Swollen lip


Lip swelling can have different causes. Injuries, such as an accident, can lead to lip swelling.
Even during an epileptic seizure, the person affected can bite their lip and this can then swell.

Causes of a swollen lip

These injuries can create open spots on the lip that can also bleed. The vacancies also provide a gateway for bacteria. These can cause inflammation in the lip. One of the signs of inflammation is swelling - in this case on the lip.

Lip swelling can also be triggered by an insect bite directly on the lip or in the surrounding area of ​​the lip, since the puncture site can become inflamed and the lip can swell.

In addition, allergic reactions can cause lip swelling. In addition, a viral infection can lead to lip swelling. Often it is a herpes infection, which belongs to the so-called herpes simplex. A cold sore can develop, which is referred to as herpes labiales.

Read more on the subject here: Cold sores

In addition, bacterial inflammation of the skin on the face and lips, so-called erysipelas, can trigger lip swelling.
Inflammations of the hair follicles are usually deeper and are called boils, which can also lead to lip swelling.
In addition, intense exposure to the sun can cause swollen lips.

In addition, neurological inflammatory diseases such as Melkerson-Rosenthal syndrome can cause swollen lips. In this case, the lip swelling arises of unknown cause and is still being researched.


Various allergies can cause lip swelling:

  • Allergies to a Insecticide, can occur with an insect bite.
  • At a Food allergy, a certain food triggers a swollen lip.
  • At a Contact allergy lip swelling is usually caused by contact with certain ingredients of a cosmetic or lip ointment.
  • But also the one that occurs in balloons and disposable gloves latex, can cause allergies if it comes into contact with the lips.
  • Furthermore can Drug allergies Cause lip swelling.

With all of these allergies, the affected person's body recognizes the "foreign substance" as dangerous and reacts with defenses to protect the body.

However, a distinction is made between different types of allergies. Allergies to Insecticides, foods, or medicines are usually allergies of the so-called Type I. or immediate type. The reactions happen immediately, within a few seconds. Different cells in the body ensure that a large amount of antibodies is released. These are known as IgE-type antibodies. They bind to the “docking points” of the so-called mast cells. Then tissue hormones such as histamine, heparin and serotonin are released. Vascular dilatation occurs and then, for example, lip swelling.

Contact allergies are from Allergy type IV or delayed type. The allergy reaction only shows up after about 24-48 hours. When so-called antigens have overcome the skin barriers, they are bound to the body's own proteins. Special cells present the antigen. Then other cells of the body's own defense system become active. So-called granuloma formation occurs. As a result, you can see redness and swelling on the (lip) skin. In addition, some allergies, including allergies to pharmaceuticals in tablet form, can occur very delayed. In some cases, they may take 48 hours to show.

Concomitant symptoms

Depending on the cause, characteristic accompanying complaints such as blisters and bleeding spots can occur in addition to lip swelling. Other accompanying symptoms often indicate complications and should always be evaluated and treated by a doctor.

In the context of an allergy, so-called angioedema can also occur. It is also known as Quinke's edema. This is a sudden, painless swelling, usually in the face area, often on the eyelids, tongue or lip. In some cases, feet and hands also swell. But the tongue and throat can also be affected. If this swells, it can lead to life-threatening shortness of breath. In the worst case, a so-called anaphylactic shock develops with a drop in blood pressure and an increase in heart rate. This is an emergency and needs to be dealt with immediately!

Read more on the subject here: Quincke's edema.

If the swollen lips were caused by an injury, there may also be injured vessels, nerves and bones in the face.

If swelling of the lips caused by a herpes infection, changes in consciousness or symptoms of paralysis occur, an emergency doctor must be consulted immediately! In this case, the herpes viruses may have migrated to the brain and caused an inflammation of the brain. In the worst case, the viruses spread systematically in the body and lead to sepsis. This is an absolute emergency and needs to be dealt with immediately!

Lips swollen with blistering

Lip swelling and simultaneously occurring, painful white blisters, which form so-called erosions and tingle, usually speak for one Herpes infection, a so-called herpes labiales.

But also in the context of one Sunburn blisters may appear on the lips or if you have a fever. However, these burn blisters are more likely transparent. They often cause severe pain. But they usually do not trigger the characteristic tingling sensation, as with a herpes infection.


