Lip swelling also referred lip edema means enlargement of the lip caused by build up of fluid under skin of lips or inflammation within the lip tissue. There are various causes for swollen lips among which some are minor but some can be severe and serious that require urgent medical attention. The duration of lip swelling varies from case to case. In some cases, the lip swelling may remain for little time but goes away quickly but at times, it may remain for long time.
What are the reasons for Swelling of Lips?
Most common cause behind lip swelling is allergies. Allergy refers to an overreaction of immune system in response to a substance to which a person might be allergic. In an allergic reaction a chemical known as histamine is released that results in swelling as a part of an inflammatory response. The allergic reaction may occur from eating certain food items ( some examples are fish, eggs, shellfish, peanuts, wheat, soy). Environmental allergies are also common where a person can have an allergic reaction to some substances present in environment like dust, pollen, molds and pet danders. Lip swelling allergy may also occur from some drugs like penicillin, anticonvulsants. It may occur from allergic reaction to insect bites, stings or some cosmetic use. It may also occur from anaphylaxis which is a serious allergic reaction that needs immediate medical treatment. Few of its signs and symptoms are swelling in throat / tongue, difficulty in breathing, low blood pressure, skin reactions like hives, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, a weak and rapid pulse, dizziness or fainting
Another cause for lip swelling is Angioedema . It is a condition in which swelling occurs under the skin. It can result from allergic reaction or hereditary conditions. Though swelling in this condition may occur on any of the body part but is common on lips and eyes.
Thirdly it may arise from an infection. The infection can be bacterial, viral or fungal. Some of the examples of infection that can cause it includes herpes simplex infection (a viral infection that causes herpes and can appear in many body parts including mouth). Cheilitis (Means lip inflammation in which lips may swell along with dry, red, itchy lips. Other than infection cheilitis may also be caused by eczema, prolonged lip picking, irritation or reaction from some substances like lip cosmetics), cellulitis (a serious bacterial infection affecting the inner layers of the skin).
Next reason is an injury to the face mainly around the mouth. The injury may be from blunt object, bite , from dental appliances or it may be a cut or from burn.
Other than above it may also occur from contact dermatitis (a red, itchy rash resulting from a direct contact with a substance or from an allergic reaction to it), from severe sunburn, hot spicy food and oral surgery.
In some cases it may occur from blood transfusion reaction, fluid retention during pregnancy, preeclampsia (a complication that can occur in pregnancy in which the blood pressure is raised along with signs of damage to other organs like liver and kidneys) and lip cancer.
Apart from above there are some of the rare reasons for this. It firstly includes Granulomatous cheilitis which is a rare condition in which occurs a lumpy swelling in the lips. Cheilitis glandularis that is a rare inflammatory condition affecting the lips. The exact cause for it is not known but this condition is linked with lip injury, smoking and UV exposure. Last is Miescher-Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome In this condition the lips swell along with weakness / paralysis of the facial muscle and fissured tongue.
Signs and Symptoms of Swollen lips
Depending on the cause behind lip swelling different signs and symptoms may attend it. These include redness, soreness of the lips, heat around the lips, cracked lips and sensitive tender lips. Sometimes there may be eruptions on lips (the eruptions can be blisters means fluid filled or pustular means pus filled).
In some cases runny nose, sneezing, watery, itchy eyes, nasal congestion may be present. Stomach pain, nausea, cough, skin rash, hives (a skin rash characterised by itchy wheals means bumps on the skin usually from an allergic reaction) may also be there in some cases. Sometimes serious symptoms can accompany and are indicative of life threatening condition. These includes general swelling over body, blue lips or fingernails, throat tightness, hives, fever with redness, swollen tongue and breathing difficulty.
Homeopathic management for Swollen lips
Homeopathic medicines are very beneficial for managing cases of swollen lips. These medicines help to reduce swelling of lips. Along with this these also manage any related pain, itching, dryness, cracks and eruptions on the lips. These medicines offer help by working to treat the root cause behind it. Use of any homeopathic medicines should be done under supervision of a homeopathic physician and self medication should be avoided. Homeopathic medicines for swollen lips are recommended only for mild to moderate cases. But in case of severe swelling, or when attended with some symptoms like blue lips or fingernails, throat tightness, general swelling over body, hives, fever, swollen tongue, breathing difficulty urgent help from conventional mode of treatment is strictly advised. In addition to this Homeopathy is not recommended when swollen lips are occurring from serious causes for example severe allergic reactions, anaphylaxis, cellulitis, cancer, preeclampsia.
1. Apis Mellifica – Top grade medicine
It is a leading medicine in homeopathy for cases of swollen lips. In cases needing it the lips are swollen, red with heat. Mostly upper lip is affected. The lips are dry and rough. They may also be tender. There is burning or stinging type of pain in the lips. Prickling in lips is yet another symptom that can attend. It is one of the best medicine for swelling in cases of allergies.
2. Belladonna – for swollen lips with burning sensation
This medicine is prepared from plant named as deadly nightshade. It belongs to family solanaceae. It is indicated for swelling of lips along with burning sensation. The lips may be dry with this. Sometimes there is hardness in lips also. Lips may look dark red with this. Shooting type of pain in lips can occur. In some cases there may be eruptions with red circular margin on the lips and in the mouth corners.
3. Natrum Mur – for swelling of lips and blisters (fluid filled eruptions)
It is a very effective medicine for persons in whom lips are swollen and there are fluid filled eruptions (blisters) on lips. Burning sensation is marked in the blisters. The lips are red with eruptions. Smarting pain may occur with this. In some cases that require it cracks and ulceration may be there on lips and corners of mouth. The lips may be dry, cracked and there may be bleeding scabs on lips.
4. Arsenic Album – for swollen upper lip
It is a prominent medicine for cases in which there is swelling on the upper lip. Burning and stinging precede it. Itching may be present with this. Dryness and cracks on lips may occur.
5. Sepia – for swelling of lower lip
This medicine is well indicated when there is swelling of the lower lip. The lower lip is also cracked. It is an important medicine for managing this complaint in case of herpes. Other than above it is indicated for moist scaly eruptions on the lips.
6. Bryonia – for swollen, dry lips
It is prepared from root of plant Bryonia alba commonly known as White Bryony or wild hops. It belongs to family cucurbitaceae. Use of this medicine is considered when the lips are swollen and are dry, parched, cracked. On upper lip redness and heat can be there along with swelling. Apart from above its use is recommended for swelling of lips with eruptions. A burning and biting sensation is felt in the eruptions.
7. Arum Triphyllum – when lips are swollen with cracks, bleeding
It works well in cases having swollen lips with cracks and bleeding. Burning sensation is also felt with this. lips are very sore and and there may be peeling off the skin from lips.
8.Nitric Acid – for swollen itchy lips
It is an important medicine for helping cases of swollen itchy lips. In cases that require it, blisters or ulcers may be present on the lips. Stitching pain as from splinters may be felt in upper lip on touching. The lower lip can be dry, cracked and sore where it is needed
9.Merc Sol – for swollen lips with eruptions
It is useful medicine for cases in which there is swelling of lips with eruptions. There are pimple eruptions on lips with yellow crusts. Burning is felt in these. Lips may be dry, cracked or ulcerated in some cases. On touching pain is felt in the lips.
10. Hepar Sulph – for swollen upper lip painful to touch
This medicine is valuable for case having swollen upper lip which is also painful to touch. Pimples with soreness and smarting pain may be present on the lip. In some cases white blisters appear on the lips.