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Are you also facing the uncomfortable situation of a swollen uvula 1and want to know what the common swollen uvula causes are? Then, you have come to just the right place.
So, let’s get started! In this article, we will thoroughly discuss what the uvula actually is, the reasons it might get swollen, and its treatment options. We will also discuss how serious this situation is and what things you should be looking for if you ever encounter this situation.
What is a Uvula?
The roof of the human mouth is made up of two different kinds of palates2; one is the hard palate, and the other is the soft palate. The uvula is nothing but the extension of the soft palate that appears in the form of a soft, fleshy tissue that hangs down the back of your throat.
If you open your mouth wide, you can see it hanging down from the center of the soft palate in a teardrop shape at the back of your throat. This tissue consists of connective tissue, muscle tissue, and mucous membranes and is highly flexible to assist the process of speaking, swallowing, and setting off the gag reflex.
Other than that, Uvula also performs some other important functions like:
- Secreting saliva to keep the mouth lubricated
- Pushing the food toward your throat so that you can swallow better
- Blocking the path of the nasal cavity so that the liquid or food doesn’t enter your nose
Some of the symptoms of swelling of the uvula are:
- Problem in breathing
- Excessive secretion of saliva
- Pain in throat
- Having difficulties eating
- Swelling in the tonsils
- Nasal regurgitation
This flap of tissue assists us in multiple ways, but it becomes pretty irritating when it swells. That’s one of the reasons why you should know about what are the common swollen uvula causes, as it makes seeking treatment for the same a bit easier. So, let’s dive into it.
What Are the Common Swollen Uvula Causes?
Allergic reactions, viral infections, and injuries are some of the common reasons why uvula swells3 in the human body. But here, we will thoroughly examine this account and figure out the commonly swollen uvula causes.
When discussing the swollen uvula causes, infections, whether bacterial or viral infections, will always be one of the primary reasons for it.
Infectious agents that enter our mouth block the nasal passages and cause breathing difficulties forcing you to inhale through your mouth. Breathing through your mouth doesn’t actually work in favour of your uvula and causes it to swell.
Strep throat is one of the most common bacterial infections that cause swelling in the uvula. Strep throat is a bacterial infection caused by the Streptococcus pyogenic bacteria4 and is accompanied by throat pain, difficulty breathing, rash, headache, and fever.
Some of the other bacterial infections which can cause inflammation of the uvula5 are:
- Common cold
Some sexually transmitted diseases can also cause swelling of the uvula. So, ensure you get professional medical advice and treat bacterial infections promptly.
Any kind of trauma to the back of your throat or the palate can cause an inflamed uvula. Suppose you are getting some kind of procedure done near your uvula, like intubation or tonsillectomy.
In that case, you are more prone to irritating your uvula and causing it to swell.
Did you ever wonder if the reason for your elongated uvula is possibly relaxing in your genes?
Well, it is actually possible. Hereditary Angioedema is a rare medical condition that gets passed to the off-springs from their parents. This condition causes swelling in different parts of the body under the skin and can most likely be one of the swollen uvula causes.
The symptoms of this condition are very similar to those of sleep apnea, difficulty swallowing, and trouble breathing. So, it is advised that you get yourself diagnosed if you are facing some similar situations to figure out the real underlying medical issue and get medical treatment. It can be treated through surgery.
4. Lifestyle factors
Your way of living and the environmental factors around you can also be one of the common swollen uvula causes. So, let’s dive into what are the certain lifestyle factors that cause your uvula to swell.
Certain medications don’t quite mesh well with your body and might have side effects. So, if your throat hurts or you have difficulty swallowing and breathing after taking your prescription medications, you should consider visiting your healthcare professional again.
In most cases, snoring results from a sore throat and uvula. But severe snoring can also cause the uvula to swell in some rare cases.
Allergic reactions to certain foods or smells can also irritate and swelling to the uvula. So, visiting some wellness professionals and getting acquainted with the allergens that can affect you is advised.
Dehydration and Chemicals
Lack of fluids and use of irritational chemicals can also cause swelling. You can also experience swelling in your uvula after drinking alcohol, though it is not that common.
