Having a swollen uvula can be a difficult but it serves as an important factor when screening bacteria and other microorganism that is about to enter the digestive and respiratory tract. Anatomically, the uvula is located at the back of the tongue. When a person opens their mouth, there appears to be a hanging grape in the at the back of the tongue. Many people may think of this as tonsils but it’s not. It acts like a filter that screens the microorganism that enters the mouth.
The term uvula means “large grape”. This is derived from the Latin word “uvu” which means grape. Aside from filtering bacteria and other organisms, this is also an important part of the sound articulation when a person speaks. And most singers would associate their vibrato or the wavy up and down sound to the uvula. Medically, a swollen uvula is also called as uvulitis. The suffix “-itis” is usually associated with inflammation or swelling in medical terms.
Swollen Uvula Causes
Uvulitis is not a life-threatening disease and it should go away in a few days. Usually, doctors would point out that the case of a swollen uvula can be one of the many things:
- Viral or bacterial infection. This is the most common cause of swollen uvula. This is an indicative that a harmful microorganism was about to enter either in the lungs of digestive tract.
- Excessive smoking can also be a factor as well as excessive alcohol consumption
- Frequent snoring
- Common colds and exposure to extremely hot or cold environment.
- Apthous ulcer or canker sores. This can also be called as the mouth sore and when the area of the sore is near the uvula, uvulitis can happen.
Swollen uvula Symptoms
There are various swollen uvula symptoms but these are usually subjective ones. The patient is the one who mostly feels the uneasiness or some pain.
- Having a dry mouth. Even though the affected persons drinks a lot of water, there is still a feeling or dryness in the mouth because of the inflammation
- Sore throat. The pain may seem similar when the person experiences tonsillitis
- Dysphagia or difficulty in swallowing
- Tonsils may also be swollen
- Hoarseness of voice. There are voice changes since the uvula is also used for sound articulation
- Discharges from the throat usually pus
- Patient will also feel like vomiting. This is because the gag reflex is stimulated.
- Desire to cough even if there is no sputum or phlegm
- Throat irritation. The patient may feel that there are feathers in their throat. Thus, they want to scratch if off.
Picture : Swollen uvula and sore throat
Swollen Uvula Remedies
There are effective home remedies that can be done with swollen uvula. This is not a life-threatening condition and within 24 hours it can be remedied at home.
Home remedies include:
- Drinking lots of water is one of the best remedies to treat uvulitis. Since the swollen uvula can be due to dehydration then it’s best to hydrate. An amount of 10-12 glasses per day will help reduce the inflammation.
- Turmeric can come in handy. By mixing ½ teaspoon of turmeric into a glass with water and put some ice. Wait for about 5 minutes and patients can drink it. This is also a good solution to treat common colds.
- Honeys are very helpful in the recovery. According to studies, consuming honey every day can be a good thing for faster uvula recovery.
- Chewing about 2-3 garlic cloves per day can greatly reduce the swelling of the uvula. And when the patient also has hypertension. Garlic cloves are useful to help decrease blood pressure.
- Adding a pinch of salt into the lukewarm water is also another typical remedy for sore throat.
- Doctors would also suggest trying a tea made with basil leaves.
- Ice creams and cold water can also be taken but the patient should not have colds when taking these.
Swollen Uvula Treatment
Although a swollen uvula can be treated at home, there are instances wherein the need for seeking professional help should be done. Especially in severe swelling and the condition lasts for more than 24-48 hours, the patient should see a doctor. But it is not just a general practitioner that they should see. They should make an appointment with Otolaryngology specialists. These are doctors who treats ears, nose and throat problems. They would typically be given treatments like throat sprays and pain killers. Sometimes, antibiotics would also be prescribed when there is infection.
But in cases of recurrent and frequent swollen uvula, the physicians will require Adrenalin shots. The patient will have to inject themselves whenever uvulitis happens. A medical device called the EpiPen is usually prescribed.