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What are the Most Common Causes of Face Swelling?

Autumn Rivers
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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There are various reasons that face swelling may occur, and most of them require some sort of medical treatment to fix the issue. Some disorders can result in swelling of the face, such as sinusitis, kidney disease, and malnutrition, though an eye stye, conjunctivitis, and a tooth abscess can also contribute to facial swelling. This is also often a symptom of an allergic reaction, at which point it is typically accompanied by a rash, difficulty breathing, and even swelling inside the mouth. Finally, some drugs can cause face swelling, including commonly used medications like aspirin, penicillin, prednisone, and the substance inside asthma inhalers.

Some diseases can result in swelling in the face, even when it does not seem like the face should be affected by the medical condition at all. For example, kidney disease may cause this issue, as a malfunctioning kidney can fill the body with fluids, though this is usually also accompanied by swollen hands and feet. Malnutrition can also lead to body and face swelling, though it seems counterintuitive since most people assume the body should become thinner with starvation. Additionally, some smaller issues can affect the entire face, such as a tooth abscess, which can make the cheeks become inflamed and puffy. Both sinusitis and eye infections, such as a stye or conjunctivitis, can also cause the area around the eyes to become swollen, sometimes making the whole face look puffy.

Most allergic reactions are accompanied by swelling in the face, and some even cause the entire inside of the mouth to swell. These symptoms often also come with difficulty breathing due to the swollen mouth, a skin rash, and a fever. Some of the most common allergens include bees, pollen, and insect bites, and pet allergies. Hay fever, contact dermatitis, and allergic rhinitis can all cause facial swelling, making it important to avoid contact with the allergen in question and get medical treatment quickly.

Some people only find out that they are allergic to certain medications when their face swells up after taking the drugs. Some of the most common types of medication that can cause this reaction include steroids, penicillin, aspirin, and corticosteroids like prednisone. Additionally, asthma medication, anticonvulsants, certain diuretics, and glucosteroids can also cause facial swelling in those who are allergic to it. Fortunately, it is usually possible for doctors to treat this symptom so that the swelling goes down quickly, though it may lead to difficulty breathing or death if not treated quickly.

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.
Autumn Rivers
By Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for The Health Board, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
Discussion Comments
By anon953236 — On May 25, 2014

I randomly got a few lumps on my neck three days ago. My face swelled up the next day and today, my eyes, forehead and cheeks are swollen.

I have been to doctors and they have put me on 50mg of prednisone a day for four days then down to 25mg for four days, and regular antihistamines, but nothing has worked as yet. The only thing I have done different is I had my eyes tested the day the swelling started. Any info would be appreciated as I look kind of freakish.

By anon339688 — On Jun 25, 2013

I was in the hobilt for six days because of my face and it hasn't gone back to normal. Will it ever go back to normal?

By anon335003 — On May 17, 2013

I get tight swelling of my face around the mouth area every couple weeks or so. The timing is so intermittent. I thought at first it was an allergic reaction to blackberries, as I went through a phase where I could not get enough of them. So I quit eating them. Then a couple times it swelled in my sleep. Then, most recently, it swelled all of a sudden on the way home from work in the car for no apparent reason other than having heard stressful news from my son. So I thought stress related? But the overnight thing has me confused.

It takes a couple of days for the swelling to go down; there is no pain involved. Just a lot of swelling of the face with tightness but no pain. It is always on the right side of my face and close to my mouth.

I am having some teeth problems, but cannot afford a dentist, and my mother was a dental assistant for years - first for an oral surgeon, then for a general dentist, so I know that swelling caused by dental problems usually comes with pain.

I cannot afford a dentist; I just lost my job. The swelling has not happened since I lost my job two days ago, so the stress factor seems null and void. Any thoughts?

By anon162273 — On Mar 22, 2011

It's already been a week when I noticed that my face (left cheek) was starting to swell. Since I was taking medications (cefuroxime), I thought it was just the side effect. I'm a little bit scared, what do you think? Is this just because of the antibacterial capsules that I take?

Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for The Health Board, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
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