If you’ve been experiencing some discomfort of the throat, it’s quite possible that you began to look up what could possibly be going on. It wouldn’t take you too long before you came across the possible diagnosis of Uvulitis, you wouldn’t be alone if you didn’t know exactly what that was.
Why is my Uvula Swollen? (Causes of a Swollen Uvula)
If your uvula is bigger than usual, it could be a sign that something is not right with your body and may require medical care to treat the condition. A swollen uvula can be caused by a variety of factors including:
- lifestyle and/or environmental changes
- physical or emotional trauma
- infection in the body
- hereditary conditions
Let’s talk about each of these items in detail.
Lifestyle and/or environmental changes
There are a few lifestyle and environmental factors that can affect your body and lead to a swollen uvula including: environmental allergens, medication changes, substance abuse, lack of hydration, alcohol consumption and sleep habits.
- Environmental allergens: can be as simple as ingesting pollen, pet dander or dust. Everyone’s body is different and may react differently to these elements. A common allergic reaction that occurs is swelling in different parts of the body which can include the uvula.
- Medication changes: Did your doctor recently prescribe you a new medication? Certain medications can affect the body and cause inflammation which may include the swelling of the uvula
- Substance abuse: smoking tobacco products and cannabis can also give you a swollen uvula among many other effects
- Lack of hydration: if you aren’t drinking enough water this may lead to dehydration, affect on your uvula and ultimately lead to uvulitis (which we will cover in a later section)
- Alcohol consumption: people have reported swelling of the uvula after drinking too much alcohol which can also contribute to dehydration if water is not consumed in moderation
- Sleep habits: in very rare cases, snoring can also cause swelling of your uvula as the contact movement and vibrations of your snoring can cause irritation to the throat
What is Uvulitis?
According to uvulitis.org before you can truly understand what Uvulitis is, you need to have a firm understanding of the uvula. It’s in the back of the mouth, and it’s a bell-shaped protrusion. It’s common to not fully understand the reason we have one. The uvula serves many different purposes and throughout history its function has been highly debated. Mercola.com tells us some of the reasons we need a uvula. It’s been said that it can help us with our speech and lubricate the mouth.
More importantly, it can prevent food from going up the nose and it can drain the mucus down the throat instead of into the nasal cavity. Surprisingly, there are only 5 parts of the body that can trigger a gag reflex, and the uvula is one of them. It helps with mucosal tolerance.
The uvula is able to protect itself against microbial pathogens and therefore helps prevent sickness from harmful substances that can be ingested. Lastly, according to www.doctorshealthpress.com it can also affect snoring and whether or not someone suffers from sleep apnea or not.
Once there is a basic understanding of the function of the uvula, it is easier to understand what it means to be diagnosed with Uvulitis. Www.uvulitis.org clearly states Uvulitis is a swollen uvula, generally 3 to 5 times the size of one’s original size.
Why does it occur?
There are many causes of Uvulitis. Let’s begin by going over some of the causes presented by Bel Marra Health.
- Many believe that it can be caused by genetic conditions, including but not limited to the hereditary disease angioneurotic edema, which causes different parts of the body to become swollen. Exposure to allergens or contracting hay fever can also be causes. Exposure to large amounts of pollen can also have adverse effects.
- Injury or trauma can result in inflammation. Even though it’s not a common area to experience injury, burns or accidental poking can cause engorgement and should be avoided if at all possible.
- Different infections can also lead to the swelling of the uvula, such as an infection in the throat or various bacterial infections. The bacterial or viral infection can cause enlargement in the tissue. Infections can range from something as simple as strep throat to more serious issues like Epiglottitis.
- Drinking alcohol and smoking can also cause a disturbance in the back of the throat; they should be avoided or limited if possible. Inflammation will increase and irritation will become more severe.
- A dry throat from dehydration is also a common cause of a swollen uvula. It makes breathing and speaking more difficult and put a patient in constant pain.
- Unexpected causes also include vomiting and acid reflux. They cause extreme irritation that can also lead to swelling. If vomiting occurs repeatedly, agony is likely to follow.
- Unfortunately, things such as the common cold can lead to swelling because they cause you to be a mouth breather. Breathing through the mouth results in a dry mouth and leads to similar pains caused by dehydration. Imagine the stress on the throat caused by constant coughing and sneezing.
- Lastly, different STDs along with oral and yeast infections can lead to inflammation and irritation, so if there is any chance that one has been contracted it is absolutely necessary to treat it.
What are some symptoms?
Uvulitis can be painful and frustrating. There are many symptoms can patients suffer from. The doctor’s health press site briefly discusses some of the most common symptoms and we will go into them in a bit more depth. Depending on the patient, someone can experience one or many of these systems.
- General pain is common. It’s not always a sharp pain, but a throbbing and uncomfortable sensation can arise
- Difficulty swallowing due the swollen uvula is frequently experienced. It can be challenging getting the food down as a result of the enlarged uvula.
III. Another common side effect is experiencing difficulty breathing, even more so if the tonsils have also been affected. Exercising may become impossible and sleeping may prove to be more difficult.
- It’s not hard to imagine that if it can cause difficulty breathing, it can also cause trouble talking. As we discussed earlier, the uvula plays a major role in producing sound, so this can cause a hoarse throat. The scratchy feeling will increase the escalation of redness and puffiness.
