I'm trying to look for a word(verb) that means to worsen especially suddenly to describe an injury/swelling.

I have chronic swelling in my lips and whenever I become too active, the swelling worsens and becomes painful and I'm trying to look for a verb to describe that without being too wordy. It's like similar to the word attack? but in verb form.

  • The swelling intensifies?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jul 27, 2013 at 22:05

5 Answers 5


A medical condition can be spoken of as deteriorating, or a person described as suffering a sudden relapse, but the worsening of a particular, non-life threatening condition such as you describe, could just be called a sudden flare-up of that condition.



Medical researchers define Angioedema as a condition that leads to rapid inflammation of the subcutaneous tissue, submucosal tissues, dermis and mucosa. It is also known by the name Quincke’s Edema and Welts.


You could use inflammation/inflamed if you want something different, although that doesn't necessarily convey rapidity. For that, I would say acute inflammation, although really acute swelling would be fine as well.

  • I have chronic swelling so the swelling is always there and it worsens whet I'm active. So my swelling inflames acutely when I become too active?
    – Theo
    Jul 27, 2013 at 15:55
  • 1
    You still have acute inflammation, but in that construction I might say exacerbate or aggravate. So, "I have acute swelling/inflammation when I run" or "I have chronic swelling that is aggravated/exacerbated by running."
    – Amory
    Jul 27, 2013 at 16:07
  • It’s not clear to me from the question that there actually is any inflammation here. Body parts can swell for other reasons than just inflammation. Jul 27, 2013 at 18:33
  • Maybe not in the strictly medical sense of the term - although there is swelling and pain - but in colloquial usage, sure.
    – Amory
    Jul 27, 2013 at 18:50

You could say simply that it swells up, or that it puffs up (or out), bulges, or even balloons (out), depending on how severe the swelling gets.


For pain, you could say:

The pain crests.

The pain climaxes.

But maybe these verbs do not go well with swelling as a subject.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.