The engorgement of a swollen lip is hard to hide. The visibility of the swelling gives your face a distorted look which is mostly of cosmetic concern. We explore the swollen lip causes, infection, treatment and home remedies. Also learn why you may be experiencing a swollen lip with no reason, in the morning, after kissing and randomly.
Lip swelling refers to the enlargement or distention of either the lower or upper lip. The swelling could also occur on both lips, on one side, in the outer or inner part of the lip. It is mostly as a result of inflammation of the lip tissue or a buildup of fluids. Lip swelling also goes by the name lip edema. In addition to the swelling, other common accompanying symptoms include:
- Chapped lips
- Runny nose
- Itchy watery eyes.
Swollen lips can result from different conditions. The most obvious cause is trauma exerted on the lips. Other causes include allergic reactions, medical conditions such as Angioedema as well as infections such as herpes. At times, swelling of the lips may be as a result of water retention and conditions affecting other parts of the body. We discuss these and more causes of swollen lips below.
Swollen Lip Causes – Why Is My Lip Swollen?
Why is my lip swollen? What Causes a Swollen Lip? These are common questions among people suffering lip edema. There are different angles when it comes to what causes a swollen lip. This could be as the body’s way of showing an allergic reaction. It could also be a symptom of a health condition. Below we explore various swollen lip causes.
Swollen Lip Allergy
According to the Web MD, swollen lips are a common symptom of allergic reactions. This will normally occur when the lips come into direct contact with allergens. These include moments when contact is created with wrong cosmetic products, pet dander and even food.
Where the allergic reaction is severe, the patient could suffer anaphylaxis which is a life threatening reaction. In addition to the swollen lip, other symptoms such as swelling on the throat and mouth, swollen lips, itchy eyes, shortness of breath and hives on the skin will be experienced. Where this is the cause, immediate swollen lip allergy treatment is necessary. Some specific causes of swollen allergic lip include:
Also referred to as allergic angioedema, reaction to medication is common. Antibiotics such as penicillin are known to be among the common allergic swollen lip triggers. Others known for the same include Sulfonamide and cephalosporin.
Bites and Stings:
Most people will be allergic to venom from bug and insects stings and bites. The stings from wasps, bees, yellow jackets on the lips could cause swelling.
Pollen and Pet Dander
These are common allergens and people who are allergic to them may experience swelling on the lips as a resulting of interacting with objects containing them.
Food allergy may be exhibited through lip swelling. This will mostly occur soon after consumption of foods to which the subject is allergic to.
Swollen lip allergy treatment depends on what the allergen is. Once identified, it has to be eliminated or avoided to ensure that further swelling is not experienced.
This is a disorder that causes inflammation. It occurs as a result of an increase in the tissue spaces. As a result, lymphedema is experienced causing massive swelling.
When the herpes simplex virus affects the skin on the lips, swelling may occur and is seen as cold sores. This will be in the form of swollen blisters and sores that are red. These can be treated by taking antiviral drugs.
Irritation may occur from consuming hot spicy foods. They could be accompanied with numbness as well as temporary swelling. Insect bites and coming into contact with allergens may also cause irritation.
Drug Induced Lip Swelling
With this, there is a swelling on the lips as a result of medication taken. Most Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are known to have this side effect.
Swollen lips are known to be a common symptom of angioedema. This is a swelling that occurs in the deep tissues as a result of fluid accumulation and usually affects the lips and the eyes. According to the Web MD, “angioedema is a quite common condition affecting between 10 – 20% of people during their lifetime.” Allergic angioedema is the most common and affects children most of the time.
Another common cause of swollen lips is infections. These could be bacterial, fungal or viral swollen lip infections. In addition, during times when one has chapped lips, it is easy for infections to manifest leading to swelling.
At times, you may experience a swollen lip from aggressive kissing. Where this is the case, bruising on the lips may give you a painful experience. To prevent the situation from worsening, it is best to take things slow and avoid French kissing until the lip heals. In the same way, it is possible to get a swelling on the lip after biting yourself. This could happen while eating, bumping into an object or after experiencing unanticipated movement.
At times, nutritional deficiency can result in fat swollen lips. A deficiency in vitamin B can cause swelling at the corner of the lips.
Extreme weather Conditions
When you spend time in the sunlight without any sunscreen, you may suffer lip sunburn. The dry weather may also result in excessive licking of the lips. The same applies where one is in a dry and windy place. If not well taken care of, you will end up with chapped swollen lips.
Although not common a cause, swollen lips can be as a result of faulty genes being passed on to the patient. This hereditary cause of swollen lips is, however, rare.
Swollen Lip Burns with Blisters
Burns in the mouth are quite common especially those resulting from consumption of hot foods and beverages. Though rare, swellings resulting from chemical burns on the lips could also occur.
Swollen Lip Injury Trauma, Accident or Piercing
Trauma on the lips is the most common cause of swollen lips. This can result from lacerations and bruising caused by the teeth or biting oneself. This common form of trauma may occur during sports as well as in any other kind of accident such as bumping into an object or being hit with an object. Trauma from braces and lip piercing can also lead to swelling on the lips.
