many other possible causes of angular cheilitis (vitamin B deficiency, poor fitting of dentures, stress, and many others), iron deficiency anemia has always among those on top of the list. Since long-term treatment of angular cheilitis goes beyond alleviating surface symptoms and requires resolving the underlying issue, it’s imperative to study more about iron-deficiency anemia if this is what’s causing your problem.
What is iron-deficiency anemia?
As the term suggests, this occurs when the body is not able to store enough iron. What happens when the body does not have enough iron? As you know, iron is very important. Without it, you won’t get sufficient supply of oxygen throughout your body. Our bodies utilize iron to manufacture hemoglobin, a crucial part of the red blood cells that’s responsible for carrying oxygen. When the body has not enough iron, there won’t be enough hemoglobin, and you won’t get enough oxygen. We all know how essential oxygen is for our organs and muscles to function properly. Without it, we become weak and fatigued.
What are the causes of iron-deficiency anemia?
Having iron deficiency can be driven by several factors including:
- Heavy menstruation
- Diet low in iron
- Internal bleeding (may be caused by medical issues like hemorrhoids, cancer or ulcers, or constant use of aspirin)
- Inability of the body to absorb iron (e.g. when small intestine had been removed or when one is suffering from celiac disease).
How do you know if you have iron-deficiency anemia?
Since this medical problem usually develops gradually, signs and symptoms may not be noticeable until it’s in the serious stage. Here are some of the signs and symptoms of iron-deficiency anemia:
- Mood swings
- Pale skin
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid heart rate
- Brittle nails
- Hair loss
- Difficulty concentrating
Angular cheilitis and anemia
A typical oral manifestation of iron-deficiency anemia is angular cheilitis. When a person suffers from anemia due to insufficient iron in the body, he/she becomes more susceptible to infections like the one that occurs in the corners of the mouth.
The good news is, this anemia caused by iron deficiency can be easily corrected, especially if discovered at an early stage. To resolve both your anemia angular cheilitis, here are your options:
Eat a diet rich in iron
Excellent sources of this mineral include beef, pork, lamb, organ meats, chicken turkey, fish, shellfish, sardines, anchovies, broccoli, kale, collard greens, pinto beans, black-eyed peas, lima beans, peas, and iron-fortified food products like cereals, pastas, and grains. Get all the recipes you will ever need at http://allrecipes.com/.
Take iron supplements
Eating foods rich in iron can certainly help boost your intake. But since the amount of iron required by anemia patients is significantly higher than what most foods contain, you’ll need to supplement your diet with medical iron. Most patients are recommended to take in 150 to 200 mg per day. It’s two to five mg of iron per kg of body weight daily. Consult your doctor about the dosage that you need.
Up vitamin C intake
Vitamin C is great for your health not only for boosting immune resistance but also for improving the body’s absorption of iron. It’s a good idea to take 250 mg of vitamin C when taking iron supplements.
Consider intravenous iron
For severe cases of anemia, intravenous iron may be necessary. This is for patients with medical problems that inhibit their bodies from absorbing this mineral such as those with internal bleeding, and so on.
Angular cheilitis has many possible causes. It’s important to get to the bottom of what’s causing this annoying and painful problem so you can make an immediate move to resolve it for good. Learning about the underlying issue is always a good first step.
Posted by Pete Galigher at 09:15