- Tonsils can become inflamed as well as the uvula, causing discomfort and a number of many other problems. It’s crucial to distinguish if the discomfort is coming from the inflamed uvula or the tonsils.
- The gag reflex can be trigged by the inflammation as it brushes against the back of the throat. This cannot only cause discomfort during the day but also cause quite a fright when trying to sleep at night. It may result in difficulty consuming solid foods.
VII. Another ache could be the constant feeling of something stuck in the throat. There can be a sensation that something is lodged in there, even though there isn’t. Patients find this distracting, irritating and simply uncomfortable.
VIII. In some rare cases, it has been reported that pus formed around the uvula. Similarly, white spots or bumps appeared on the tongue. These are not the most common symptoms and most likely suggest a severe case that is advanced.
- Because of this feeling of obstruction, and in some cases actual blockage, patients can develop sleep apnea. The blockage can feel more significant when lying down. At times, sleep may be disturbed or near impossible to achieve.
- If an infection presents itself, a fever can develop and headaches arise. Different infections can lead to more severe symptoms and they should not be ignored.
According to Uvulitis.org, symptoms don’t last for an extended period of time and in addition to this list, a gagging or choking feeling can be felt sporadically. Another online medical website mentions that two additional side effects can be the uvula turning red and also unexpected drooling. If any of these symptoms arise, they should be acknowledged and treated.
How long does it last?
Referencing www.heathline.com, Uvulitis is not an extremely common condition and as long as it’s treated after observation, one or any number of the symptoms, it can be taken care of quite quickly. According to the site, it’s possible to stop the pain within 1 to 2 weeks after seeing a doctor and getting diagnosed.
Natural remedies and treatments
There are numerous ways to treat Uvulitis and fortunately many of them are natural, so there’s no need to concerned about putting a mixture of different medicines into your body at the same time. You can try out any number of these natural remedies to help ease discomfort or pain.
There’s a lot of information out there on the web and checking out some home remedies will help you ease aches.
Drinking water can help ease dry mouth. This not only eases pain, but also prevents the spread of infection. It also washes away bacteria during the process of swallowing. The goal should be to drink at least 2 liters of water a day. There are benefits to drink both hot and cold water, and even more if you add certain elements to your beverage.
One of the many benefits of honey is that it’s an antimicrobial so it will reduce inflammation. It tastes good and when going down with warm water it can soothe some of the agitation felt.
Gargling with warm water can ease aches and also reduce inflammation. A glass of water with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar 2 to 3 times a day will help drastically. There are also many benefits to adding salt to the water, but that will be discussed later in the article.
A small glass of cold water with a small pinch of turmeric works as a numbing proxy and can also function as an antibacterial agent that can prevent infection. It may not taste delicious, but it can help.
5. Ice Cream
As long as the swelling isn’t caused by an infection, ice cream can be soothing and help ease some pain. Luckily, the numbness will help and it will taste delicious! If you don’t have ice cream handy, sucking on crushed ice or cubes can help relieve the throbbing.
2 to 3 gloves of garlic will reduce the inflamed uvula. We will add that the site does not mention if the garlic can be cooked or not. Because it does not specify, we highly recommend consuming the garlic raw.
Throughout history the benefits of drinking tea have been proven time and time again. This is also the case with basil tea. Simply place the basil in the hot water and try and drink two to three cups daily. It will reduce soreness and inflammation.
Onion is a bit misleading, as actually it’s the onion juice that can help, not actual raw or cooked onions. It’s been said that consuming onion juice will help lower the swelling being experienced. We can’t promise that it will be delicious though!
There are many ways that someone can increase the level of vitamin C that they consume. It’s necessary to increase the amount consumed in order to reduce the risk of infection and illness.
10.Belladonna and wormwood
Belladonna and wormwood are homeopathic remedies that can assist with many ailments, but are extremely good at assuaging throat aches. There are risks of consuming this plant though, so it’s absolutely essential to speak with an herbalist before consuming.
The iodine found in salt works at an anti-inflammatory. It will help manage infections when the uvula is inflamed.
Things to avoid:
- Fried Oily Foods
Smoking can irritate the uvula and different parts of the throat. Fried foods are not only bad for your health in general, but the oil can irritate and inflame your uvula. Snoring is not only a result of Uvulitis it can also cause it. Shouting causes throat strain, which in the end can cause swelling and discomfort.
How can it be diagnosed?
If you are concerned that you may have Uvulitis there are a number of ways to diagnose it, there’s a lot of information out there on the web,
Firstly, it is possible to self-diagnose by visually inspecting the area. If you see a red, swollen and inflamed uvula you should be concerned or at least begin trying some of the home remedies to ease the swelling and return it to its normal color. Home remedies generally begin to work after two to three days.
Next, it is also possible to see if the swelling is caused by an infection by doing a simple blood test. Seeing a medical professional makes this simple and easy.
Cultures from the throat can be tested and through this process, doctors can resolve which microorganism is causing the Uvulitis.
Finally, in very severe cases patients can have an x-ray. If experiencing choking or shortness of breath it may be best to begin considering this option.
Now that you have the information, you can diagnose and treat Uvulitis. It’s not a common disease, but those who suffer from it feel immense pain. It’s possible to reduce this with some basic medications or with natural remedies.
Some feel that removing the uvula is their best option, this is clearly for very extreme cases. If signs appear and are ignored, they can end up being much direr than it initially seemed. It’s always better to be conscious and aware and to listen to your body.