In order to find a diagnosis, a detailed survey of the person concerned is important. The doctor looks closely at the lips.

The cause can often be deduced from the sight. An insect bite is thus clearly recognizable through the puncture site. In the case of injuries caused by an accident or as part of an epileptic seizure, the cause is quickly apparent through the questioning.

In both cases it is important Further not visible Exclude injuries. If a fracture is suspected, one is required X-ray examination and in some cases are also one Computed Tomography and a Magnetic resonance imaging advisable.

At a Herpes infection the characteristic vesicles are usually clearly visible.

Read more about the topic here: Cold Sores - How To Treat It Right.

In the case of lip swelling caused by an allergy, in addition to the so-called allergy history, an allergy test may have to be done.

Swollen eyelids

In the context of allergic reactions or infections, the overreaction of the immune system can lead to lip swelling. Often there are also swollen eyelids. These can be painless, but also painful. Depending on how strong these swellings are, it can be difficult to open your eyes completely. If swelling of the eyelids occurs in addition to lip swelling, this should always be clarified and treated by a doctor.


Having a swollen lip accompanying numbness can, for example, after a Dental treatment With Local anesthesia, arise. However, lip swelling after dental treatment is rare. Shouldn't do both in a reasonable period of time - depending on the treatment, after one few hours or 1-2 days - go back, the dentist should be visited again.

Swollen lymph nodes

To step Lip swelling in combination with Swelling of the lymph nodes on, mostly inflammatory reactions are hidden behind it. Swollen lymph nodes are a reaction of the Immune system and show that the body is straight against Bacteria, viruses or against a substance “classified as dangerous”. Depending on which accompanying complaints also occur, appropriate measures must be taken.

Read more about the topic here: Swollen lymph nodes- how dangerous is it?


In the context of allergies you can Lip swelling in combination with itching occur. The itching can be limited to one part of the body or throughout the body. The itching is caused by the excessive release of messenger substances from the body's mast cells. Among other things, histamine mediates itching.
Allergic reactions should be clarified by the doctor and appropriate measures taken.

Lip swelling with pain

Lip swelling due to viral or bacterial cause or because of a allergy arise are mostly painful. In inflammatory processes, among other things, histamine can also ensure that not only swelling but also pain occurs.

Furthermore, in the area of ​​the face and lips are the branches of the so-called Trigeminal nerve for the Contact, temperature and also the Pain perception responsible.

You can find more information on the topic here: Inflammation of the trigeminal nerve

Act damaging stimuli on the lips, the uncomfortable sensory sensation can trigger pain. The body reacts in different ways and during this process different messenger substances are released from the cells in the body. This then manifests itself as lip pain, for example. The swelling can also cause tension pain.

Lip swelling without pain

A swollen lip can under a Quink edema be painless.

Causes of Quinke Edema:

  • It can be caused by certain medicines, such as ACE inhibitors.
  • Quinke edema can also genetic causes to have. In these cases, the painless swelling is due to a congenital deficiency of a protein called the C1 esterase inhibitor. This protein plays an important role in controlling and regulating part of the body's immune system.

Quinke edema can Last for hours to days. Usually due to an allergy, there is suddenly increased permeability of the lip vessels and consequently the lip swells.

Treatment of lip swelling

For lip swelling caused by a allergic reaction arose, should fast responds become. If it first occurs, a doctor should be seen. If an allergy was the cause of the lip swelling, it is very important to find out what the person is allergic to. If the allergy is known, appropriate measures learned should be taken immediately, such as Cooling the lip, the Taking rescue medication and the Inhale be made. If the lip swelling is not so pronounced and there are no further symptoms, a visit to the doctor is not necessary. However, if the swelling has not subsided after two days or has worsened, it is advisable to consult a doctor.

Is the lip swelling caused by a injury emerged, there are also often vacancies on the lip. These wounds should be cleaned. In the further course, care should be taken to ensure adequate hygiene. To prevent infections, a antiseptic ointment recommended.

At a Herpes infection is advised to use a special ointment, which Acyclovir includes. Ointments containing antibiotics will not work for a herpes infection. The herpes infection is contagious. If you suspect a herpes infection, you should immediately refrain from touching your lips with your hands, kissing someone or practicing oral sex. You should also avoid sharing glasses, bottles, cutlery and anything that comes into contact with your mouth with anyone. In addition, towels should only be used by the person concerned.

