Feeling Unwell After Lip Fillers: Managing Discomfort

Medically Reviewed
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Aurora Kalmanson on
Written by Fillers Editorial Team, plastic surgery specialists.

Experiencing discomfort after lip filler injections is not uncommon, with symptoms ranging from a sensation of something foreign in the lips to swelling, redness, and tenderness. While these immediate reactions are typically mild and temporary, lasting a few hours to a few days, they can be unsettling.

It’s important to differentiate between normal post-procedure sensations and more serious side effects. If symptoms like persistent puffiness, asymmetric fullness, or signs of infection occur, it’s crucial to seek medical attention. This article provides an overview of what to expect after lip fillers, how to identify abnormal reactions, and when to consult a healthcare professional.

Common Side Effects After Lip Filler Injections

Lip fillers are generally safe, but they can cause a range of side effects. Most of these are mild and disappear quickly, but it’s essential to be aware of what’s normal and what might warrant further attention.

Expected Physical Sensations Post-Injection

Foreign Body Feeling in the Lips: After receiving lip fillers, it’s normal to feel as though there’s something inside your lips. This sensation is due to the presence of the filler material, which your body is not yet accustomed to. Initially, this foreign body feeling can be quite noticeable, but it typically diminishes as your lips adjust to the filler. Over time, the sensation should fade, and the lips will feel more natural as they integrate the filler. If this feeling persists or is accompanied by other symptoms such as severe swelling or pain, it’s important to consult with your healthcare provider to ensure that there isn’t a more serious issue at play.

Typical Immediate Reactions

Swelling and Redness: Swelling and redness are among the most common reactions following lip filler injections. These symptoms are part of the body’s natural response to the treatment and usually subside within a few hours to days. The degree of swelling can vary from person to person, but applying a cold compress can help reduce it. Redness should also diminish as the swelling goes down. If either symptom persists beyond a few days or worsens, it may indicate an abnormal reaction, and you should contact your healthcare provider.

Bruising and Tenderness: Bruising and tenderness at the injection sites are also typical side effects of lip fillers. The bruising can range from mild to significant, depending on factors such as the injection technique and individual susceptibility to bruising. Tenderness is usually most pronounced in the first few days after the procedure and should gradually improve. To minimize bruising, it’s advisable to avoid blood-thinning medications and supplements before the treatment, unless medically necessary. If bruising or tenderness persists or is particularly bothersome, medical advice should be sought to rule out complications.

Slight Bleeding at Injection Sites: Minor bleeding at the sites of injection is a common occurrence immediately following lip filler procedures. This slight bleeding is typically short-lived and can be easily managed with gentle pressure using a sterile gauze pad. It’s important for patients to avoid rubbing or touching the treated area excessively to prevent further bleeding or irritation. If bleeding persists or if you notice significant oozing, it’s advisable to contact your healthcare provider. In most cases, however, this bleeding is a minor side effect and should go away shortly after the procedure.

Discomfort and Bumpiness: It’s not unusual to experience a certain level of discomfort and bumpiness in the lips after filler injections. The discomfort is generally mild and can be alleviated with over-the-counter pain relievers, as recommended by your healthcare provider. Bumpiness, on the other hand, may be felt as small, uneven areas within the lips where the filler has been placed. This is often due to the filler settling and should smooth out over time as the product integrates with the lip tissue. Gentle massage, as directed by your practitioner, can help to evenly distribute the filler. However, if the bumpiness persists or is accompanied by pain, it’s important to seek medical advice to ensure proper healing.

Symptoms of Concern After Lip Fillers

Persistent Puffiness Beyond 24 Hours: A certain degree of puffiness after lip filler injections is normal, but this should typically subside within the first 24 hours. If you notice that the puffiness remains or worsens after this period, it could be a sign of an abnormal response to the filler. Persistent puffiness may be due to various factors, including an inflammatory reaction or fluid retention at the injection site. Monitoring the progression of swelling is important, and if it does not decrease or if it’s accompanied by pain or discoloration, medical consultation is advised to rule out more serious complications.

