It’s well known among those in the medical world that swelling lips can have a lot of different causes. There are a number of allergies that may result in swelling of the lips and other areas of the face. In addition, doctors have found that a few specific medical conditions also have lip swelling as a symptom or after-effect.

Some of the cases of swelling lips involve a reaction to something physical actually touching the lips. Other individuals have this experience when they eat certain foods and the allergy develops internally then shows itself in facial swelling or lip swelling. However, there is at least a slight connection between anxiety/panic attacks and lips either feeling numb or actually swelling, at least as reported by numerous individuals during discussions with other sufferers or with doctors.

Most of the information about swelling lips points to food allergies or contact allergies such as a reaction to some object that has actually touched the lips. Doctors do report that environmental conditions can cause lip swelling or a numb feeling, especially if the person is extremely sensitive to heat or to cold. In addition, medical reports show that stress might cause sores around the mouth area and the presence of the sores could lead to swelling or unusual sensitivity in the lips.

A feeling of numbness in the lips and face can certainly be one of the symptoms of panic attack. This often occurs with symptoms such as difficulty breathing, sweating, rapid heart rate and general tension. Some individuals report that stressful situations trigger anxiety and their lips start to feel numb. This occurs with dizziness and even some difficulty swallowing, as if the throat is constricted.

Other individuals who have similar symptoms find that exercise or physical labor can sometimes bring on an attack. These attacks are sometimes accompanied by swelling of the lips or numb lips.

Those who are familiar with panic attacks and severe anxiety know that low levels of blood sugar can trigger an episode. Many people mention dry mouth and other symptoms but don’t often report that their lips swell or get numb. However, the lips are a very sensitive part of the body. When lips swell it may be because the body is producing excess amounts of certain chemicals. Adrenaline production increases during anxiety and panic attacks. Histamines that exist to battle bacteria and foreign substances that invade the body may also be over-produced in some situations.

One woman who told her doctor about swelling lips was told that antihistamines would probably help because the condition was an allergic reaction. He was not able to connect swelling lips to extreme anxiety or panic. Doctors who have responded to questions from parents about lip swelling in children most often look at allergies involving food or some environmental factor such as dust, chemicals in toys or household objects etc. Judging from the reported experiences of several individuals the connection between panic attacks and swelling lips is tenuous at best.


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Lucas Beaumont
Generalist. Wikipedia contributor. Elementary school teacher from Saskatchewan, Canada.

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