Facial swelling: Causes, diagnosis, and Treatment
- Facial edema, also commonly known as facial swelling, happens when facial tissues get inflamed due to an allergic reaction, bacterial infection, bruise, injury, or trauma.
- Depending on the underlying cause, facial swelling can be accompanied by other symptoms as well. The most common symptoms that occur alongside facial swelling are pain, difficulty in chewing or swallowing, fatigue, puffy eyes, and headache.
- Facial swelling causes can range from mild medical conditions like sinusitis to more serious conditions like anaphylactic shock. It is important to seek immediate medical care if you experience sudden and persistent facial swelling.
- Diagnosis for swelling on one side of face often includes a thorough physical examination, understanding clinical history by asking questions, blood tests, and allergy tests, if required.
- A general physician can suggest an appropriate facial swelling treatment plan based on the severity of the underlying cause.
1. Understanding facial swelling
Facial swelling or facial edema occurs due to fluid buildup or inflammation in the facial tissues. Occasionally, you may experience a swollen face in the morning because of added pressure on your face while sleeping, or dietary and lifestyle factors. Depending on the facial swelling cause, it may last for a short time or a long time. While short-term facial swelling may not be a significant cause for concern, it is advisable to consult a general physician as it might be due to a sudden allergic reaction. If the facial swelling persists and does not go away on its own, consult a general physician immediately to identify the underlying causes for a swollen face.
Symptoms that accompany facial swelling:
Depending on the underlying medical condition, facial swelling can be accompanied by other symptoms as well. For instance, puffy cheeks and eyelids can indicate sinusitis.
Common symptoms that occur along with facial swelling include:
Facial swelling symptoms that may indicate a serious underlying condition include:
It’s understandable to be alarmed when you experience sudden facial swelling. Try not to worry as a puffy face is treatable once you identify the underlying cause through an accurate diagnostic evaluation.
In any case, it is vital to seek out proper medical care for facial edema. Consulting a general physician can help you identify the facial swelling reasons. In addition to this, a regular full-body health checkup once a year can help you know more about the state of your health and the areas that require improvement. You can have an instant consultation with a doctor on MFine, or you can avail of a comprehensive health check-up package or a specific condition-based health package depending on your lifestyle factors, dietary factors, age, and existing medical conditions.
2. What causes facial swelling?
As previously mentioned, facial swelling can occur due to a build-up of fluid, inflammation, infection of facial tissues, or injury. Facial swelling causes can range from mild medical conditions like sinusitis to more serious conditions like anaphylactic shock. However, it is important to seek immediate medical care if you experience sudden and persistent facial swelling. Causes for a swollen face include:
1. Allergic causes
Facial edema can be caused by mild-to-serious allergic reactions. They include:
In some cases, our bodies can be allergic to the ingredients of certain medications. A drug allergy is an unwanted/ abnormal reaction of the immune system to a medicine. If you experience a drug allergy, stop the dosage, and consult a general physician immediately.
Mosquitoes, fleas, bees, and certain flies can cause an itchy lump or swelling on one side of face. While it is not a significant cause for concern, few insect bites may induce a severe allergic reaction.
Hay fever, also referred to as allergic rhinitis, is caused by allergens like dust, pollen, and cosmetics. It causes common cold-like symptoms, such as red eyes, sneezing, and runny nose.
Anaphylaxis is a more serious allergic reaction where the body goes into a state of shock as your immune system overreacts to an allergen, thus inducing severe allergy symptoms. If you or someone you know experiences facial swelling accompanied by a weak pulse, persistent nausea, and vomiting, visit your nearest clinic or hospital right away.
One of the puffy eyes causes is conjunctivitis or pink eye, which is the infection of the membrane (conjunctiva) that lines your eyelids. Along with red, watery eyes, it also causes facial swelling or facial edema.
2. Infectious causes
A swollen face on one side can also be caused by several infections. They include:
Cellulitis is a bacterial/ fungal infection that can induce facial swelling, redness, and cause the affected skin warm to the touch. Cellulitis is considered a medical emergency and should be treated right away.
