Dealing with anemia and angular cheilitis
October 7, 2015 4:05 PM   Subscribe

I occasionally get a case of anemia-induced angular cheilitis, and now have a particularly unappealing occurrence. Any experience on helping it to go away faster? Also, any recommendations for good iron supplements that are cheaper than Floradix?

I am prone to anemia and was lazy on my iron supplements for half a year, and am now feeling the consequences. I have had angular cheilitis a few times before, and it always goes away in a couple weeks by itself, but this is a particularly ugly case -- two big splits on one side and one starting up on the other -- so I'm eager to do anything I can to speed up the healing process for vanity reasons, besides the obvious step of starting iron supplementation again.

Also, I've started back on with Floradix, which is definitely the best iron supplement I've tried, but it is admittedly way more expensive than I'd like. Are there any cheaper alternatives that are available in Canada? (FWIW I don't get stomach problems from iron, but in the past the Floradix seemed to work much faster at getting up my ferritin than the standard ferrous gluconate pills.)
posted by vanitas to Health & Fitness (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I get this regularly because I'm quite bad at taking my iron pills; what I've found works best for me is taking my pill with a small "Cutie" (tangerine or easy-peel tangelo- whatever you've got). Taking the pill with some citrus, and avoiding caffeine within 2 hours of the iron pill, really helps absorption (based on how energetic I feel and those cracks you mention disappearing).

I used to take Kaiser iron pills but switched to (the more expensive) Ferro-Sequels which I buy from Amazon; they seem to be more kick-ass but YMMV.

Good luck! Low iron can really affect your energy levels, as you know.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 4:17 PM on October 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

Sorry if this is super obvious and not what you're looking for, but do you use anti fungal cream on the cracks? My kid gets it a lot & OTC cream helps almost instantly.
posted by peep at 4:56 PM on October 7, 2015

Get a steroid cream (Desonide) from your GP or dermatologist. This works far better and faster than an antifungal or hydrocortisone cream; you should see healing within a couple of days. Once healed, put Aquaphor in the corners of your lips every night before bed. That forms a seal so that your night drool doesn't start it back up again (saliva = meat tenderizer). At the first sign of future trouble, use a tiny bit of the steroid cream for a day or two to nip it in the bud.
posted by dayintoday at 5:21 PM on October 7, 2015

I use Dr. Dans Cortibalm Lip Balm for Chapped Lips
posted by govtdrone at 6:26 PM on October 7, 2015

Best answer: I also experience angular cheilitis and what helps me is eating vitamin B12 tablets and meat (also rich in vitamin B12). It's amazing and my cheilitis is gone in a few days after I eat meat such as beef or lamb. Vitamin B12 deficiency causes pernicious anemia so by eating more B12, you may fix both your anemia and iron deficiency. Furthermore it doesn't hurt to try eating B12 since it's water soluble and if your body can't absorb the B12 you put in, it'll come out in your urine.

In contrast to other posters, putting lip balm on my split lips only made things worse, whereas keeping the cuts as dry as possible sped up their healing. Good luck!
posted by ball00000ns at 7:04 PM on October 7, 2015 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Seconding ball00000ns, when I get this it goes away after a few days of taking a B complex vitamin. I try to remember to take a couple a week to prevent recurrence.
posted by fozzie_bear at 7:25 PM on October 7, 2015

Best answer: I'm afraid I can't help with the cracking, but for supplements I use Hema-Plex tablets. A serving is about half the cost of Floradix, or at least it is in the US. They have iron, a crapton of Vitamin C to aid absorption, and a bunch of B-vitamins and other things. They've always worked spectacularly for me.
posted by Anonymous at 8:36 PM on October 7, 2015

I manage my anemia very well with Slow-Fe, which is problematic because they don't seem to be making it anymore. Target's generic version worked great but, I just checked, and they don't seem to have it anymore either. But, if you find Slow-Fe or the generic version in Canada, buy lots. You can sell the excess to us Americans who are desperate for it and use the profits to keep yourself healthy. Seriously, it really is the best that I have found and it is very inexpensive.
posted by myselfasme at 8:54 PM on October 7, 2015

From an every little bit helps perspective, you could switch to cast-iron pans.
posted by aniola at 9:49 PM on October 7, 2015

You can still get a generic version of slow-fe at Walgreens! I have also had good luck with that one.

Floradix is great and all, but in addition to the expense I always seem to fail at taking it consistently because of the hassle of digging it out of the fridge and finding a measuring spoon of the right size. I find pills easier to stick to.
posted by insoluble uncertainty at 10:00 PM on October 7, 2015

I get angular chellitis every so often. Some time last year I had a particularly nasty case on both sides that took a long time to go away. What I do is is dab the points both in and outside my mouth dry. Then I take tissue or a napkin and dump some mouthwash on it. I then dab the spots in and outside my mouth. Then I take just a little bit of Vaseline and put it over the area.

This usually helps it clear up in two or three days, and as I've gotten better about spotting the warning signs of an outbreak, I follow that routine and it keeps it at bay.
posted by zizzle at 9:37 AM on October 8, 2015

IV iron infusions are a more extreme solution, but you mention low ferritin, which for me never really resolves with oral supplements alone. Have you seen a hematologist?
posted by judith at 5:32 PM on October 11, 2015

Response by poster: I don't know if this was just a coincidence or not, but I started taking a B12 solution I had lying around and the cheilitis healed up in a couple days.
posted by vanitas at 11:26 PM on October 14, 2015

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