Swollen Face in the Morning: Causes and Treatments

Waking up with a swollen face in the morning can ruin your plans for the day. You may have an important meeting ahead but you cannot go looking like a puffer fish. Exactly what causes this problem? Why do you have facial swelling in the morning? The truth is that it can indicate underlying medical conditions, especially if you have other problematic symptoms as well. It may not be that serious if it happens occasionally, but you may still consider talking to your doctor about your condition. Let's find out more about some common causes of facial puffiness.

Possible Causes of Swollen Face in the Morning

It usually happens due to edema, a condition in which fluids accumulate in the muscles and tissues. However, many other factors contribute to this problem. Here are some of the conditions.

1. Allergic Reaction

It could be due to an allergic reaction you develop when you are exposed to certain substances such as dust or pollen. Some people are also allergic to animal dander, dust mites, cockroach droppings, bee stings, mold spores, and certain chemicals. Some people develop an allergic reaction with facial swelling after consuming certain foods such as milk or eggs. Skin allergies such as contact dermatitis and eczema may also contribute to facial swelling in the morning. You may also have other allergy symptoms such as itching, sneezing, runny nose, diarrhea, breathing problems, and skin rashes.

2. Anaphylaxis

Also called allergic shock, anaphylaxis refers to the most severe form of allergy that could be fatal. You may require immediate medical attention after you develop an allergic reaction to a particular allergen, such as shellfish, nuts, bee stings, etc. Some people develop anaphylactic reaction after taking penicillin and aspirin. The most common symptoms of anaphylaxis include stomachache, wheezing, shortness of breath, slurred speck, itchy skin, anxiety, confusion, coughing, and facial swelling.

3. Sinusitis

You develop sinusitis when the air-filled spaces within the bones around your nose become infected. The lining of the mucus membranes of the sinus becomes inflamed due to this type of bacterial infection. This leads to pain around the cheekbones and eyes with some facial swelling. You will also develop upper respiratory infection and headache when you have acute sinusitis.

4. Cellulitis

This bacterial infection of the skin can be the reason of your swollen face in the morning. You may have other symptoms as well, such as warmth, redness, and tenderness in the face. A dental abscess may lead to the development of such type of skin infection. You may have swelling and redness around your eyes if you develop a bacterial infection on the tissue around your eyes.

5. Conjunctivitis

You develop conjunctivitis when the membrane lining of the eyelids becomes infected or inflamed. It is usually a viral infection but you can also develop a bacterial, fungal or parasitic infection due to allergies, contact lenses, and exposure to certain chemicals. Redness, itching, and pain in the eyes with facial puffiness and blurred vision are some common symptoms of conjunctivitis.

6. Angioedema

It refers to severe swelling under the skin, especially of the limbs and on the face. You may also notice rashes appear with other symptoms such as swelling of the lips, difficulty breathing, and stomach cramps. You may develop this condition due to other autoimmune disorders or illnesses.

7. Thyroid Problems

The thyroid gland produces thyroid hormone that is essential for metabolism. It may be underactive (hypothyroidism) or overactive (hyperthyroidism). Both disorders can cause facial swelling and other symptoms. You may experience facial puffiness with swelling in the feet as well as fatigue, weight gain, thinning of hair, joint pain, and heavy menstrual periods. The most common symptoms of hyperthyroidism are rapid heartbeat, muscle weakness, mood swings, irregular heartbeat, sleeping problems, and weight loss.

8. Cushing's Syndrome

You may develop swollen face in the morning if your body starts producing high levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Long-term use of corticosteroid drugs is a common cause of Cushing's syndrome, but you may also develop it due to a pituitary gland tumor or an adrenal tumor. Upper body obesity and facial puffiness are the most common symptoms of this disorder.

9. Mumps

This contagious viral infection leads to swelling on the sides of the neck right below your ear lobe. You may also have pain and swelling in the salivary glands that cause puffiness in the cheeks. Fever, fatigue, and loss of appetite are other common symptoms of mumps.

10. Unhealthy Lifestyle

Certain lifestyle factors can make you have a swollen face. Some common factors include smoking, excessive alcohol intake, obesity, and hypertension. Lack of vital elements, vitamins, and minerals may also lead to swollen face. 

11. Other Causes

Other causes of facial puffiness could include physical injury, surgery, insect bites, side effects of medication, and tooth infections. Any change in hormones during menstruation or pregnancy may lead to excessive fluid retention that may well be the reason behind your swollen face.

When to See a Doctor

You should see your doctor if you have painful or severe facial swelling that develops suddenly. Similarly, you should call your doctor if your facial swelling does not go away and becomes worse over time. You should seek immediate medical attention if you have other symptoms of infections such as difficulty breathing, tenderness, fever and redness.

How to Deal with Swollen Face in the Morning

1. Cool Your Face

Avoid the warm shower in the morning and instead wash your face using cool or tepid water. You may also consider trying a cooled face mask for 15 minutes. Using cooled tea bag or refrigerated cucumbers may also help. Alternatively, you can simply place a cool refrigerated towel over your swollen face for 10 minutes to reduce swelling.

2. Change Your Pillow

Get a new pillow that helps keep your head elevated. You may consider elevating the head of your bed to limit gravity's effects. Do not opt for very high pillows or your may have to deal with insomnia, neck-pain, or breathing difficulties.

3. Make Lifestyle Changes

Be active and do exercise regularly. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to avoid dehydration. A glass of water before you sleep will help prevent water retention. You should also limit your salt intake because it promotes water retention and aggravates your symptoms of edema. Limit your alcohol intake as well to prevent facial puffiness.

4. Remove Makeup

Sleeping without removing your eye makeup can irritate your eyes and cause puffiness. Be sure to wipe it away using makeup remover before you go to sleep. Use cold water to rinse your face and pat dry.

5. Take Medications

You may consider taking antiviral or antibiotics medications depending on what causes facial puffiness in the first place. Your doctor may give you steroids if your puffiness is due to anaphylaxis, allergic reaction, or insect bite. 

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