Swelling Symptoms

Overview

Swelling can occur on any part of the body and can result from a variety of causes. Your skin or organs may enlarge as a result of fluid gain. Swelling may occur as a physical response to an injury, poor circulation, or as an allergic reaction. Symptoms that accompany swelling include pain, sensations of heat, red discoloration, and itchiness. You may have trouble using the part of the body that is swollen. For example, a swollen finger might be difficult to move when typing or writing.

Swelling can occur for a variety of reasons and can vary in degree. For example, slight swelling can occur due to an allergy, and severe swelling can occur when you break a bone. Swelling will also look different depending on the affected body part. If you have a tumor, your swollen body part might be hard. If you have a sprain or injury, your swelling will likely be soft.

You might not be able to notice swelling if it is internal. A swollen organ might cause you pressure or discomfort. You can confirm whether your organs are swollen with an MRI.

Think of swelling as a symptom of an underlying cause. Sometimes, you can determine a condition based on the type of swelling that you are experiencing. For example, it is possible to distinguish an injury from an allergic reaction. If you have an injury, swelling could begin immediately or within a few minutes.

Your swelling might be minor, and you may not need to visit a doctor at all. In any case, you should monitor your symptoms closely. If you start vomiting or develop a fever, then you should consider going to a doctor. If your swelling does not improve within a few hours or within a day, you should consult a medical professional. If you suspect that you have a broken limb, you should see a doctor immediately. If you don't treat a broken bone immediately, you could end up with long term complications and deformities. Failing to treat a broken bone now could result in a need for orthopedic surgery down the road.

Treatment

If you become injured, the best way to treat your swelling is with ice. As soon as you see signs of swelling, you should place an ice pack on the affected area. Do not ice for too long, as you could cause further injury. Depending on the size and extent of your injury, you can ice anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes every couple of hours. Icing can also relieve pain.

If you have a swollen organ, you might need surgery or medication. Your doctor will develop a plan that works specifically with your needs.

If you are having an allergic reaction, you might experience some itchiness in the swollen area. You may have eaten something funny, or you may have a wound that has become infected. With these kinds of swelling, you might need injections, antibiotic pills, or antibiotic ointments. You can self-medicate an infected cut, but other infections require treatment or advice from a medical professional.

A broken bone will need two months to heal. These kinds of injuries might need orthopedic surgery and physical therapy.

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