Puffy lips are often the result of allergic reactions. These allergic reactions can lead to a condition that causes short-term swelling to occur beneath the surface of the skin, a condition known as angioedema. Puffy or swollen lips may also be caused by other conditions, such as an infection, injury, or certain hereditary conditions.
Lip swelling is one of the more typical symptoms of angioedema. It frequently develops when a person is having some form of an allergic reaction. Allergic reactions can occur as a result of certain foods, drugs, the environment or insect bites. When the body comes into contact with these allergens a chemical called histamines is released. The histamines cause the body to react in a way that can result in puffy lips.
Common food allergies include peanuts, dairy products and shellfish, although any type of food may potentially cause an allergic reaction. In addition to puffy lips, a person may also experience some itching around the mouth. When swelling of the lips occurs after taking medications, it can be a cause for concern. This is a sign that the person is having an allergic response to the drug that was taken and it can occur even if a person has previously taken the medication without any problems. If a person's lips begin to swell after taking medication he should contact a doctor.
Environmental allergies that may cause lip swelling are frequently the same allergens that cause hayfever and other allergic responses. In addition to sneezing, itchy eyes and runny noses, pollen and molds in the air may also cause puffy lips. Other environmental sources that can result in swelling of the lips include household dust and dander, or shed skin, from pets.
Hereditary angioedema is an immune disorder that results in swelling of the face, including the lips. Puffy lips from this condition can be triggered by an illness or certain medical procedures. A person with this condition should pay close attention to his breathing when he notices that his lips have become swollen. Difficulty breathing may be a result of the airways swelling and cutting off his air supply.
During the healing process following lip surgery, lips will often have a puffy appearance. This isn't uncommon and will eventual return to normal. A swollen lip may also indicate the presence of an infection, particularly if the area feels hot or looks inflamed. Injuries, such as being hit in the mouth or having a cut or pierced lip, may also cause the lip to swell.