What are the Most Common Causes of Head Swelling?

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  • Written By: Brandon May
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 16 March 2019
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The different causes of head swelling may stem from a brain injury or infection, or may just stem from a swollen neck. It is usually a cause of concern and needs to be addressed by a doctor, as blood vessels in the brain may be contributing to a lack of blood flow. Often, a condition called goose egg can be caused by a blow to the head, resulting in the veins of the scalp to leak blood and fluid, causing swelling. Most head swelling symptoms are caused by injury, and proper medical attention should be taken immediately to avoid serious and permanent damage.

General head swelling may be the result of edema, or fluid retention in the neck and head areas. Even this seemingly benign form of head swelling needs to be taken seriously in case of escalated swelling later on. There are times when the lymph nodes of the brain can swell in response to infection, which will cause swelling in the head. Another type of infection that can cause head swelling is a general skin infection, and this is usually treated with antibiotics that will in turn reduce swelling. An allergic reaction to a sting of an insect or to a certain food can induce swelling of the head and other body areas.


A condition called goose egg is the result of an injury to the top of the head, and it causes blood and fluid to secrete from the scalp. This can result in head swelling and is a serious condition that should be treated under the appropriate medical settings. When an injury occurs, blood vessels in the brain may not function properly, leading to improper blood flow in the brain. Lack of blood flow in the brain can swell the brain and the top of the head.

Immediate and prompt medical attention should be sought at any sign of swelling in the head, even if no pain occurs. Pain may not even occur because of numbness in the afflicted areas, making it important to seek medical attention immediately. Applying ice to the head is the first step to help reduce swelling before professional medical action is taken. Sometimes a doctor will keep an injured person in a hospital to help reduce swelling further, as well as to analyze the healing progress of the brain and underlying tissues.


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Post 5

I have hit my heads several times, but not recently. Recently I hit it three months ago. Now there are swellings in two areas on the top of my scalp and it has hurt only when I touch for five days and is causing slight discomfort.

I don't know why it happened. My doctor said it is just a blood clot and advised me to apply ointment (Thrombophob). Do I need to worry? Will it affect my brain? Apart from the pain and swelling, I have no other symptoms.

Post 4

I have a pain in my head on the back side though. It hurts when I move my hair with my fingers. It's a really bad pain and the back portion of my head is swollen. Is it something to worry about?

Post 3

@ddljohn-- Could you be allergic to something?

I'm allergic to hair dye. I dyed my hair once and within a few hours, I developed pain in the back of the head and swelling.

Post 2

@ddljohn-- You need to go to the hospital because sudden head swelling can be a sign of a stroke. It's always good to be on the safe side. You should get some routine tests to make sure that you don't have any blocked arteries.

Even a small clot in the brain can be detrimental. Brain can also be damaged from the swelling because of the pressure. The earlier any issues are diagnosed, the better the chances of treatment.

Post 1

What would cause head swelling to occur during sleep?

I woke up this morning and notice swelling on the left side of my face and head. I haven't injured myself, so head trauma is out of the question. I was absolutely fine when I went to bed last night.

I will go to the hospital if I need to but I'm avoiding it for now considering that it's Easter and I'm expecting guests.

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