Swollen Upper Lip Causes, Sudden, Numb, Painful Treatments & Remedies

Waking up at the sight of swollen lips suddenly without reason can be frightening. The extent to which upper swollen lips will occur is another concern. Furthermore, whether unexplained for or explained, whether are numb and no pain is felt or painful, one is bound to worry about their this issue.

What factors, conditions or infections can be the cause it? Are these factors or causes confined to swelling of upper lips only or they can affect the side, on top or whole lips?

Who wants a swollen lip?

Staying with swollen lip, whether painless or painful is a stress on its own. Such a health phenomenon can’t emerge out of nowhere. Therefore besides swelling causes, you should keenly note all changes in symptoms right from the point it begin to enlarge and grow thicker than its normal size. This is important in providing important tips on what treatment methods to use, when to treat and when you must see a doctor.

Let us now look at the possible reasons why your lip is swollen.

Top lip swelling causes

Lips may suddenly become swollen on one side, left part, top part or undergo tissue enlarging. Following below is discussion that should enable you learn more this phenomenon.

Allergic reactions

Lip swelling or edema is itself a symptom of a reaction from allergy. How do allergens cause it? When your lips and mouth come into contact with a substance which you are allergic to, two things likely occur as a result of immune response. Either a build-up of fluid or inflammation takes place within the lip tissue – the reason being to offer protection against potentially harmful effects of suspected allergen.

In most instances, allergens causing both upper swelling and lower lip as well include: dairy foods and products, fishes, eggs, dander from pets, certain pollens, lip products, and many others. Sources of allergens vary from one individual to another.

  1. Drugs such as over the counter solutions, cough syrups, painkillers, amoxicillin and other medicines,
  2. Oral allergy syndrome, OAS caused by pollen released by certain plants such as the birch plant,
  3. Cosmetic items, makeup, beauty products such as chap sticks,
  4. Parts of children toys which are chemically produced using substances like latex.


Closely related to allergic reactions, anaphylaxis is a “serious, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction characterized by swelling of the mouth and throat…” [webmd.boots.com] either the top or bottom lip or both may swell.

These reactions may be caused by a number of foods, stinging insects and other inhaled allergens. Such foods include shrimp, lobster, dairy products, the white egg, etc. If wasps sting your upper lips may result to anaphylaxis reaction. Besides swelling, other symptoms of anaphylaxis are presence of hives, a life-threatened feeling.

Injury and trauma

Going on with causes, certain oral operations, substances, conditions can be described as being traumatic in that much great physical damage results. These include:

  • Oral surgery and surgery on lip with cancer,
  • Extreme heat forms like sunburn,
  • Dental appliances used by dentists,
  • Lacerations including accidents as in being hit by a blunt object, serious biting, etc.
  • Contact dermatitis,

Can illness or infections this problem

Yes. Infections can bring about skin inflammations. Freely but harmful living bacteria are commonly known to cause infections. Certain infections of the skin or other illness on body organs can highly distort their normal functioning as well as controlling and regulating other body tissues. How do infections cause swelling of lips?

Cold sores HSV infections

Cold sores is caused by herpes viruses HSV. According to WebMD Boots, after first symptoms (prodromal stage), herpes virus can trigger the formation of blisters that can become red, swollen and sore. In essence, if the fluid-filled blisters break and open, your lips became prone to bacterial infections and other micro-organisms. This is the stage which patients with cold sore experience pain in lips.

If you get a recurring or frequent infection, milder symptoms usually prevail – i.e. chapped lips, small cracks and a pimple. In this way, more blood and fluid flow to the infected area, leading to retention hence it will swell.

Other infections such as skin sores especially sores around the mouth can also lead to swollen lips.

Other causes

Apart from what we have discussed here are more reasons why your lips may get swollen. They all in one way what may cause this problem – involving body processes, health-related conditions, disorders, infections and many others.

  • Lip cancer,
  • Lip pimple
  • Obesity,
  • Organ failures heart, liver and kidney,
  • Melkersson-Rosenthal syndrome,
  • Preeclampsia,
  • Severe malnutrition,
  • Autoimmune reactions,

Sudden swelling and numbness (no pain)

What causes sudden upper swollen lip? Everyone expects some reason why this happened. It may sound inconceivable for you hearing of that without a reason. Can you get a swollen upper lip out of nowhere?

Granulomatous cheilitis or Cheilitis Granulomatosa

As a health condition, Granulomatous cheilitis medically means lumpy swelling of the lips. What causes it? Cheilitis granulomatosa could be due to Crohn disease, certain allergens, orofacial granulomatosis or some genetic disorders.

The first remarkable symptoms of the cheilitis condition is marked by sudden swelling of the upper lip. These symptoms may last up to some hours after which they totally go away. Have a look at this picture of patients affected by Granulomatous cheilitis.

Cheilitis occurrence is rare. Unfortunately, no one is exceptional. Color, race, gender or age.

Allergy to food additives, drugs or medicines

Some food additives and extracts can be a source of allergy to most young children and adult individuals. For instance, annatto is one of the extracts that can be used both as a spice and a dyestuff. “Annatto allergy is an adverse reaction by the body’s immune system,” [rightdiagnosis.com].

There are specific symptoms but depending on severity of the reactions, patients show many varied symptoms. Amongst the most observed cases, symptoms of annatto additive comprises the following:

Lip swelling and reddening, runny nose, watery eyes, change in behavior and mood, facial swelling, sore red eyes, etc.

