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Swollen Lips (Allergy): Symptoms, causes, treatments and home remedies

Team AckoApr 30, 2024

It may be alarming if you wake up in the morning with swollen lips, specifically if you have not faced any mouth injuries. Along with sudden trauma to the mouth, there are other conditions such as a variety of allergic reactions, certain medical conditions affecting the nerves, skin, or face muscles, and dental work that can cause Swollen Lips. Depending on the cause, lip swelling can develop over several hours. Read this article to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of this medical condition.




What is the meaning of Swollen Lips?

Swollen Lips, also known as lipedema, is the distention or enlargement of one or both lips caused by fluid buildup or inflammation in the lip tissues. Swollen Lips may result from inflammation, mild to severe allergic reactions, infections, trauma, or malignant tumours. You should immediately seek medical help if your swollen lips are accompanied by breathing difficulties, a rash or hives, redness, or a fever.

Five possible causes of Swollen Lips

Below are some of the common factors that cause Swollen Lips.

1. Allergic reactions

When you are allergic to any particular substance, your body releases a chemical called histamine. Apart from protecting the body, histamine causes swelling and itching as a part of the inflammatory response. Some common allergens that may cause Swollen Lips include the following.

  • Environmental allergens such as pollen, dust, mould spores, animal dander, etc.

  • Food allergens such as eggs, milk, peanuts, seafood, shellfish, wheat, soy, and other nuts.

  • Certain skincare products such as sunscreens, soaps, shampoo, and lip balms.  

  • Drug allergens such as anticonvulsants, certain antibiotics like penicillin, NSAIDs, chemotherapy drugs, etc.

2. Autoimmune conditions

Autoimmune conditions such as plasma cell cheilitis, lupus, Miescher’s cheilitis, etc., may cause Swollen Lips because your immune system invades your lip glands.

3. Systemic Conditions

Certain cancerous or benign tumours, insect bites or stings, genetic allergies, anaphylaxis, angioedema, granulomatous cheilitis, sarcoidosis, etc., can cause mild to severe lip swelling.

4. Infections

Several fungal, bacterial, and viral skin infections may cause Swollen Lips. This condition is common in HIV patients who are immunocompromised.  

5. Injuries

Minor lacerations, cuts, and sores on the lips can cause swelling. Other, more severe causes of Swollen Lips include the following.

  • The reaction of blood transfusion

  • Fluid retention during pregnancy

  • Lip cancer

  • Miescher-Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome (a rare neural disorder)

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Liver disease

  • Renal failure

  • Preeclampsia

  • Malnutrition

 Symptoms of Swollen Lips

Based on the underlying medical condition, you may have to encounter the following symptoms along with Swollen Lips.

  • Dry and cracked lips

  • Lip discolouration

  • Blisters

  • Rashes or hives

  • Redness of lips

  • Bumps filled with pus

  • Feeling fatigued

  • Pain in the lips

  • Fever, chills, and headache

  • Runny and stuffy nose

  • Watery eyes and itching

Some more serious symptoms accompanied by Swollen Lips may include urticaria, wheezing, tongue swelling, diarrhoea, vomiting, stomach cramps, breathing difficulties, weak pulse, pale or blue skin, difficulty swallowing, and dizziness.

Treatment of Swollen Lips

Treatment depends on the underlying cause. Health experts recommend various medications mentioned below. 

  • Your doctor may recommend epinephrine if you have lips swelling due to angioedema. It is always safer to keep a single-use syringe and the medication to use in case of an emergency.

  • If you have Swollen Lips due to an inflammatory condition, you may be recommended a non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) or a corticosteroid. NSAIDs can also help reduce swelling due to an injury.

  • If the swelling occurs due to an insect bite injury or stings, your doctor will clean up the wound first and then may prescribe an antibacterial ointment which will help in healing the wound.

Home Remedies for Swollen Lips

Other than medical treatment, some home remedies may also be beneficial for treating Swollen Lips. You may use the following remedies, depending on the reason for the swelling.

  • Applying salt and warm water mix on the Swollen Lips two to three times a day will alleviate the swelling and pain, if any.

  • Apply baking soda and water paste on your Swollen Lips and wash them off after 15 minutes. Repeat this process twice a day. This will help reduce the swelling and the pain as well.

  • If your lips get swollen due to injuries or insect bites, you can apply a thick paste of turmeric on the injury site. Adding half a spoon of olive or extra virgin oil to the paste will work in case of severe inflammation.

  • An ice pack applied on your swollen lips will definitely help relieve inflammation and pain.

  • If your lips get swollen due to sunburn or dry and cracked lips, an aloe vera gel will help reduce the condition. Applying pure ghee will also work to moisturise cracked lips.

  • Applying honey on swollen lips can also help because of the antibacterial and natural healing properties of honey.

  • Applying tea tree oil can work wonders if your lips are swollen due to insect bites or stings.

When to seek medical help?

If you see the following signs, you must seek medical advice immediately.

  • Despite using over-the-counter medication and home remedies, when your lip swelling does not subside within twenty-four hours

  • If you suspect your swelling is not associated with any obvious allergy or injury

  • If you have met with an accident, and your lips are swollen along with non-stop bleeding, pain, and tissue damage

  • If you encounter a cold sore associated with Swollen Lips, any kind of infection, difficulty swallowing or breathing, or the area near the lips feels numb

  • When your lip swelling is caused by any cut wider than 3 mm due to an injury or a fall

  • When you have Swollen Lips accompanied by fever, chills, and vomiting

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here’s a list of common questions and answers related to Swollen Lips.


What are the home remedies for Swollen Lips Allergy?

Swollen Lips Allergy can be relieved with some home remedies, such as applying salt and warm water, applying a baking soda and water paste, using turmeric paste on the swollen lips, applying a cold compress, applying aloe vera gel, and using tea tree oil and honey.

How does the allergic reaction to lips get treated?

Allergic reactions to lips can be treated with corticosteroids, antihistamines, and epinephrine injections based on the underlying cause.

How long do Swollen Lips last?

Swollen Lips may last from a few hours to a few weeks, depending on the underlying cause and how severe it is. Usually, the swelling goes away within twenty-four to forty-eight hours in mild cases.

What are the associated symptoms of Swollen Lips?

You may have the following symptoms along with Swollen Lips based on the underlying medical condition.

  • Chapped lips

  • Lip discoloration

  • Blisters, rashes, or hives

  • Redness of lips

  • Feeling of fatigue

  • Pain in the lips

  • Fever, chills, and headache

  • Runny and stuffy nose

  • Watery eyes and itching

Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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