A twitching lip — when your lip shakes or trembles involuntarily — can be annoying and uncomfortable. It can also be the sign of a larger medical problem.
Your lip twitches may be muscle spasms associated with something as simple as drinking too much coffee or a potassium deficiency.
It may also indicate something more serious — for example, a parathyroid condition or a brain disorder — where early detection can be key to providing the most effective treatment.
You might have this condition if you drink more than three cups of coffee per day and experience at least five of the following symptoms:
- muscle twitching
- excessive energy
- increased urine output
- rambling speech
- flushed face
- upset stomach, nausea, or diarrhea
- fast or abnormal heartbeat
- psychomotor agitation, such as tapping or pacing
The treatment is simple. Reduce or eliminate your caffeine intake, and your symptoms should disappear.
Muscle twitching, or fasciculation, is a known side effect of many prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs such as corticosteroids. Muscle spasms, which typically last longer, can be caused by estrogens and diuretics.
Talk with your doctor about switching medications, which is a simple treatment for this symptom.
Potassium deficiencies can negatively affect the muscles and cause spasms and cramps. Treatment for potassium deficiency includes adding potassium-rich foods to the diet and avoiding medications that could be affecting your potassium levels.
Drugs and alcohol can cause significant amounts of nerve damage and affect brain functioning. If you’ve consumed high quantities of alcohol or drugs for a long period of time and you experience facial muscle spasms such as lip twitching, you could have alcoholic neuropathy.
Treatments include limiting alcohol consumption, taking vitamin supplements, and taking prescription anticonvulsants.
Each case is different, but in some cases, Bell’s palsy makes it difficult for a person to move their nose, mouth, or eyelids. In other cases, the person with Bell’s palsy may experience twitching and weakness on one side of their face.
Doctors don’t know what causes Bell’s palsy, but it’s believed to be linked to the oral herpes virus. Your doctor can diagnose the condition from looking at you while you experience symptoms.
There are a variety of treatment methods based on your symptoms. Some of the most common are steroids and physical therapy.
Also known as tic convulsif, hemifacial spasms are muscle spasms that occur on one side of the face. These tics are most common in women over 40 and Asians. They’re not life-threatening, but they can be uncomfortable and distracting.
Hemifacial spasms occur because of damage to the seventh cranial nerve, which affects the face muscles. Another condition may have caused this nerve damage, or it could be the result of a blood vessel pressing on the nerve.
A surgery called microvascular decompression is also an effective long-term treatment that removes the vessel causing the tics.
Tourette syndrome is a disorder that causes you to involuntarily make sounds or movements repetitively. Tourette syndrome can involve motor and speech tics. They’re often uncomfortable, but they’re not physically painful or life-threatening.
Men are three to four times more likely than women to develop Tourette syndrome, and symptoms typically appear in childhood.
Doctors don’t know what causes Tourette syndrome, although it’s believed to be hereditary, and there’s no cure for the disorder.
Treatments include therapy and medication. For those with motor tics such as lip twitching, Botox may be the most effective course of treatment. Discover how deep brain stimulation can also be used to help treat Tourette syndrome.
Parkinson’s disease is a brain disorder that causes tremors, stiffness, and slow movements. The disease is degenerative, meaning it gets worse over time. Early symptoms of Parkinson’s disease typically include slight tremors of the lower lip, chin, hands, or leg.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) — also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease — is a brain disease that affects the nerves and spinal cord. Some of the early symptoms are twitching, slurred speech, and muscle weakness. ALS is degenerative and fatal.
Your doctor can diagnose ALS using a spinal tap and electromyography. There’s no cure for Lou Gehrig’s disease, but there are two drugs on the market to treat it: riluzole (Rilutek) and edaravone (Radicava).
People with DiGeorge syndrome are missing part of chromosome 22, which causes several body systems to develop poorly. DiGeorge is sometimes called 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.
DiGeorge syndrome is typically diagnosed at birth. While there’s no way to prevent the disorder or cure it, there are ways to treat each symptom individually.
One common symptom of hypoparathyroidism is twitching around the mouth, throat, and hands.
Lip twitching is a motor symptom, so it’s easy for doctors to see the tremors you’re experiencing.
A physical exam to evaluate other symptoms may be one way for your doctor to diagnose what’s causing the twitches. Your doctor may also ask you some questions about your lifestyle, such as how frequently you drink coffee or alcohol.
Because there are a number of potential causes of lip tremors, there are also multiple of treatment methods.
For some people, the easiest way to stop lip twitching is to eat more bananas or other foods high in potassium. For others, getting Botox injections is the best way to stop the tremors.
Talk with your healthcare provider about what’s causing your lip twitching and the best way to stop this symptom.
If you haven’t seen a healthcare provider yet, you may want to try one of these at-home remedies:
Although harmless, lip twitching can be a sign that you have a more serious medical problem. If drinking less coffee or eating more broccoli doesn’t seem to help your symptom, it’s time to see your doctor.
If a more serious disorder is causing your lip twitching, early detection is key. In such cases, there are often treatment methods available to slow down the onset of more serious symptoms.