Sinus infection is the inflammation of the cavities that secrete mucus to assist the functioning of your nasal passage. Most often, it is caused by viruses, bacteria, allergens, or it can also be an auto-immune reaction. Due to the nasal blockage, sinus infections can cause swelling on one side of face near the cheeks and nose.
A tooth abscess is the formation of pus in a tooth caused by a bacterial infection. If left untreated, it can spread to the rest of the mouth, thus inducing facial edema. For instance, if your right molar has a pocket filled with pus, you may experience swelling on right side of face, along with other symptoms like pain and bad breath.
Mumps is an infectious viral disease that affects the salivary glands near your ears. This can cause painful facial swelling or facial edema in one or both the glands. Some of the common symptoms include fever, headache, pain, and swelling.
Stye refers to the inflammation of a person’s eyelids due to a bacterial infection. It is caused by Staphylococcus bacteria that creates a sac of pus around the eyelids. If left untreated, the swelling can radiate towards other parts of your face. While it is not a significant cause for concern, consulting a general practitioner can give you accurate information on how to treat stye effectively.
3. Traumatic causes
One of the facial swelling causes can also be due to a recent injury or trauma.
If you have had recent surgery on your face, it can take a while to completely heal and recover. Generally, it may take 5 to 7 days for facial swelling to heal, and 10 to 14 days for the bruises to fade away. However, this may vary based on the type of facial surgery you have had. If you experience persistent swelling on one side of face, consult a general physician to understand the underlying cause of the same.
A burn on the face can cause severe distress, pain, and facial swelling. It is imperative to keep your face clean using mild soap and water. Consulting a general doctor in the early stages of burns can increase the chances of proper healing.
In a nutshell, it is crucial to understand face swelling reasons to effectively treat it. Managing short-term facial swelling caused by mild conditions can be easily done at home. However, if you experience persistent facial edema, along with other severe symptoms like weak pulse and severe pain, this may indicate an underlying infection. It is advisable to consult a general physician to get a complete diagnosis of your pain to effectively relieve it.
3. How is facial swelling diagnosed?
It’s understandable to be alarmed when you experience sudden facial swelling. Try not to worry as a puffy face is treatable once you identify the symptoms and causes. A general doctor can examine the facial swelling and provide you with a complete diagnosis of the same.
Firstly, the general doctor will understand your symptoms by asking questions about your clinical history. You can help the doctor in accurately finding the facial swelling causes by answering the following questions:
- Where does the facial swelling occur?
- When did the facial swelling start? Is it intermittent or constant?
- Are you experiencing other symptoms like pain, fatigue, or difficulty breathing?
- Did you eat a new food product, or start using new medications before the swelling?
- Describe your current medical conditions, prescription, surgeries, treatment, and family medical history.
Once the doctor collects the required information, they may recommend you to perform other tests, such as an allergy test, or a blood test to check for allergens. Depending on the medical condition, the doctor will either suggest appropriate treatment options to reduce face swelling, or they may direct you to a specialized medical expert for further diagnosis.
4. How to reduce face swelling?
If you are wondering how to reduce face swelling, it can be done by receiving an accurate diagnosis. Once you receive the diagnosis, the doctor will recommend facial swelling treatment options accordingly.
Treatment of cause
As previously mentioned, facial edema or swelling on one side of face can be caused by allergic reactions, bacterial or fungal infections, injury, and more. If your medical condition requires specialized medical care, the general doctor will direct you to a medical specialist who can provide you with a facial swelling treatment plan that suits your medical condition.
Facial swelling treatment for allergic reactions
Facial swelling caused by mild allergies can be treated by consuming antihistamine drugs, or by using a cold compress to reduce inflammation. However, refrain from self-medicating and be sure to get medicines for face swelling as prescribed by a general doctor only.
Treatment to reduce face swelling due to infections
If you have been diagnosed with a bacterial/ fungal infection causing facial edema, you may be prescribed antibiotics or other medications that can effectively treat the infected area on your face.
How to reduce face swelling caused by burn, bruise, or an injury?