Home remedies

In some cases, it also helps with swollen lips Home remedies. Depending on the cause, different home remedies can provide relief. If the lip swelling arises due to a minor injury or an allergy, without any side effects, a immediate cooling relieve the swelling. Depending on what is within reach, a cold spoon, an ice cube or an ice pad can be used for this.

At sunburn damaged lips with vesicles, the lips should be gently cooled. In this case, wet, cold towels or washcloths are recommended. This is followed by the application of olive oil or Marigold ointment recommended. Also can Quark can be used for cooling and for application on burned lips and can have a soothing effect. If the lips swell for no apparent reason after a stressful day, chewing lemon balm helps some sufferers. Of the Lemon balm juice has a calming effect and soothes puffy lips. In addition, lemon balm oil or honey can have a soothing effect on swollen, easily bleeding lips.
It is recommended that you gently apply the oil or honey to your lips with a clean cotton swab. Afterwards, boiled, cooled Black tea bags continue to soothe the lips. Some sufferers also feel garlic and olive oil effective. Lip swellings caused by herpes viruses are sometimes soothed with Manuka honey.

Some sufferers report that the cold sore is relieved by the careful dabbing Sage or black tea. However, if the herpes infection is advanced, it is absolutely advisable to consult a doctor to avoid complications. If other symptoms occur in addition to lip swelling, a doctor should always be consulted.

Therapy for decongestion

The best way to swell the lips is when possible chilled immediately become.
After a few hours, cooling measures no longer reduce swelling, but only relieve pain.
Warm compresses are advisable for further swelling of the lips. Dip a clean cloth or washcloth in water so hot that it can just about be touched. Of course, the comfort and burn limits should of course be observed. The hot compresses can be placed on the lips for about 10 minutes. This action can be repeated about every hour several times a day until the swelling has subsided.

Duration of lip swelling

The duration of lip swelling is depending on the cause. If there are no accompanying symptoms and the causes are harmless, lip swelling can go away in a short time. If the cause is harmless, the lip swelling is at the latest after a few days subsided.
If the lip swelling persists or occurs repeatedly, a doctor should be consulted

Different locations

Swelling of the lower lip

Because of its shape and size, the Lower lip particularly at risk in terms of Risk of sunburn. As part of this, the lower lip can swell. All events that happened directly on the lower lip, such as a Insect bite, one injury, for example a bite on the lower lip, can cause lower lip swelling.
Also a Lower lip piercing can swell for up to two weeks during the normal healing process. A doctor should be consulted if the swelling persists or if accompanying symptoms occur.

Swelling on the inside of the lip

m frame a allergic reaction can cause lip swelling Inside of lips come. This swelling is only present when there is contact with the triggering substance, the so-called allergen.

Is the lip swelling permanent there may be a Mucous cyst, a so-called Mucocele be the cause. In this case, an ENT specialist should be consulted.

Inflammatory changes in the oral mucosa can also cause swelling of the lips on the inside of the lips. The mucous ulcers, so-called Aphthous ulcers are usually 2-4 mm tall and rounded. Most of the time, those affected report pain. The cause of these ulcers can be through Viral infections, Dream, but also through stress, hormonal imbalance or a lack of vitamins and mineralsl and triggered due to unknown cause. The symptoms should have subsided after 1-2 weeks. If this is not the case or if the mucous lip ulcers occur more frequently, a doctor should be consulted.

Swelling of the lip on one side, right or left

In addition to the manifold causes of lip swelling, often only one-sided occurs, for example with an insect bite, this can also occur in the context of the so-called Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome occur. This inflammatory disease can occur like attacks at irregular intervals. It is identified by a Lip swelling, one Pleated tongue and a Facial paralysis.
Most often the facial paralysis is one-sided. The corner of the mouth and the cheek usually hang down. Facial expressions cannot be performed on the entire affected side. A frown is also not possible, as it is a so-called peripheral facial paralysis. This means that the cause of the damage is probably not in the brain. The symptoms of paralysis in Melkerson-Rosenthal syndrome can often disappear spontaneously and, if they occur again, may affect the other side.
The lip swelling can affect one or both lips and is compressible. The cheek and eye, as well as the cervical lymph nodes, can also be swollen.