Asymmetric Fullness and Uneven Results: While some asymmetry is possible immediately following lip filler injections due to swelling, this should even out as the filler settles and the swelling diminishes. If you notice that the fullness of your lips remains uneven after the initial swelling has gone down, or if one side appears significantly different from the other, this could indicate improper placement of the filler or uneven distribution. It’s important to follow up with your injector for an assessment, as they may need to correct the asymmetry to achieve the desired aesthetic outcome.

When to Seek Medical Attention

Knowing when to seek medical attention after lip filler injections is crucial for ensuring your health and safety, especially if you experience persistent or worsening symptoms.

Persistent and Worsening Symptoms

Prolonged Puffiness and Swelling: While some swelling is expected after lip filler injections, prolonged puffiness that lasts beyond the typical recovery period is a concern. If swelling persists for more than a week without signs of improvement, or if it begins to worsen, it’s time to seek medical advice. Persistent swelling could be a sign of an allergic reaction, an infection, or an issue with the placement of the filler. A healthcare professional can provide an accurate diagnosis and recommend appropriate treatment options.

Asymmetric Fullness and Uneven Results: Asymmetry immediately after lip filler injections can be due to normal swelling, but if the fullness remains uneven after the initial healing phase, this may require medical attention. Asymmetric results can occur due to uneven distribution of the filler or the body’s uneven response to the product. If you’re concerned about the symmetry of your lips after the swelling has subsided, consult with your injector or a medical professional to discuss potential corrective measures.

Signs of Infection: Infections following lip filler injections, while rare, can lead to serious complications if not treated promptly. Signs of infection include increasing pain, redness that spreads beyond the injection site, warmth, fever, or pus. If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention. Early intervention with antibiotics or other treatments can prevent the infection from worsening and help ensure a safe recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it normal to feel sick after getting lip fillers?

It's uncommon to feel sick after lip fillers. If you experience nausea or flu-like symptoms, it's likely coincidental, but consult a healthcare provider if symptoms persist.

How long should I wait for swelling to go down after lip fillers before seeking help?

Swelling typically subsides within a few days. If it persists beyond a week or worsens, seek medical advice.

Can lip fillers cause flu-like symptoms?

Flu-like symptoms are generally not related to lip fillers. If you experience such symptoms, they are likely due to another cause.

What should I do if I experience unusual discomfort after lip fillers?

If discomfort is severe or persists, contact your healthcare provider for an assessment.

Are there any known allergies associated with lip fillers?

Allergic reactions to lip fillers are rare but can occur. Ingredients like hyaluronic acid and lidocaine are potential allergens.

Are late-onset inflammatory responses common with lip fillers?

Late-onset inflammatory responses to lip fillers are rare but can occur weeks to months after the procedure.

How can I tell if my body is reacting negatively to lip fillers?

Signs of a negative reaction include prolonged swelling, asymmetry, pain, and signs of infection. Seek medical attention if you notice these symptoms.


Lip fillers are a popular cosmetic treatment that can enhance the appearance of the lips, but they come with potential side effects and risks. It's important to be informed about what to expect after the procedure, how to identify normal versus abnormal reactions, and when to seek medical attention. Choosing a qualified healthcare provider and following their aftercare instructions can help ensure a safe and satisfying outcome. If you experience any concerning symptoms, do not hesitate to contact a medical professional.

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Haneke E. (2015). Managing Complications of Fillers: Rare and Not-So-Rare.

Dr. Aurora Kalmanson

Always Consult a Medical Specialist

The information provided in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as personalized medical advice. It's crucial to understand that while we are medical professionals, the insights and advice we provide are based on general research and studies. They are not tailored to individual health needs or conditions. Thus, it is essential to consult directly with a healthcare provider who can offer personalized medical advice relevant to your specific situation.