Facial swelling treatments for an injury or bruise include using an ice pack on the affected area a few times a day. It is also recommended that you keep your head elevated while you sleep. Depending on the severity of the injury and degree of pain, the general doctor may prescribe medications to relieve your pain.
How to reduce face swelling due to surgery?
Depending on the type of facial surgery, the doctor will recommend certain practices and guidelines to reduce face swelling post-surgery. Generally, it is advisable to apply a cold compress 15-20 minutes at a time throughout the day. While sleeping, it is also important to keep your head slightly elevated to prevent further facial swelling.
Treatment for swollen face in the mornings
Waking up to a puffy face in the morning is not uncommon. This type of facial swelling can occur due to excessive salt intake, dehydration, stress, hormonal changes, quality of sleep, or even the position of your head while sleeping! To effectively treat swollen face in the mornings, consider incorporating the following home remedies for face swelling tips:
- Wash your face with cold water every night to reduce inflammation
- Use an ice pack, simply rub an ice cube on the face to reduce facial swelling
- Cut back on processed foods and salty foods before going to sleep, and in general to maintain overall health
- Mobiles phones and TVs emit blue light that can interfere with your quality of sleep; thus, causing swollen face in the mornings. It is a good practice to cut down on screen time before going to bed.
- Drink plenty of water throughout the day. (3-4 litres per day)
- Place cold cucumber slices on your eyes to reduce under-eye swelling.
However, it is advisable to consult a general physician to understand if your facial swelling is linked to dietary and lifestyle factors, or an underlying medical condition.
5. Consulting a doctor for facial swelling or facial edema
Facial edema or swelling on one side of face can be effectively managed and treated. The correct diagnosis is the key to receiving appropriate facial swelling treatment. Based on your medical condition, you will either be:
- Prescribed appropriate medicines for face swelling
- Recommended a treatment plan that caters to treating the underlying cause, or
- Advised to take suitable home remedies for face swelling for mild/ temporary conditions
A general physician can best diagnose facial swelling or facial edema and suggest the way forward based on the severity of your condition alongside your body type, dietary factors, and other lifestyle factors. If the underlying facial swelling cause requires specialized treatment, the general physician will direct you to the appropriate medical expert.
If you are experiencing severe facial swelling, you must see a general physician right away. At MFine, we enable the patients to live a healthier life with modern medical services. We ensure that the best facial swelling treatment programs are made available to our patients for every stage of the condition. Get in touch with our team of highly-qualified doctors and healthcare professionals for any medical advice or assistance. We, at MFine, provide you with a holistic healthcare treatment program as per your bodily needs and requirements. You can also check our MFine app for a list of the best general physicians in your city with whom you can chat or video call to get answers for your medical queries!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is my face swollen on one side?
Swelling on one side of face is quite common; it can occur due to various underlying causes, such as bacterial/ fungal infection, tooth abscess, drug allergy, insect bite allergy, injury, surgery, or a bruise. It is important to identify facial swelling causes to treat it effectively. Consult a general physician to understand the exact causes of a swollen face.
Can stress cause facial swelling?
If your adrenal glands produce too much cortisol (stress hormone), it can cause puffy face or facial swelling. It is vital to manage your stress levels to lead a healthy life. If you are finding it difficult to alleviate stress on your own, consult a psychiatrist to receive appropriate medical advice and assistance.
How to prevent facial swelling?
You can prevent facial swelling by understanding the exact cause behind it. For instance, if swollen face on one side occurs due to an allergic reaction, identify the allergens and make sure you stay away from them in your daily life. If your facial swelling is due to an injury or bruise, apply a cold compress on the affected area to relieve pain and inflammation. Likewise, the prevention of facial edema depends on the underlying medical condition. A general physician can best diagnose facial swelling causes.
How do I book an appointment with a general physician online?
To schedule an instant medical appointment, download the MFine app, search for a general physician online, and enter your contact details. After doing so, you can consult with a top general physician online from the comfort of your home. You can discuss your health concerns comfortably as MFine takes your privacy very seriously. With a safe and secure platform, we ensure that the discussions between you and your doctor strictly remain confidential.