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  • Chronic Swollen Face

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    Old 03-25-2014, 05:43 PM   #1
    Lesley1985's Avatar
    Join Date: Mar 2014
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    Lesley1985 HB User
    Unhappy Chronic Swollen Face

    Hello everyone. I'm new here but have been silently struggling for years, so I felt like I should start somewhere to reach out. I have had problems with a swollen face for basically my whole life. Though I do retain water in other parts of my body (usually when I eat wheat), this water retention does not seem to be related to the patterns of water retention in my face.

    If you look back at photos of me as a baby or a child, you can see certain examples where my face is extremely swollen and others where my features are finer and more distinguishable. As I began to reach puberty, I was much more aware of this fluctuation in my face, and how it affected how presentable or awake I looked to the outside world. In some ways, as I have grown older, it has gotten both better and worse.

    When I was a middle schooler and high schooler, I used cucumbers on my eyes or cold spoons to try to get the swelling in my eyes down. I was so concerned with my puffy eyes more than anything (It got very bad and made it difficult to apply eye makeup), so much so that I was not as concerned with my face as a whole. When I went through a particularly bad bout of edema, it would always seem to get better before it got worse. I would sit up straight in my bed – I trained myself to do that — and after about three nights of this behavior, I would notice the swelling to start to subside. Still, as the fluid began to leave the upper extremeties of my head, my cheeks would puff out and become rounded, as they filled with fluid, I could feel the liquid pooling under my jaw line, and I would grab at it. I was very worried about creating wrinkles through this squeezing and pulling behavior, even at that young age. Only in the last year, in my late 20s, have I learned about the flow of this fluid and lymphatic massage, and how to move it along more productively.

    In my college years, the swelling got really bad. It was pervasive. It felt like there were toxins all in my head, just beneath the skin of my face, scalp, and back of my neck. It would gather there and stay for months at a time. In fact, most of my sophomore year I was swolen. I knew deep down that this was not what I was supposed to look like. Only occasionally did I have some "pretty" days. I was increasingly self conscious. I started doing a lot of research. I used Witch Hazel on my face, which helped a ton, though it seemed only temporarily, because there was always more fluid to drain down from my scalp. It seemed to be retained there. "Hanging out" because of the toxins in my system, telling the fluid to collect. I took diuretics and selenium. Selenium seemed to really make a difference. I was shocked. Based on health boards I read, I was convinced I had some sort of thyroid problem. As a senior in college, I had thousands of dollars worth of blood tests. I was told there were no thyroid issues. I was disheartened.

    After college, the symptoms kind of changed. In my 20s, I have had horrible, debilitating bouts with this swelling. Not only does it fill and obscure my face, but it takes away all of the glow in my skin. It appears blotchy. I get terrible dark circles. I am convinced that I am flooded with toxins. But it also is not constant anymore. In the past few years, I have come to expect about two very bad bouts of swelling per year. For most months of the year, my face is slim, you can see my bone structure, and I have a glow to my complexion. But then I go through an episode. The fluid fills my cheeks, temples, undereye bags, upper eyelids, forehead, jawline (and even sort of my nose). Most important, my scalp thickens with fluid. It seems almost gel-like. It doesn't want to budge. It can take up to two months for it to drain down from gravity. Once it took three months. But my appearance is inconsistent during this time. One morning, I wake up and most of the lower fluid has drained out, but later in the day, the fluid in my scalp pools down to fill my face. Or, I wake up with very puffy, rounded cheeks. There seems to be so much fluid up in my scalp, because this process drags on for SO many weeks. My eyes look small and round, because of the the fluid filling the area around my eyelids. I feel like I don't look like myself. It is miserable and I who am normally a very social person, turn antisocial and begin hating myself for my horrible appearance, which doesn't feel like me at all. The feeling of the fluid in my face is actually very uncomfortable. It feels taut, almost like when you put on a very drying masque on your face. It's terribly uncomfortable and I don't want to look anyone in the eye because it feels so uncomfortable. I spend so much time by myself but I'm not even comfortable in my own presence or my own skin. I get really antsy and can't sit still. Sometimes I feel uncomfortable going to sleep. A shower sometimes helps, especially if i can give myself a scalp massage and face massage with a face brush.

    These episodes are mortifying and very harmful to myself esteem. Then the fluid in my scalp gradually makes its way down. After a long time, I find that I can no longer pinch areas of the skin in my head. It finally becomes stretched taut again, almost slick, and as the last bit of the fluid disippates (usually after about two months), my face looks suddenly streamlined again, and I look and feel like myself. Then I go about my life as a happier person. I cannot for the life of me figure out why this happens. My diet has never changed during. My sleeping patterns do not change. I just wake up one day with a scalp and face full of fluid. It seems unrelated to any outside stimulus, except for a chemical imbalance in my body. And the doctors have told me my thyroid is fine. I'm not sure I understand.

    One thing that has helped a lot is lymphatic massage of the face. I am very happy to say that a regimen like this helps the fluid to drain much faster. More like 2-3 weeks rather than 6-8. Witch Hazel still helps a lot. So does selenium. But when it's really bad, selenium and witch hazel seems futile, and I get really frustrated. I know i'm not crazy. I can compare photos of myself during one of these episodes and when I look "normal," and it almost looks like a different person. I am sure other people notice, though I guess they don't realize I am swollen, just less attractive. I'm very self conscious. In case anyone is wondering, yes I'm goign through an episode right now. The only consolation is that, after this is finally over, it probbably won't happen again for another six months. But it will always happen again. I am very sad. I am finally putting this out there to see if ANYONE can relate to my experience and shed some light on this strange condition that I can't seem to find in anyone else. Has ANYONE had an experience similar to me?

    Thank you!

    The following user gives a hug of support to Lesley1985:
    jjules (03-26-2014)
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    edema, facial swelling, lymph, swollen face, thyroid

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