Why is my lip swelling up?
April 23, 2009 5:58 AM   Subscribe

Any ideas why my bottom lip is swelling up?

Half of my bottom lip is very swollen (and has gotten much more so overnight) it started swelling yesterday evening.

I'd previously given a small spot below the lip a squeeze and given it a quick blast of this thing but after using it (around 7pm) the level of swelling, it was already a bit swollen, seemed to increase and has continued to swell overnight :(

I've emailed the doc for an appt today, but they don't even open for another three hours so figured I'd throw it out there for all you wannabe Dr Houses :)
posted by zeoslap to Health & Fitness (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Bug bite?
posted by amro at 6:14 AM on April 23, 2009

I think we need pictures.
posted by jrishel at 6:17 AM on April 23, 2009

I don't think I've been bitten by anything...

Could an ingrown hair do it? I did have a bit of stubble when I was doing the old squeeze.
posted by zeoslap at 6:18 AM on April 23, 2009

Can you take a Benedryl in the meantime? I've had allergic reactions (to lotions, random other stuff) which showed up in the form of swollen lips.

If your tongue and throat feet tight, get thee to a doctor post haste.
posted by theraflu at 6:18 AM on April 23, 2009

The tongue on the side of the swelling does feel a bit tight, and I do have a bit of a sore throat... and trust me as soon as the doc opens (I'm on the West Coast so it's early here) I'll be there.
posted by zeoslap at 6:22 AM on April 23, 2009

Ok, this is so out there that I'm sure you'd have mentioned it, but you haven't done MDMA lately, right? Any amphetamines? You tend not to notice how much you're chewing/sucking/jaw-clenching while you're on it, but commonly wake up the next day looking like someone punched Angelina Jolie in the mouth.

Obviously, an allergy is more likely. Check the ingredients in that skin healing remedy for anything ending in "paraben," or other chemical preservatives listed in this link.

"In patients who have preservative sensitivity, the lips and mouth may be the primary sites of involvement. Ingredients common in lipsticks or lip balms may affect preservative-sensitive patients. Foodstuffs should also be considered, including flavorings and oral hygiene products, because they often contain preservatives.

Contact allergy can play a role in the genesis of a sore mouth. Patch testing may therefore be helpful. Bright erythema of the gums and tongue should be evident on physical examination of the patient, as would a loss of papillae in the tongue. However, some patients with contact allergy will present with a normal-appearing oral mucosa."

posted by Juliet Banana at 6:39 AM on April 23, 2009

I have minor idiopathic chronic hives and I've had comically big ones on one side of my lower lip just like this. I bet it's a hive, which for someone with no history of those presumably means an allergic reaction. Which, of course, are usually minor but also range into the fatal. You should take a picture in case it goes away; they can go pretty fast.
posted by abcde at 6:41 AM on April 23, 2009

No MDMA, and I'll check out the hives diagnosis.
posted by zeoslap at 6:50 AM on April 23, 2009

Sometimes my lip gets swollen in one place before I get a cold sore there.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:26 AM on April 23, 2009

Something similar to this happened to my boyfriend a few years ago. We ended up in the emergency room at 2 in the morning as his tongue began swelling as well. He was shot full of Benadryl, Prednisone and diagnosed with Angiodema. They were never able to figure out what caused the reaction, but he was given and Epi Pen and sent on his way.

Is the area itchy at all?
posted by Constant Reader at 7:29 AM on April 23, 2009

This happened to me once, and it was directly associated with a huge, tormented pimple. Urgent Care gave me a shot that took care of the swelling and consequently, the pimple too. I don't remember what the shot was, but it worked in less than an hour.
posted by Coatlicue at 7:49 AM on April 23, 2009

I get hives on my lips if I eat cherries or plums.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:32 AM on April 23, 2009

This used to happen to my mother, and despite her being a nurse and my dad being a doctor, no medical professional could ever figure it out beyond "allergic reaction." The solution was to take a zyrtec or claritin every day, which a lot of people do for seasonal allergies anyway.
posted by awesomebrad at 9:35 AM on April 23, 2009

Did you eat any mango last night? If I eat any part of the mango that touches the skin, or touch the skin and then touch my mouth, I end up looking like my lips got stung by bees. And NOT in a sexy Angelina Jolie way, let me assure you.
posted by peep at 9:37 AM on April 23, 2009

Nthing the sting of fruit. I get this when I eat cherries.
posted by notjustfoxybrown at 10:23 AM on April 23, 2009

I'm not a doctor but I love House. So here are my (semi/un)educated guesses:

It sounds like localized inflamation as your immune system fights off
bacteria (zits or sore throat),
a virus (cold sore)
or an allergen (something else like mango).

If you have trouble breathing, go to the emergency room. Otherwise, you doctor can take a look at it. And don't pick at your face!
posted by ladypants at 10:49 AM on April 23, 2009

Oh, and if you get a chance, please let us know that you're okay, and let us know what the doctor says.
posted by ladypants at 12:01 PM on April 23, 2009

Might be angioedema, which is basically the same thing as hives. It's also called urticaria. The likely culprits in angioedema are food allergy, anti-inflammatory pain relievers (aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, but not acetaminophen), and a group of blood pressure medications called ACE inhibitors (whose chemical names end in -pril). Benadryl is the treatment.
posted by neuron at 12:51 PM on April 23, 2009

It's a hive, i.e. angiodema. I have heavily controlled severe chronic idopathic urticaria. Get thee to an emergency room. Once your at the point your lips are swelling, Benadryl and Claritin don't do squat. Especially get there if you have a metallic taste around the area.
posted by medea42 at 4:18 PM on April 23, 2009

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