What Are the Possible Treatment Options
Now that we have discussed the swollen uvula causes, let’s look at how to treat it and get rid of a sore throat.
1. Home Remedies
There are some ways to cure swelling at home. Some of the home remedies that you can use to reduce swelling are:
- Chewing ice chips is one of the ways to reduce acute isolated uvula swelling.
- Gargling with warm salt water can help soothe the irritation and swelling in your uvula.
- A dry mouth is one of the reasons why several people experience swelling. So, it is advised to drink plenty of fluids if you have difficulty breathing and swallowing.
- You can use throat lozenges or throat spray if your throat is hurting and you want some relief from the pain.
- You should avoid anything that can irritate your throat. Like you should stop drinking alcohol or smoking if you identify swelling in your uvula.
- Drinking hot water, hot tea, or honey can also help to soothe the swelling. You should also try eating hot food until the swelling has gone down.
You can cure sore uvula and throat with these remedies in just a couple of days, and then you will be able to eat properly again.
2. Treatment of Infections
If you are experiencing symptoms of infection in your mouth, you should consult your nearest doctor.
Most viral infections, other than Influenza, get cleared up from your mouth on their own and don’t need medications. But for bacterial infections, your doctor might prescribe antibiotics.
So, you must get checked and know the real cause of your issue.
3. Treatment of Allergic Reactions
Allergens are one of the most common swollen uvula causes. So, if you test positive for some kind of allergy, make sure to visit your doctor ASAP.
Your doctor will prescribe uvula antihistamines and steroids to help reduce the swelling. And make sure to steer clear of the said allergens in the future.
Are There Any Risk Factors Associated with Swollen Uvula
It is very common for children to experience swelling, but anyone can get swelling in their uvula, and most of the time, it is not severe at all. As it can be due to a simple common cold, you can cure it only with some remedies at home.
But it can prove to be severe if you are in the following conditions:
- Have a weak immune system7 due to HIV, Genital Herpes, or some other medical issue. People like this are more perceptible to getting an infection in their throat, which can prove to be severe.
- Chemical products are one of the most common swollen uvula causes. So, if you use tobacco or some other equally irritating substance, then, in that case, you should seek urgent medical treatment for your swelling.
- If the swelling in your throat is due to an allergic reaction, then rush to your doctor and get some steroids ASAP. And this is also one of the most common swollen uvulae causes as most people cannot identify foods or smells that they are allergic to.
These are some reasons you should be aware of the common swollen uvula causes. Because even though most of the time it is quite a harmless situation but it also has some risk factors associated with it.
And if it is left unattended in those situations, it can cause harmful effects on the human body.
- A swollen uvula can last anywhere from a few days to a week and a half depending on the cause. However, if you have a swollen uvula, and particularly if you are having trouble breathing, you should seek medical attention.
- If swelling of the uvula is severe and goes untreated, it may cause choking and restrict your breathing.
- A trio of ginger, honey, and lemon is imbued with powerful anti-bacterial properties, all three ingredients have already been proven to boost immunity and ward off infections naturally. It is one of the best treatments for not only relieving pain and inflammation of the uvula but also getting rid of harmful microorganisms
- Kinsey, C. Matthew, and Michael Howell. “A 27-year-old woman with a swollen uvula, chest pain, and elevated creatinine phosphokinase levels.” Chest 133.3 (2008): 809-811. ↩︎
- Ferguson, Mark WJ. “Palate development.” Development 103.Supplement (1988): 41-60. ↩︎
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- Sekosan, Marin, et al. “Inflammation in the uvula mucosa of patients with obstructive sleep apnea.” The laryngoscope 106.8 (1996): 1018-1020. ↩︎
- Mattingly, Gretd, Brad Rodu, and Rocklin Alling. “Quincke’s disease: nonhereditary angioneurotic edema of the uvula.” Oral surgery, oral medicine, oral pathology 75.3 (1993): 292-295. ↩︎
- Kafeshani, Marzieh. “Diet and immune system.” Immunopathologia Persa 1.1 (2014): e04. ↩︎