Hives in the mouth: What are the causes?

Hives can appear on any part of the body, including the lips and mouth. They itch and appear as raised lumps or welts. Hives that form in a single location are usually caused by contact with an irritating substance, such as a bee sting.

Hives in or around the mouth, in rare situations, can be an early symptom of anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction. If someone develops, dial 911 or the number for the nearest emergency department.

  • swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat
  • difficulty breathing
  • wheezing
  • nausea or vomiting
  • dizziness or feeling faint
  • loss of consciousness

The causes, diagnosis, and treatment of hives of the mouth and lips will be discussed in this article.

Hives in the mouth

Hives in the mouth
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Yes. Urticaria, or hives, can appear around or inside the mouth. However, it’s also possible that this is angioedema.

Angioedema is a swelling beneath the skin’s surface. It can occur as a result of exposure to an irritant or allergen, and it can seem similar to hives.

Hives or angioedema can cause swelling around the mouth, which can be determined by a doctor.

Is it serious?

Hives are usually not life-threatening. The majority of cases are minor and will go away on their own. Each hive normally lasts less than 24 hours, though they may appear and go over the course of several days or weeks.

Hives are only present for a few weeks or less in acute situations. Chronic hives, which stay longer, are also possible, but they are less prevalent. Hives, whether acute or chronic, are not life-threatening, although they can be inconvenient to live with.

Hives or minor swelling around the lips and mouth are a rare early indicator of anaphylaxis, a dangerous condition that necessitates emergency medical attention. If a person has anaphylaxis, the symptoms will alter and worsen quickly.

Hives and angioedema can be dangerous on their own, even if they aren’t caused by anaphylaxis. If the swelling is obstructing airways or affecting the throat or tongue, medical attention should be sought immediately.

Causes

Hives on the lips or mouth can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

Exposure to irritants

Localized hives that form in one location are usually the result of skin contact with an irritant. This is not the same as having an allergic reaction. Instead, it occurs when the immune system recognizes a material as a possible threat.

The following are some examples of popular triggers:

  • insect bites or stings
  • animal saliva
  • substances from plants, such as tree sap
  • certain foods

Babies can sometimes get oral hives if they eat a food they have never tried before, or if they drool after eating a new food.

Oral allergy syndrome

Oral allergy syndrome (OAS) can also be characterized by hives or swelling around the mouth. When people with hay fever eat particular foods, this collection of symptoms appears.

Pollen proteins are found in some foods. Some people develop allergies after eating or touching certain items. OAS is characterized by the following symptoms:

  • rash
  • itching inside the mouth
  • swelling of the lips, mouth, or tongue

People who are allergic to ragweed, birch, or grass pollen are more prone to develop OAS. OAS can be triggered by a variety of foods, including any of the following raw fruits or vegetables:

  • cherries
  • apples
  • kiwis
  • tomatoes
  • celery

The proteins that cause the allergic reaction are frequently broken when these meals are cooked.

Cold hives

When the skin comes into contact with something cold, this sort of hives appears. Iced drinks, ice cream, and other cold foods should be avoided by people with this condition since they can induce hives inside the mouth.

Other causes

Localized hives may be explained by the causes listed above, but if someone has hives around their mouth as well as in other places, there may be other variables at play. It’s possible that the hives are the consequence of:

Hives can also be triggered by adrenalin, sunlight, water, vibration, or pressure applied to the skin. However, about 30% of the time, the cause is not discovered.

Diagnosis

A physical examination is generally enough for a doctor to diagnose hives in the mouth. They might inquire as to when the symptoms began, if the person has ever had hives, or if they have any allergies. It’s also possible that a person’s preexisting diseases or drugs are significant.

The cause of mild, acute hives may not require further investigation. A doctor may order more testing if the hives are recurring or chronic. Allergy testing or blood tests to rule out underlying conditions are examples.

Treatment

Hives usually only last a few hours and go away on their own. People can try the following to reduce symptoms:

  • anti-itch creams, such as calamine lotion
  • over-the-counter (OTC) nondrowsy antihistamines
  • cold compresses, which people can apply several times each day if they do not have cold hives

Chronic hives may need a person taking greater doses of antihistamines on a regular basis. Severe persistent hives may necessitate anti-inflammatory medicines, immune modulators, or immunosuppressants.

People who suffer severe allergic responses must always have an epinephrine auto-injector with them. If the hives or swelling are accompanied by rapidly deteriorating symptoms, don’t hesitate to use it.

Other causes 

Lumps, swelling, or rashes around the lips and mouth can be caused by a variety of illnesses. Among them are:

If a person gets a new or chronic rash around the mouth, it is best to consult a doctor for a diagnosis because hives might look like other diseases.

Conclusion

Hives are raised lumps or welts on the skin. They can appear on the outside of the lips or inside the mouth. It is frequently the outcome of an irritation when this happens. However, hives in the mouth can be caused by OAS or more uncommon disorders like cold hives.

Mouth hives can be treated with over-the-counter antihistamines and anti-itch lotions, but if the hives do not go away or return, medical attention should be obtained.

Sources

  • https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/a-z/hives-chronic-relief
  • https://www.niaid.nih.gov/diseases-conditions/food-allergy-characterizing
  • https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/skin-allergy/urticaria-hives
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/hives-in-mouth
  • https://acaai.org/allergies/allergic-conditions/skin-allergy/hives/
  • https://www.seattlechildrens.org/conditions/a-z/hives/