Swollen Lip from a Pimple with Little Bumps
Whether on the lower or upper lip, a swollen pimple on the lip distorts your whole appearance. The same applies to having little bumps or blisters on the lips. While these are uncomfortable, there is nothing much that can be done about them. This is because the lip is sensitive and can react from harsh treatments. Allow the blisters, pimples and bumps to heal on their own without popping. To ease the discomfort, you may use home remedies discussed later on in this article.
Swollen Lip and White Dots, Blisters, Spots or Patch
According to healthline.com, a swelling of the lips that appears as white bumps on the inside of the lip may be harmless sebaceous glands. These tend to grow bigger with age and may appear singly or be numerous.
Where the bumps are on babies, they may be milia. This refers to an accumulation of dead skin cells which appear as patches or spots on the baby’s lips. Oral thrush which is a fungal infection could also cause white lesions on the lips.
Swollen Lip Numb after Surgery
Cosmetic procedures performed on the lip are another cause of swelling. The use of fillers, surgery, fillers augmentation or enhancement procedures could see you experience swollen lips soon after the procedure and during the recovery period. The swelling is normally temporary and is accompanied with numbness but will usually go away with time. In a few cases, however, it may result in permanent deformity.
Swollen Lip Treatment
In most cases, swollen lip treatment is not necessary. For a long term swollen lip cure, it is important to avoid the root cause. This includes staying away from irritants, avoiding allergens and protecting the lips against any kind of trauma and burns.
In case after taking all the precaution necessary you still find yourself nursing a swollen lip, some of the medications that can be used on it include:
- Corticosteroids for swollen and inflamed lips
- Antihistamines and epinephrine shots for allergic swelling on the lips.
- In case the person suffering the swelling has trouble breathing, seek immediate medical attention. To ease discomfort associated with swellings, try the following home remedies.
Swollen Lip Remedies
In addition, to the above over the counter treatment, you can get rid of the fat lip by using swollen lip home remedies to relieve inflammation as well as prevent possible infection. These are as discussed below.
One of the best ways to relieve a swollen lip is to use a cold compress. This is more so where the swelling is accompanied by pain such as after a lip piercing, bite or any other kind of trauma.
- Use a wash cloth or paper towel to wrap up some ice cubes. A spoon that has been put in the freezer for a while or a bag of frozen peas can work in the same way. Never use ice directly on the skin as it could cause frost bites.
- Press the ice on the swollen lip for about ten minutes before taking a break.
- Repeat procedure until the swelling reduces and the level of discomfort and pain is minimized.
This home remedy for swollen lips contains anti-inflammatory properties which are good in getting rid of swelling as well as inflammation. It is a perfect home treatment for lip swelling resulting from insect bites.
- Extract some aloe gel from a freshly extracted leaf.
- Massage this gently on the swelling and leave it to dry.
- Repeat this up to three times in a day.
Honey is a natural antibacterial and helps in effectively treating swellings. In addition, it will also keep the lips moisturized and protect them from infections.
- Using a cotton ball, apply some honey on the affected lip.
- Allow it to rest for 20 minutes before rinsing off with some cold water.
- Do this three times within the day until the swelling on the lip subsides.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil contains antimicrobial agents that make it effective in treating lip swelling. It will disinfect it and protect the lips against infections. Never use tea tree on broken skin and in case you experience irritation discontinue its use.
- Dilute tea tree oil using olive oil or any other carrier oil.
- Apply this on the lips and leave it on for 30 minutes.
To reduce swelling on the lips caused by allergic reactions, insect bites or fever blisters, use baking soda. This helps in getting rid of inflammation and ease the swelling with time.
- Combine water and baking soda to make a consistent paste.
- Apply this on the swollen lip and leave it on for a few minutes.
- Repeat procedure until the swelling subsides.
Turmeric powder has antiseptic properties that can help in the healing of swollen lips. These properties help in preventing infections as well.
- Mix turmeric powder with some water to make a paste.
- Apply this paste on the affected lip and allow it to sit for 20 minutes before washing it off.
Swollen Lip for No Reason in the Morning
In most cases, any swollen body part is as a result of a physical injury, excessive salt consumption as well as inflammation of tissues. In other cases, anaphylactic shock resulting from allergic reactions could see you suffer a swollen lip.
While these causes may appear obvious, there are times when one may feel like they have a swollen lip for no reason. This is more so in cases of spontaneous lips swelling or where it occurs randomly without specific triggers.
Where this is the case, the most probable cause could be underlying health conditions. It is important to see your doctor immediately as the cause could be serious health conditions such as:
- Reaction after blood transfusion
- Fluid retention during pregnancy
- Lip cancer
- Neurological disorders
- Liver, heart or kidney failure
To be certain why you are suffering the unexplained swollen lip and reduce your affliction, see a doctor.
Health Line: White Bumps on Lips
National Library of Medicine: Angioedema
Health Grades: Lip Swelling Causes
Web MD: Swollen Lips
DErmNet NZ: Granulomatous cheilitis