Are common young adults affected. The exact cause is still unknown. Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome can be associated with a chronic inflammatory bowel disease, so-called Crohn's disease. Therefore, appropriate examination measures should be carried out by a specialist in order to rule out Crohn's disease.

Different causes


Fluid retention is common in women during pregnancy. This can also manifest itself as lip swelling, among other things. Even with a possibly weakened immune system during pregnancy, the lips can react more sensitively and cause lip swelling.

In addition, changes in the immune and endocrine systems of pregnant women can make them more susceptible to cold sores, for example. If the woman had a herpes infection before the pregnancy, it is usually not dangerous for the unborn child, as it already has antibodies against it itself. The herpes infection should then be treated as usual, with an antiviral ointment and compliance with hygiene measures. If the woman becomes infected with the herpes virus for the first time during pregnancy, caution is required and should be discussed with the gynecologist.

If herpes develops in the genital area shortly before birth, a so-called genital herpes, the newborn is at risk and serious damage can occur.

In addition, pregnancy poisoning, known as preeclampsia, can be characterized by high blood pressure, altered urine, and severely swollen lips.
This should be discussed immediately with the gynecologist.

Find out more at: Cold sores in pregnancy

By sun

Too intense or exposure to the sun for too long can lead to sunburn on the lips with lip swelling, pain and possibly blisters.
The skin of the lips does not form any substances that would turn brown when exposed to the sun. They lack what is known as melanin. This makes the lips of the sun unprotected shipped and particularly vulnerable for sunburn. The lips do not have natural sun protection.

Lip balm sticks with sun protection factor are controversial with regard to their effectiveness. In the event of sunburn on the lips, direct sunlight should be minimized if possible. As with any other sunburn, sufficient fluids should be absorbed and the burned area should be adequately cooled, for example with quark or with a damp cloth. Ice cubes should be avoided. If drinking is painful, drinking through a straw can provide relief.
The healing time is very individual and can take longer than with sunburn on other skin areas. If in doubt, a doctor should be consulted.

With antibiotics

The taking of Antibiotics can to allergic reactions which can show up as swelling of the lips, among other things. Penicillins belong to a group of antibiotics that can trigger allergies more often than other antibiotic groups.

Since the split pieces of the penicillins can act as so-called haptens, the risk of allergies is greater. Haptens are small molecules that cannot trigger an immune reaction on their own but together with a protein. An immune reaction of the body is triggered when the body classifies the substance, in this case penicillin, as dangerous. As a result, allergic reactions often appear as hives or swelling of the eyes and lips with penicillin. There is a risk of anaphylactic shock and should therefore be discussed with the doctor immediately.

The antibiotics to which the affected person is allergic must be written down. The person affected should always carry this with them, ideally in the form of an allergy certificate. In particular in the case of food allergies to molds, for example to mold cheese or in the case of mold asthma, the risk of a penicillin allergy is greater. Due to so-called cross allergies, an antibiotic should be chosen that corresponds to a different mechanism of action.

There is also a group of antibiotics called tetracyclines, which are phototoxic. This means that the skin and thus also the skin of the lips can react more sensitively to UV radiation when taking tetracyclines. According to this, sunburn on the lips with corresponding swelling and pain can develop more quickly.

From hives

Hives, also known as urticaria, can show up in different ways. Typically it shows up as skin rash with different large red and pale wheals. The appearance is similar to that of grabbing a nettle. The hives can also turn out to be Lip swelling demonstrate.
The hives are based on a disturbed regulation of the immune system, so that the so-called mast cells release excessive messenger substances in certain situations. As a result, the permeability of the vessels is increased, which can lead to the skin rash or lip swelling. This can be harmless, but it can also lead to a life-threatening situation. In the context of allergic reactions, hives should be given urgent attention. If the hives are accompanied by swelling of the lips, tongue, and throat, this can lead to Shortness of breath lead and is life-threatening!

If this occurs for the first time, a doctor should be consulted immediately. Those affected are provided with an emergency kit, after which this has been discussed in detail with them. This set usually includes one Antihistamine, a drinking bottle cortisone Drug and an adrenaline-containing spray. Hives can have a variety of causes, such as allergies, chronic infections or autoimmune diseases. But heat, cold and pressure can also trigger these excessive immune reactions. The causes can also remain unknown.

