Cheilitis Glandularis

Cheilitis glandularis is a rare, chronic inflammatory condition that affects the lips. It is characterized by the enlargement of the minor salivary glands in the lip, which results in thickening and swelling of the lip tissue. This condition is more common in males than females and typically occurs in middle-aged adults.

The exact cause of Cheilitis glandularis is unknown, but it is thought to be related to chronic irritation or inflammation of the lip. It may also be associated with other conditions such as Crohn’s disease, sarcoidosis, or lymphoma.


The main cause of this condition is not clear, but several factors have been identified as contributing factors, including:

  1. Trauma: Repeated trauma to the lips, such as biting or licking, can lead to inflammation and irritation. This may cause the glands in the lips to become inflamed, resulting in Cheilitis glandularis.
  2. Infection: Infection with bacteria, viruses, or fungi can also cause Cheilitis glandularis. This is more common in people with weakened immune systems or those who have had oral surgery.
  3. Genetics: Cheilitis glandularis may be inherited, and it may run in families.
  4. Allergies: Some people may develop Cheilitis glandularis due to an allergic reaction to certain foods, cosmetics, or medications.
  5. Hormonal imbalances: Hormonal imbalances, such as those that occur during puberty or menopause, may also trigger Cheilitis glandularis.
  6. Autoimmune diseases: Cheilitis glandularis may be associated with autoimmune diseases, such as Sjögren’s syndrome or lupus.
  7. Environmental factors: Exposure to environmental factors, such as sun, wind, or cold, may also contribute to the development of Cheilitis glandularis.

Treatment for Cheilitis glandularis depends on the underlying cause and may include topical or oral medications, surgery, or lifestyle changes to avoid triggers.


The main symptoms of this condition include:

  1. Swelling and inflammation of the lips: The lips may appear swollen and may feel tender or painful to the touch.
  2. Thickening of the lips: Over time, the lips may become thicker and may take on a rubbery consistency.
  3. Dry, scaly or cracked lips: The lips may become dry and flaky or may develop cracks and fissures, which can be painful.
  4. Ulcers or sores on the lips: In some cases, the lips may develop ulcers or sores that are slow to heal.
  5. White patches on the lips: The lips may develop white patches or plaques, which can be a sign of a more severe form of the condition called cheilitis glandularis exfoliativa.
  6. Difficulty eating or speaking: The swelling and thickening of the lips can make it difficult to eat, speak or even breathe properly.
  7. Discomfort or pain in the mouth: The salivary glands within the lips may become blocked or inflamed, causing discomfort or pain in the mouth.

Cheilitis glandularis can also cause a range of other symptoms, including dry eyes, difficulty swallowing, and joint pain. In severe cases, the condition can lead to disfigurement of the lips and may increase the risk of developing lip cancer.


The diagnosis of cheilitis glandularis is based on a combination of clinical examination, histopathological analysis, and imaging tests.

Clinical examination: The doctor will conduct a thorough examination of the lips, mouth, and surrounding area to check for the presence of any signs and symptoms of cheilitis glandularis. They may also ask about the patient’s medical history, including any previous lip infections, trauma, or surgeries.

Histopathological analysis: A biopsy of the affected tissue may be necessary to confirm the diagnosis of cheilitis glandularis. The biopsy is analyzed under a microscope to look for characteristic changes, such as chronic inflammation, glandular hyperplasia, and fibrosis.

Imaging tests: In some cases, imaging tests such as CT scans or MRI may be necessary to visualize the extent and severity of the lip involvement and rule out other underlying conditions.

Other tests: Blood tests may be done to check for any underlying autoimmune disorders that may be contributing to the development of cheilitis glandularis.

Overall, the diagnosis of cheilitis glandularis requires a comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s clinical history, symptoms, and diagnostic tests. The treatment for cheilitis glandularis may include topical or systemic anti-inflammatory medications, surgical excision, or other interventions to manage the symptoms and prevent further complications.


There is no cure for this condition, and the main treatment is aimed at managing symptoms and preventing complications.

Here are the main treatments for cheilitis glandularis:

  1. Topical corticosteroids: Topical corticosteroids are often prescribed to reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms of cheilitis glandularis. They can be applied directly to the affected area to reduce swelling, redness, and irritation.
  2. Oral antibiotics: If the condition is caused by a bacterial infection, oral antibiotics may be prescribed to help control the infection and prevent complications.
  3. Salivary gland surgery: In severe cases where the salivary gland is obstructed and causing symptoms, surgery may be necessary to remove the gland.
  4. Lip augmentation: In some cases, lip augmentation with dermal fillers may be recommended to improve the appearance of the lips and reduce symptoms.
  5. Avoiding irritants: It’s important to avoid irritating substances that may aggravate cheilitis glandularis, such as certain foods, lip balms, and toothpaste.
  6. Good oral hygiene: Maintaining good oral hygiene can help prevent infections and reduce symptoms of cheilitis glandularis.

In summary, the main treatment for cheilitis glandularis is aimed at managing symptoms and preventing complications. Topical corticosteroids, oral antibiotics, salivary gland surgery, lip augmentation, avoiding irritants, and good oral hygiene are some of the main treatments that may be used. It’s important to work with a healthcare provider to develop a treatment plan that is appropriate for your individual needs.