A bump on the corner of your mouth is most likely a sign of one of two conditions: canker sores or cold sores. These conditions are extremely common. The sores may look similar in appearance but that is where the similarities end. The causes and possible results are extremely different. One has no serious complications; the other has the ability to cause fatal complications.
Cold sores on the corner of your lips are caused by the herpes simplex 1 or the herpes simplex 2 virus. Canker sores have a variety of causes. Immune system suppression, injury, vitamin B12 deficiency, stress, bacteria, hormonal changes and exposure sodium lauryl sulfate in oral hygiene prod cuts are potential causes of cold sores.
Cold Sore Symptoms
Fever, fatigue, muscle pains and headaches are the first signs of oncoming cold sores. According to the American Public Health Association, these symptoms last for about a week to 10 days before they subside and give way to the bumps on the corners of the lips. These bumps are painful and filled with clear fluid. The blisters break and are covered with a yellow crust before healing. The sores usually heal by themselves in two weeks. Cold sores are preceded by tingling in the area of the lips where they appear.
Canker Sore Symptoms
Canker sores are shallow ulcerations of the soft tissue of the mouth. Canker sores can occur in the inside corners of your lips and cause a slight swelling of the area. They are painful and usually occur in groups. According to MayoClinic.com, fever and swollen lymph nodes also occur with canker sores. These bumps usually heal without medical intervention in two weeks.
Canker sores are resolved by treating the underlying causes such as HIV infection, bacteria overgrowth, hormonal imbalance and stress. B12 vitamin deficiency is treated by nutritional supplementation. Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotic medication. Many topical solutions and creams are available to treat canker sores. Benzocaine and debacterol are examples of topical treatments. Oral prescription medications are also available to treat canker sores. If left untreated, canker sores take a longer time to heal and can possibly multiply.
Cold Sore Treatment
The bumps on the corners of your lips are treated with topical anti-viral medications such as valacyclovir. The other symptoms are treated with orally administered antiviral medication and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Treatment shortens the healing time of the sores and lowers virus concentration in them. Lowering the virus concentration reduces the chance of infecting other. If left untreated, herpes infections have the ability to cause life-threatening complications such as encephalitis.
- "Preventive and Social Medicine"; K. Park, J. E. Park; 1995
- "Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine 16th Edition"; Lawrence Madoff, James Macguire, Kenneth Brandt, Bruce Gillaind, Scott Thaier; 2005
- "Control of Communicable Diseases Manual 18th Edition ;" David L. Heymann; 2004
- MayoClinic.com: Canker Sores
- MayoClinic.com: Cold Sores