Other food allergies that trigger swelling lips are as outlined below;

  • Nuts e.g. peanuts,
  • Egg whites,
  • Certain fishes such as the shellfish,
  • Dairy products that contain additives,
  • Sesame seeds,

Some of the dugs mentioned may cause sudden swollen lips. Avoiding them can be the best measure to take and avoid such symptoms.


Secondly, angioedema is yet a very possible cause why it will for no reason. If you woke up one morning and realized your lip’s side swollen and numb (neither a feeling, nor pain), do not curse yourself.

Going straight to the facts, main causes of angioedema are at times never found. Even though that is the case, exposure to certain set physical and environmental conditions has been linked to it. That is water, heat, sunlight or cold.


If you suspect it is angioedema these are symptoms to take note of.

  1. Sudden swelling below lip skin and eyes (main symptom). If swelling is on surface welts may develop.
  2. Itchy, painful welts that may turn pale when they are irritated,
  3. Chemosis or swollen lining of eyes,
  4. Abdominal cramps

This swelling has been likened to hives. But a noticeable difference in it is that angioedema occurs under the skin of the upper lips (and lower too) as opposed to on-the-surface (as is with hives)

Swollen upper lip and nose

Can allergies cause swelling in upper lip and around nose? A swollen upper lip and white spots, areas near your nostrils could be due to cold sore, infections or an allergy. However, none of the symptoms can conclusively deduced to a single cause amongst what we have looked at.

It is a high time you go for a checkup or diagnosis in order to confirm whether you have multiple infections.

Swelling treatment

Treating a swollen lip is possible. If it is an allergy, medical condition or trauma causing it, you should see a dermatologist. Healing becomes definite in cases where the source of allergen is only identified.

Unfortunately, lip swelling linked to cold sore infections may totally lack cure. That means you need to cleverly combine home remedies and medical treatments while trying to eliminate other infections from piling up symptoms.

Treatment using Adrenaline

To begin, the first and common used medicine is adrenaline injections. Adrenaline is quite effective when it comes to curing lip swelling caused by allergic reactions which also include anaphylaxis. It acts against the harmful effects produced by the immune system.

An important health caution however is to discuss with your doctor if you have other health problems that may disqualify adrenaline injections.


Another treatment using medicines for swollen lip is a category of drugs known as antihistamines. In particular, these drugs are quite useful in relieving symptoms quickly.

Oral antihistamines which are doctor prescribed. Administration of a particular form of an antihistamine largely relies on effectiveness, possible side effects, and intentions of your doctor in determining symptoms amongst others. Examples of these are Benadryl, Chlorpheniramine Hydroxizine, and Loratidine.

If swelling of your upper lips and lower is due to angioedema, and allergy reactions you need to seek medical help from your dermatologist who can recommend prescribed antihistamines. However, in severe symptoms anaphylaxis requires an emergency treatment.

Anti-inflammatory medicines – Corticosteroids & Non-steirods

As topical treatment and medicines, the best ones are corticosteroids that have a fast action to control and reduce swelling. Prescription corticosteroids are quite effective, for instance, acetaminophen and ibuprofen, Sulfasalazine, Clofazimine, et cetera.

As per your doctor’s advice on use of antibiotics, one of drawbacks of anti-inflammatory medicines has to do with duration.

Natural cure and remedies

Learning to treat swollen lips naturally can be beneficial because of their applicability at a comfort of your home. Another reason why home remedies can be ideal is when lip swelling seems to be embarrassing. Moreover, it is safe if procedures are well taken.

A.Warm compress

If the swelling exceeds one week then you need to apply a warm compress to bring down the swelling. Warm compress improves blood flow by stimulating but avoiding accumulation in one side of swollen lip or area. Caution for using this home remedy is that it cannot be applied on open blisters or sores because it will inflict more pain to make you extremely suffer.

For increased effects of warm compress, Top10homeremedies complements to try to alternate it with cold compress

B.      Turmeric powder ointment

The main reason why turmeric is an essential home remedy and treatment for reducing swelling, is antiseptic or antibacterial properties. Fuller’s earth additionally have excellent cooling properties.

How do you prepare it? First you need little turmeric powder and fuller’s earth plus some cold water.

  • Take a little of the powder and mix well with fuller’s earth.
  • Add small amounts of water until it forms a kind of sticky paste.
  • Clean the swollen area on lip and then apply. Allow it dry.
  • Wash off well using lukewarm water.

C.      Black tea soak

Thirdly, you may try black tea procedure. Tannins found in tea act as an astringent to reduce the swelling in lips whose tender tissue absolutely needs.

D. Aloe Vera gel

After a bee or wasp stings your one side of lips, inflammation may be accompanied with pain and then swelling. This is what you need to stop the whole lips from swelling as poison sting tends to spread.

It is also very simple. Just obtain a fresh aloe gel and then apply it directly. Do little massaging only a round the stinging point.

E.  Baking soda and Poultice

Last but not least, these two compounds can be very important remedies to reduce the swelling. Poultice is a natural and traditional dough with soothing ingredients to help reduce inflammation and discomfort.


To sum up, drawing conclusive judgments on the various causes on why upper lip may swell up suddenly, after sleeping or in the morning cannot be straightforward or right. Make sure you seek medical advice if you are not certain about any treatment.

Reference and Quoted Sources
  1. Swollen Lip: http://www.medicinenet.com/swollen_lip/symptoms.htm
  2. Food Additive Allergy – Annatto: http://www.rightdiagnosis.com/f/food_additive_allergy_annatto/intro.htm
  3. Granulomatous cheilitis: http://www.dermnetnz.org/site-age-specific/granulomatous-cheilitis.html
  4. Skin problems & treatments guide: http://www.webmd.boots.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/swollen-lips