Swollen Uvula: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Remedies
“Uvula,” or little grape, refers to the grapelike bit of flesh hanging in the back of the throat behind the tongue. The uvula plays a major part in our speech and also helps filter out the bacteria that can otherwise enter the respiratory and digestive tract. Swollen uvula, medically known as uvulitis, is not a serious condition if treated in time.
Causes of Swollen Uvula
A swollen uvula is not a serious condition and should disappear on its own in a few days. Possible causes of swollen uvula include:
- Snoring frequently
- Bacterial or viral infection
- Excessive smoking
- Excessive consumption of alcohol
- Common cold
- Exposure to extreme climatic conditions, either hot or cold
- Canker sores that develop near the uvula
Swollen Uvula Symptoms
A swollen uvula can be uncomfortable and irritate the throat. Symptoms include:
- Inflamed (enlarged) uvula
- Dry and sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Inflamed tonsils
- Mild to severe pain in the throat
- High fever
- Hoarse voice
- Pus in the throat
- Irritated throat
- A feeling of tautness
When a Swollen Uvula Touches the Tongue
A uvula that swells to the extent that it touches the throat and the tongue can trigger a gagging or choking-like sensation. This feeling can happen even though there is no foreign matter present inside the mouth and can make eating, talking, and even breathing difficult.
Home Remedies for Swollen Uvula
Here are some home remedies for swollen uvula.
- If dehydration is the cause, drinking lots of water can speed the recovery process. At least 10 to 12 glasses a day is recommended. Drinking orange juice will also help hydrate the body.
- A good mixture for treating uvulitis is half a teaspoon of turmeric mixed in a glass of water with two or three ice cubes. Allow to stand for four or five minutes before drinking.
- Gargling is effective in treating a swollen uvula. A pinch of salt in lukewarm water relieves inflammation and pain.
- Honey is known for its antibacterial properties and is useful for a swollen uvula. Regular consumption of honey has proved to be effective in treating uvulitis.
- Chewing two or three cloves of garlic daily also provides relief from irritation and pain in the uvula.
- Ice cream and cold water can also be consumed, but only when there is no cold infection accompanying the uvulitis
- Drinking tea made with basil leaves will also help relieve a swollen uvula.
Medical Treatment of Swollen Uvula
Although you may be able to treat swollen uvula at home, consult a doctor if the uvulitis refuses to go away. An ENT surgeon should always be preferred over a general practitioner for consultation.
Several types of drugs may be prescribed.
- Antibiotics: If any kind of bacterial infection is causing the uvulitis, your doctor will likely prescribe antibiotics. Follow the full course to completely cure the swollen uvula.
- Steroids: If the swollen uvula is caused by an allergic reaction, steroids can help decrease pain, redness, and swelling.
- Antihistamines: These can decrease the itching caused by a swollen uvula.
- Throat sprays and painkillers. These can provide relief from symptoms.
Preventing Swollen Uvula
Staying well hydrated helps keep uvulitis at bay. The best way to prevent swollen uvula is to avoid drinking alcohol. Alcohol forces the body to use its fluids to flush toxins from the body, which leads to dehydration.
To prevent a recurrence of swollen uvula, strengthen your immune system. Vitamin C helps boost the immune system and thus can help prevent uvulitis.
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