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Why do I have a swollen face

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

“Why is my face swollen?” , many people who notice a change in their face ask this question. A swollen face is a symptom that can indicate many pathologies, from an infection to an allergic reaction. The ingestion of medicines or some foods, as well as simple allergies (to dust, pollen or pets) are usually the most common causes. However, other times we can also find more complex underlying causes, such as hypothyroidism. In this FastlyHealarticle, we will explain the most likely causes of facial swelling.

Reasons why the face swells

The face swells when there is accumulated fluid (edema). An allergic reaction, infection, trauma, or an underlying disease is usually the cause of this swelling. Among the most frequent causes , we can find:

  • Allergic reactions (food, medicine, mites, pollen …)
  • Bad habits (alcohol, stress, poor diet)
  • Infections
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Superior vena cava syndrome
  • Other causes

Let’s now see how each of these diseases or conditions manifest themselves.

Swollen face from allergy

Allergic reactions can be triggered by food, animal dander, insect bites, pollen, or medications. The most common causes of allergic reactions are:

  • Food (eggs, milk, seafood, fish, nuts …).
  • Animal dander (cats and dogs).
  • Insect stings (bees, wasps).
  • Medications (aspirin, penicillin and others).

Among the most common allergic pathologies that cause facial swelling, we find rhinitis and angioedema.


The fever or allergic rhinitis hay occurs when allergy caused by dust, pollen or dander animals causes swelling and nasal discomfort. This inflammation can affect the sinuses, leading to a more extensive inflammation that occupies part of the face.

Avoid allergens and nasal washes with water and salt are highly recommended. Decongestants and antihistamines can help.


It is a more severe allergic reaction, normally, it occurs due to the taking of some medicine or food, or for other causes such as insect bites or exposure to the sun. Its symptoms are similar to hives , except that the angioedema occurs under the skin. The eyes and mouth appear especially swollen, sometimes even the throat. Sometimes there are hives and redness.

Swollen face from alcohol, stress, or excess fat

Bad habits such as alcohol consumption or a poor diet, in addition to daily stress and lack of rest, can also cause the face to swell.

Alcohol consumption

Drinking alcohol causes the body to become dehydrated, so the body tries to compensate by accumulating fluid in some areas, such as the face. Blood vessels also dilate, leading to this retention. A swollen face is often a symptom in people who abuse alcohol.


Poor quality sleep and lack of rest also cause an accumulation of fluids, especially in the eye area (bags and dark circles).

On the other hand, stress affects the body’s inflammatory response, overstimulating vital organs and blood vessels, leading to continued inflammation. In the following article, we show you helpful tips for reducing stress .


Obesity is an excess of fat in the body, so this fat also accumulates on the face. Obese people also have greater fluid retention, which also increases facial edema.

Infections that can cause facial swelling

The most common infections associated with facial swelling are usually sinusitis, cellulitis, and dental abscesses.


Sinusitis is infection and inflammation of the sinuses. This is due to fungi, viruses, or bacteria. Mucus collects in the cavities of the nose and under the eyes, causing pain and congestion. Sinusitis also leads to fever and facial sensitivity.

Infectious cellulitis

Infectious cellulitis is an infection caused by bacteria such as strep and staph. It affects the dermis (middle layer of the skin) and sometimes even reaches the muscle. Wounds, ulcers, stings, or circulation problems can be a risk. In addition to facial swelling, fever, malaise, fatigue, and pain also occur. The skin feels hot.

After 10 days of antibiotic treatment, symptoms usually disappear, although it can be complicated by other serious illnesses or a weakened immune system.

Dental abscess

Dental abscesses are infections caused by bacteria, which accumulate in the center of a tooth in the form of pus. It is usually due to tooth decay or trauma. The greater the inflammation (or more extensive), the more severe the infection.

Inflamed face from underlying diseases

Other times, a swollen face is a symptom of other more serious diseases, the most common are:


Hypothyroidism refers to a malfunction of the thyroid gland. In this case, the thyroid gland is underactive and does not produce enough hormones to control metabolism, leading to a number of symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Cold intolerance
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Dry Skin
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Fertility problems
  • Facial swelling

Typically, the first symptoms of hypothyroidism tend to go unnoticed or are not related to it, such as tiredness, depression or weight gain. The swollen face, together with jaundice, are the last symptoms to appear, the eyelids and eyes also being swollen and droopy being very characteristic.

Superior vena cava syndrome

The vena cava is the main vein in the body and runs through the head, neck, chest, and arms until it reaches the heart. In this syndrome, the vena cava appears partially obstructed.

The most common cause is usually bronchogenic cancer. Tumors compress the vein, preventing blood flow from circulating normally. Leukemia and superior vena cava thrombosis can also be the cause. The symptoms are:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Tos
  • Facial edema (or swelling)
  • Edema in the arm

Other causes of having a puffy face

Other possible causes of facial swelling are:


Trauma is a very common cause of a swollen face. The blows, wounds and burns cause inflammation. Surgery of the nose or jaw can also lead to widespread swelling of the entire face.

Keeping your head elevated, cold compresses, and pain relievers can help reduce discomfort.

Reaction to blood transfusion

The heme Olisis happens when our immune system rejects the red blood cells that are received from a blood transfusion. The patient’s blood group is not compatible with the received blood group. A red and swollen face, along with dizziness, fever and back or side pain are the most common symptoms.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Why do I have a swollen face , we recommend that you enter our Skin, hair and nails category .

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