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What Causes A Swollen Lip On Waking Up And What Can Be Done About It?

It may be quite a scary sight for people when they wake up in the morning and find that their lips are swollen. Swollen lip on waking can occur for a variety of reasons like an allergic reaction, injuries, or due to some underlying medical condition.  In most cases, a person will be able to identify the reason behind the swollen lips, especially if they remember any specific food that they might have eaten. Additionally, there are also certain medications that can also cause Swollen Lips on Waking[1, 2, 3].

Some people also have other symptoms in addition to swollen lips.  These include redness of the face and lips, blisters in the mouth, and itching sensation around the lip region.   The corners of the mouth may also cracking.   In most of the cases, swollen lips on waking is temporary and resolves spontaneously with time or over the counter medications.  However, in case if it is caused due to something serious like an allergic reaction then it must be treated as it may cause some serious complications[1, 2, 3].  This article below highlights some of the potential causes and treatment options for Swollen Lips on Waking.

What Causes A Swollen Lip On Waking Up And What Can Be Done About It?

What Causes A Swollen Lip On Waking Up?

Some of the common causes of Swollen Lips on Waking include

Angioedema: This is a medical condition characterized by abrupt swelling of the skin and mucous membranes.  The National Health Services in The United Kingdom states that the most common place where one can see angioedema is the lips.  Hence, this is one of the most common causes of Swollen Lips on Waking.  The swelling caused by angioedema is very short lived and resolves with a couple of days[3].

The symptoms of angioedema are quite similar to another dermatologic condition called urticaria or hives but they tend to affect different areas of the body.  It is quite possible that both angioedema and urticaria occurs simultaneously.  Aside from the Swollen Lip, some of the other symptoms seen with Angioedema include the skin around the affected area becoming erythematous.  The affected area will be itchy.  The skin around the affected area will be painful and tender to touch[3].

Allergies: This is perhaps the most common cause of Swollen Lips on Waking.  A person can have an allergic reaction to anything, including food, medications, chemicals, and other substances that we call as allergens.  One of the symptoms of an allergic reaction is lip swelling.  The symptoms of an allergic reaction to food products can be visible immediately after eating the food but sometimes for certain foods it takes hours for a person to develop symptoms[3].

According to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, allergic reaction to certain medications may take several hours to develop, if not days or weeks.  This clearly indicates that a person may have swollen lips on waking if they ate a specific food or took any medication many days before[3].

Pollen Food Syndrome: This is a condition in which a person has a reaction after eating raw fruit or vegetables, nuts, and seeds.  Along with swollen lips, the person will also have itching sensation in the mouth and tongue.  These symptoms are temporary and last for a very brief period of time.  It can be said that if a person has swollen lips on waking that he or she must have had something to eat the previous night that they might have been sensitive to[3].

Anaphylaxis: This is quite a serious medical condition and is a complication of an allergic reaction.  It is a medical emergency and if any person shows signs of anaphylaxis should be taken to the nearest emergency room for treatment.  Along with swollen lips, some of the other symptoms of anaphylaxis include problems with breathing, difficulty speaking, swallowing, and loss of consciousness[3].

Cellulitis: This is a bacterial infection that normally develops in the upper and lower extremities but sometimes it can also affect the mouth causing swollen lips.  This normally happens when bacteria enters the mouth either due to injury or as a result of damage to the skin during a surgical procedure.  Along with swollen lips, other symptoms of cellulitis include erythema, pain, and presence of blisters around the mouth[3].

Braces: This is also one of the most common causes of Swollen Lips on Waking.  This occurs when the braces rub against the soft and sensitive skin of the upper lip.  This results in skin irritation and swelling.  Additionally, majority of the braces are made of nickel.  Hence if a person is allergic to nickel then it may also cause a reaction resulting in swollen lips and such people should go for alternate forms of braces[3].

Injury: A physical injury can also cause the Swollen Lips on Waking.  Since the skin of the lips is very sensitive and they contain lot of blood it is very easy for this area to bleed.  Hence, just a cut or a blow to the face around the lips may cause profuse swelling and bleeding[3].

Sunburn: Excessive exposure to direct sunlight is also one of the causes of Swollen Lips.  This is caused due to inflammatory skin reaction due to sunlight.  If a person is exposed to the sun especially in summer months for prolonged periods of time then there is a strong likelihood that they will have Swollen Lips on Waking.  The reason behind this is that the skin reaction causing swelling peaks around 24 hours after exposure to sun.  The best to deal with this is to use sunscreens when out in the sun to protect the skin[3].

Focal Dystonia: It is a neurological disorder that causes involuntary muscle contractions.  The most common area where focal dystonia can be observed is the face including the lips.  It may at times result in Swollen Lips on Waking.  Along with swollen lips, the person will also have problems with swallowing, chewing, and even speaking[3].

Embouchure Collapse: This is a condition that affects mainly musicians who play instruments by blowing air through the mouth.  The best examples of such instruments are the trumpet and the flute.  Embouchure is defined as the position of the facial muscles that a musician takes so as to produce sound from the instrument[3].

In Embouchure collapse or dystonia the lower facial muscles, jaw, and tongue get affected.  A musician will feel pain while playing the instrument in cases of Embouchure collapse.  There may also be involuntary muscle contractions.  Swollen Lips is also one of the symptoms of Embouchure collapse.  Plying an instrument too excessively is also one of the reasons for Embouchure collapse[3].


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:March 19, 2022

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