With the baby

A lip swelling in one infant can have many causes, just like in an adult. So it can be a allergic reaction act, for example against ingredients in baby milk.
It can also cause allergic reactions to Components of a baby pacifier or against something else toywhich is taken in the mouth occur. Inflammatory reactions in the context of infections can also lead to lip swelling. These should definitely be clarified by a pediatrician.

If the baby cries frequently and refuses to eat, this is usually a sign that it is strong pain Has. In particular, if other complaints and changes in the baby's behavior occur, a pediatrician should be consulted immediately. Since babies first have to develop their body coordination and their body awareness, they fall more often and then usually land on the face due to a lack of support reactions. They can also bump into something with their face (uncoordinated) more often.

Mouth-hand coordination also has to be learned first, so the target can often be missed and the lip can be hit roughly. Since the lip is very sensitive, the result - from all the everyday accidents - is swollen lips.

Immediate cooling can relieve pain and help swell the lips. A chilled baby pacifier can be used for this. A cold, wet washcloth that the baby is suckling on can also provide relief. Depending on the baby's age and preferences, creative cooling methods can be used to make swelling and pain bearable for the baby. Usually the swelling of the lips after these "accidents" disappears after 2-3 days - until the next accident. However, if the lip becomes infected, a pediatrician should be seen.

With cortisone

Becomes Cortisone Taken over a long period of time or permanently, this can lead to various side effects. One of the side effects can also be lip swelling. The cortisone causes more sodium and water to remain in the body and swellings, so-called edema, develop.
In addition, the long-term use of cortisone weakens the immune system and thus the lips can be more sensitive or more susceptible to herpes infections with accompanying lip swelling.

In the morning / after getting up

In particular, lip swellings appear in the context of an allergy in the morning / after getting up. Lip swelling caused by stress or infections also often occurs in the morning, as the body regenerates at night. In these regeneration phases of the body, processes can then take place in which vascular dilation can occur, which can then lead to lip swelling.

After injecting hyaluron

After the lips have been injected with hyaluronic acid, it can lead to a harmless Lip swelling coming. The reaction of the lips to the active ingredient is very individual, depending on the puncture size, the filling material, the subsequent measures such as cooling the lips and many other individual factors play a role.

Before each procedure, possible side effects and follow-up treatment measures should be discussed sufficiently. In the case of lip injections with hyaluronic acid, the swelling can last up to 10 days and may reappear at irregular intervals. In rare cases, the injection site can also become infected. In addition, in rare cases, incompatibility with the filler can occur.
If the lip swelling lasts longer than 10 days or if there are accompanying symptoms, the doctor who performed the injection should be consulted.

Read more on the subject here: Splash lips with hyaluron


If a Pimples near the lips or on the lips, the lip usually swells because it is very sensitive. It is important not to press on the pimple, as this can increase the swelling of the lips. Squeezing the pimple can also lead to complications.

If the pimple becomes infected, the lip swelling does not go away, or even increases, a doctor should be seen.


At inflamed or sensitive gums lip swelling can occur on the inside of the lip. These can have various causes.
It can cause inflammation, inadequate dental and gum care, intolerance to the ingredients of the toothpaste, nutritional deficiencies, a weakened immune system or stress, gum problems.

It can also have gum problems with accompanying lip swelling hereditary be conditional. This is known as what is known as a genetic disposition.
Lip swelling caused by diseased gums can also show itself in different ways and forms. Sometimes in the form of aphthous ulcers. If the gums are permanently inflamed and swollen, this should be examined by a dentist. If the cause is suspected to be an infection or a lack of vitamins and minerals, a blood test should be performed by a family doctor. Accordingly, when the exact cause is known, measures should be taken to prevent permanent damage to the gums and teeth.


The lip is a paired organ. In most cases, the lower lip is larger than the upper lip. The size of the lips and their shape and color are culturally and individually different.

One speaks of lip swelling when the individual normal range of the lip is exceeded. This is usually not only annoying due to its appearance, but also unpleasant accompanying complaints and sometimes severe pain. Due to the fine, sensitive lip skin, this one is special at risk of injury and swelling.