Lip Swollen On One Side: Common Causes and Treatments

lip swollen on one side

Have your lips ever swollen up instantly after eating a particular food? Or, do you wake up to swollen lips on some mornings without knowing what to do about it? We know how that feels!

Bee-stung, swelled-up lips can make anyone concerned and frustrated. Plenty of factors could contribute to the sudden larger-than-usual appearance of your lips. But identifying the real reason is difficult without having any knowledge about it. This is why we have decided to let you know exactly what can cause it and how you should be dealing with this sudden development on the lips.

Yes, lip swelling on one side can be an alarming sight. It is often accompanied by pain and tenderness, making it difficult to talk or eat. Fortunately, a swollen lip is usually caused by minor illnesses or allergies and can be easily treated. Let’s take a look at the common causes of lip swelling as well as some effective treatments.

Common Causes of Lip Swelling

Various conditions, including insect bites, infections, autoimmune disorders, trauma, and allergic reactions, can cause lip swelling on one side. It is important to note that any underlying medical condition should always be ruled out before attempting any lip swelling treatment.

Acute lip swelling


lip swelling injuriesIf you’ve accidentally placed your lips on a very hot steel glass or cup, had a fall and bruised your lips, or worse, been hit on or near your mouth, your lips are likely to swell up. These usually subside in some time with the use of a cold pack or some anti-bruising or anti-swelling cream.

Sunburn Or Chapping

Your lips could also swell up if you lick your chapped lips to moisturize them or if you are outdoors when the weather is too hot, dry, windy or cold.


A cyst that comes from frequently biting the lips or from an injury is known as a mucocele. It causes damage to the salivary gland, where the liquid in the gland gets collected under the skin, causing a bump. This gives the lips a swollen appearance.


Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions are a common cause of lip swelling on one side. Allergens, such as certain foods or medications, could trigger an allergic reaction resulting in swollen lips on one side. Suppose you suspect an allergic reaction is causing your lip swelling, also known as oral allergy syndrome. In that case, it’s essential to seek immediate medical attention in order to treat the underlying cause of the reaction.

  • Common food items that people are allergic to and which can swell up your lips include peanuts, gluten (in wheat), tamarind, eggs, prawns, shellfish, soybean, and peanuts. Other nuts like almonds, walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, or hazelnuts can also cause lips to swell up.
  • If you are allergic to spices, herbs, and pulses, they, too, can cause lips to swell up. Also, some kinds of peppers and spices like cumin, fennel, star anise, coriander, celery, and parsley may cause lip swelling.
  • Food allergies can not only cause lip swelling, but they can also trigger face swelling, nausea, dizziness, coughing, etc.
  • However, another allergic reaction that causes swollen lips is called Angioedema. A food item, an allergy to pollen in the air, or an insect bite like a bee sting or a wasp bite, can trigger this. Here, the face, tongue, and lips swell up, making speaking difficult.


Certain medications, such as antibiotics and penicillin, may cause allergic reactions in some people. Similarly, if you are allergic to some particular medication, consumption of the same would cause discomfort.

Dental issues

Dental work, such as braces and other treatments, can result in swollen lips the day after the work is done. An infection of the mouth or gums may also lead to swollen lips and inflammation inside the mouth.

Chronic Lip Swelling


lip swelling medicationAre your lips swelling up? This can be a sign of infection—bacterial, viral, or fungal. Dryness and cracking of the skin may cause an infection that leads to more serious symptoms such as pain, redness, and further swelling. Inflammatory skin conditions or infections [cheilitis] can also result in swollen lips. Take note if this is happening on a regular basis so you can take action before it worsens!

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) can cause serious lip inflammation on one side of your face, along with outward signs such as a fever, throat pain, and a burning sensation in the mouth. HSV is incredibly contagious, so it’s essential to pursue prompt antiviral treatment to stop its further spread.

Tumors, a deficiency of Vitamin B2, and even cosmetic surgery can cause lips to swell up. If lip implants or injections are not administered correctly, they can be a cause.

Autoimmune Conditions

Autoimmune conditions, including lupus and Sjogren’s Syndrome, can cause swelling in the lips on one side due to inflammation. Treatment options vary depending on your specific autoimmune condition; however, common treatments include corticosteroids or immunosuppressants for controlling inflammation and reducing symptoms.

Inflammatory Problems

Some inflammatory diseases that are fairly rare can cause lips to swell. All of them require expert and specialized medical attention. A condition that can cause swollen bumps on the upper lip is called granulomatous cheilitis.

The Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome affects the upper lip, causing swelling. The lower lip tends to swell due to a condition called cheilitis glandularis. It is inflammatory in nature and affects men more than women. It is also linked to lip cancer.

Swollen lip on one side of the mouth

If your lip swelling is localized on one side, it’s probable that you’ve either been injured in that section of your mouth or there may be a cyst or growth present. If you wake up to find this symptom, carefully inspect the area and search for an underlying cause for why one side appears swollen.

It’s essential to remember that other health issues might cause one side of your mouth to be different from the other. If you unexpectedly wake up and discover one-half drooping, copious saliva streaming out, or difficulty speaking, it could signify a stroke or Bell’s palsy.

If you suspect that you may be having a stroke, call 911 without hesitation. While Bell’s palsy is not fatal, it can result in the temporary paralysis of facial muscles due to nerve damage or inflammation. Subsequently, it should still be considered an emergency and promptly assessed by medical professionals.

Treatment: What to do with your Swollen Lip

At-home treatments

To reduce swollen lips, you can apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel to the area. But always be sure not to make direct contact with the skin; otherwise, it will cause further injury.

Sunburn-induced swollen lips can be soothed by applying a layer of aloe lotion. To rid yourself of severe dryness and cracking, use a gentle lip balm that will hydrate your skin from within.

Medical treatments

For swollen lips caused by inflammatory conditions, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen (Advil) or corticosteroids may help reduce the swelling. NSAIDs may also be helpful in the event of a bruise or other injury that’s causing your lips to swell.

Other neurological conditions, such as focal dystonia, may require more invasive treatments. For embouchure dystonia, muscle relaxers such as baclofen (Gablofen) may be useful. Injections of botulinum toxin (Botox) may help but must be administered with care by a doctor.

When to see a doctor

lip swelling doctor consulationSomething as simple as food can cause a life-threatening situation if you are allergic. It is essential to keep an eye out for signs of severe allergies, including wheezing, restricted breathing or swelling in the lip and tongue area. If any of these symptoms occur, seek immediate medical attention by calling 911 or your local emergency number right away!

It is important to consult a dermatologist immediately if you are dealing with cystic acne or any suspicious bumps near your lip. After an evaluation, they may even refer you to another specialist should the condition reflect something different than expected.

If you discover your lips slightly swollen when you wake up, pay attention to whether the swelling dissipates or lingers. If it remains after 24 hours, seeking medical care is recommended. However, if there are signs of a serious allergic reaction, emergency help should be obtained immediately.

Lip swelling on one side can be a frightening experience, but it’s important to remember that it is usually caused by minor illnesses or allergies that can easily be treated with over-the-counter medications or topical creams/ointments. In cases where the underlying condition requires medical intervention, it’s best to seek professional help from a doctor right away so that proper diagnosis and treatment can begin quickly. No matter what the cause may be, swift action will help ensure that you get relief from your symptoms sooner rather than later!



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