We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Are the Causes of Unexplained Swelling?

By Meshell Powell
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A troubling symptom with many potential causes, unexplained swelling can be caused by an allergic reaction to foods, medications, or environmental substances, especially when the swelling involves the face, lips, and throat. Medical conditions affecting the heart, kidneys, or liver can sometimes cause swelling in various areas of the body. Autoimmune diseases such as lupus or arthritis may cause unexplained swelling of the joints.

Any unexplained swelling involving the face, lips, or tongue should be reported to a doctor immediately, especially if these symptoms are accompanied by a rash or difficulty breathing. This combination of symptoms may indicate a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. Emergency medical care is necessary in cases of anaphylaxis, as a lack of oxygen to the brain and other internal organs can cause death within a matter of minutes.

Liver or kidney disease can cause unexplained swelling throughout the body, particularly in the hands, feet, and abdomen. Certain cardiac conditions, such as congestive heart failure, may also involve this symptom. Blood tests and other diagnostic testing methods, including x-rays or ultrasound, may be needed in order to properly diagnose these conditions.

Arthritis is often the cause of unexplained swelling involving the joints. Other symptoms may include pain and difficulty moving the affected joints. Over-the-counter or prescription medications may be used to help control these symptoms. Autoimmune diseases such as lupus may lead to swelling of the joints as well as other parts of the body. In some cases, swelling may be caused by a physical injury, sunburn, or poor nutritional habits.

Lymph node infections or certain forms of cancer may cause swelling in the neck, armpits, or groin. Prescription antibiotics are generally effective at treating infections. If cancer is suspected, a variety of medical tests may be needed in order to accurately diagnose the cause of the swelling.

Thyroid disease, the use of certain medications, or standing for prolonged periods of time may sometimes lead to the development of unexplained swelling. This symptom can also be caused by having too much sodium in the diet. Although swelling does not usually indicate the presence of a serious illness, it is important to always report any unusual symptoms to a doctor so that an accurate diagnosis can be obtained and proper medical treatment can begin.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Rundocuri — On Jan 27, 2014

Unexplained swelling of any type requires a trip to the doctor. There are too many causes, some that can be quite serious, to make a diagnosis yourself if you are experiencing any form of swelling with no explanation.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.