Lip Swollen for No Reason

Often, after a night out of town or a late night at work, we wake up the next day with a swollen face. While this swelling is natural, and subsides within a few hours, sometimes there may be unexplained swelling of the eyes and lips that may persist for a considerably long period of time. Why does this occur? And how to make it go away? Find out, through this article.
HealthHearty Staff
Last Updated: Mar 12, 2018
Did You Know?
Human lip impressions are as unique as our fingerprints, such that, no two individuals have the same lip impression.
Often, a swollen body part or facial feature is due to excessive salt consumption, physical injury, or tissue trauma (inflammation). It may also occur as part of an anaphylactic shock in response to an allergen. But what if there is a swelling that cannot be accounted for due to these reasons. Moreover, swelling of the lips is quite perplexing, as not only is the reason unknown, but also it is difficult to hide the engorgement, since the lips are a very visible and obvious feature of the face.
In such cases, where there is an absence of injury, trauma, or allergy, the tumescence of the lip can be regarded as an indicator or symptom of a solemner underlying health condition. Let's explore the most common causes and possible underlying disorders that may give rise to this unexplained affliction.
Probable Causes of Swollen Lips
  • Allergy: Inflammation could occur as a result of an anaphylactic reaction to a allergen. It could be triggered by pollen, nuts, shellfish, dust, ant bites, bee stings, latex, medications, etc. It must be brought to medical attention immediately, since it can lead to increase in heart rate, low blood pressure, unconsciousness, and may even result in death if left unattended.
  • Angioedema: It involves fluid and blood accumulation in the deeper layers of the skin, which results in tissue inflammation. It usually affects the eyes and lips. It is also triggered by an allergic reaction to pet hair, animal dander, extreme temperatures, insect bites, etc. It also exhibits as a hereditary condition, which is quite a rare disorder.
  • Cold Sores: The herpes simplex virus infects the skin, and induces the formation of red, swollen blisters and sores. These sores burst and give out a clear liquid, and later form scabs. Treatment includes taking antiviral drugs.
  • Cheilitis: It is an inflammatory disorder of the lips, due to the increase in the lymphatic spaces in a tissue. This causes lymphedema, leading to considerable swelling.
  • Embouchure Collapse: It is fairly common in people playing musical instruments such as the flute, trumpet, horn, etc. The continuous pressure between the lips and the mouthpiece of the instrument leads to the overuse of the lip muscles, which gives rise to swelling.
  • Focal Dystonia: It is a neurological condition that affects the muscles, and induces involuntary contractions and abnormal postures in them. The exact cause is unknown, and the condition is managed by administering botox injections in the lips. There is no permanent cure.
  • Melkersson-Rosenthal Syndrome: It is a neurological disorder that involves facial paralysis, swelling of the lips, and development of furrows and folds in the tongue. Its cause is unknown, but is thought to be symptomatic of Crohn's disease or sarcoidosis.
  • Lip Cancer: The development of cancerous tissues in the lip region, as a consequence of extreme UV light exposure (via sun) or due to metastasis of cancer in the body, could be evident in the form of swelling.
  • Crohn's Disease: It is a type of inflammatory bowel syndrome (IBS) that can affect any part of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, from the mouth to the anus. It induces a chronic inflammatory disorder, which involves the immune system attacking the GI tract.
  • Dental Infections: Any infections in the tooth or gums could cause an inflammatory response, which would in turn cause the lips to swell.
  • Herpangina: It is also called mouth blisters, and is caused by the coxsackieviruses. It causes fever, sore throat, facial swelling, oral ulcers, tongue pain, etc. It is treated by anti-inflammatory and analgesic medications.
  • Bruising: Swelling can be caused due to burning of the lips by eating hot food, bruising due to the use of braces, or because of undergoing cosmetic enhancement of the lips.
  • Medications: Swollen lips are induced by medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and ACE inhibitors
  • Other Causes: They include trivial events like sleeping face-down on the bed, biting the lips, chapped lips, or a reaction to cosmetics.
Home Remedies
While waiting for medical intervention, here are a few remedies you can try for temporary relief.
  • Cold compress in the form of an ice pack
  • Hot compresses in the form of a hot water bag (should not be too hot)
  • Fuller's Earth
  • Aloe vera gel
  • Teabags
Majority of the time, the swelling subsides on administering a cold compress or by putting on lip moisturizer. However, if the person experiences other systemic symptoms, along with a swollen lip, be it upper or lower, then it is best to visit a doctor and get the condition diagnosed and treated at the earliest, especially if it is an allergic reaction.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.