Swelling is the enlargement of a body part or organ beyond it normal size and usually causing a distortion of the shape and structure of the affected area.
Causes of Swelling
- Fluid – usually lymphatic/interstitial fluid, pus or blood
- Gas - usually occurs is cavities like the gut. Often referred to as gas bloating.
- Mass - tumor or ‘growth’ can affect any area within or on the surface of the body and is not a true swelling.
In most cases, swelling refers to fluid accumulation although the terms ‘swelling’ and ‘swollen’ may be used for enlargement due to any cause.
Definition of Swelling
- Edema is the term for fluid accumulation. Generalized edema throughout the body (body swelling) is referred to as anasarca.
- Swelling due to blood (‘blood swelling’) is referred to as hematocele if it accumulates within a cavity or hematoma if the blood swelling is within tissue.
- Lymphedema is swelling due to the accumulation of lymphatic fluid.
- An abscess is a collection of pus that may cause swelling (‘pus swelling’) and is sometimes commonly referred to as a boil. This type of swelling is usually due to an infection.
Other common terms for swelling : puffy or puffiness, growth, bloat, engorged.
Related Articles :
- Swollen Arm & Swelling of the Hand, Forearm & Fingers
- Swollen Leg & Swelling of the Feet, Ankle & Toes
- Swollen Knee – Causes and Treatment
- Swollen Eyes & Swelling of the Eye
- Swollen Joints – Causes & Treatment of Joint Swelling
- Swollen Lymph Nodes, Glands – Lymphadenopathy & Lymphedema
- Breast Swelling – Tender, Sore, Painful Swollen Breasts
- Causes of Gas & Bloating (Flatulence)
Article reviewed by Dr. Greg. Last updated on March 4, 2010