Why is my uvula swollen? Is it normal to have it after drinking alcohol, surgery or with a sore throat? What if the swollen uvula touches your tongue? The article provides some information on causes such as snoring, STDs, tonsillitis as well as remedies, treatments, and much more.
The uvula is the fleshy piece of tissue hanging down over your tongue toward the back of your mouth, which is part of the soft palate that usually helps to close nasal passages when you swallow. Severe swelling of the uvula can interfere with your ability to swallow and even restrict breathing.
The uvula does not swell for no reason. There must be something wrong for it to swell. Here are the most common causes:
Since its role is to filter bacteria out to prevent our digestive and respiratory systems from attack by microorganisms causing diseases, it can also be attacked in the process by some of these viral or bacterial infections which will in turn result to the swollen uvula.
Some of the common infections are strep throat and tonsillitis, croup, mononucleosis, chickenpox, and even cold and flu.
Those individuals with a severe allergy when they are exposed to a certain allergen can experience swelling and closing of the throat. If the throat is also swollen, it may even be a sign of an anaphylactic reaction, which is potentially life-threatening and requires immediate emergency attention.
Sometimes the uvula can be burned with hot food that can result in swelling. Another instance, it can occur during medical procedures meant to facilitate breathing such as during intubation. Your uvula can also be injured during a tonsillectomy.
This is under a condition known as hereditary angioneurotic edema that brings about the onset of uvula swelling. It is a unique genetic disorder characterized by rapid swelling of the different parts of the body, which may also trigger the swelling in the uvula.
Besides the above, there are other causes and they include the following:
- Oral rehydration
- Excessive smoking
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Common colds
- Exposure to extremes in weather condition and environment
- The incidence of aphthous ulcers or canker sores
Swollen uvula after drinking
It can occur after drinking alcohol since alcohol results in dehydration, which can make the uvula swell. To some people, the swelling after drinking is due to an allergic reaction to alcoholic substances, so the uvula swelling is an allergic reaction in this case.
Since alcohol has many toxic substances that takes more water the body, the body responds by sluicing out these noxious substances also. It also desiccates your body tissues by removing the bodily fluids. What’s more, alcohol dries out the mucous membranes and causes difficulty in respiration.
However, there is a typical cure to prevent swollen uvula after drinking, and it involves staying well hydrated, limiting alcohol intake, and avoiding alcohol if you are allergic to it.
When it touches the tongue
A severely or painful swollen uvula causes it to touch the tongue, generating a choking or gagging sensation making one feel like there is a lodged object at the back of the mouth. Some try removing the object with their fingers causing even more irritation and the risk of bacterial infection.
Sometimes you can touch your tongue with some substances that irritants or pollutants which may trigger an invasion of the uvula making even breathing and swallowing difficult in extreme cases.
When with a sore throat
Sore throats can be painful and disgusting to some extent. However, most sore throats are caused by a minor illness and they go away without medical treatment. A sore throat is commonly caused by:
The common bacterium that leads to a sore throat is strep throat, which results in it swelling along with tonsillitis. Treating bacterial infections can help reduce swelling and inflammation.
Sore throats may be caused by a viral illness that may result in swelling of uvula such as mononucleosis that tends to cause a persistent sore throat.
Irritants and injuries
This makes a sore throat to last longer than a week resulting to swollen uvula that yields due to low humidity, smoking, air pollution, yelling, or nasal drainage down the back of the throat.
Can snoring cause uvula to swell?
Snoring will lead to an enlarged uvula. According to studies, in cases of heavy snoring night, the uvula and soft palate may experience swelling in the morning. Snoring could cause flapping around the uvula, then block the airway and result in breathing problems.
You might find yourself entangled with a mild sore throat, sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders. Snoring in itself is also known to cause a swollen throat and organs around it because of the heavy breathing and the flapping around of the hanging extension in the back of the throat.
When it causes snoring, excision may be the option to help you stop snoring permanently. However, Dr. Christopher Chang of Fauquier ENT notes that uvula removal is not a conclusive treatment for obstructive sleep apnea.
Is it due to STDs
STDs are also known to be responsible for an array of symptoms in the throat such as bumps in the throat and tongue, inflammation, yellow tongue and even bleeding and swollen tissues in the mouth. However, in most cases it is less likely to be an STD problem; people who have oral sex may be prone to such throat inflammations.
Swollen after Surgery
Surgical removal of the uvula is done in extreme cases such as cancer. After surgery, the patient has to have utmost care to prevent infection and recurrence of the condition. If there is no proper care before healing, expect to experience it swelling due to bacterial or viral infections.
Treatment – medical
- Take Antibiotics when the root cause is a bacterial infection. It is highly recommended to follow a full course of the treatment to get rid of the swollen uvula completely.
- Steroids prescription if the cause of uvulitis is an allergic reaction to help reduce redness, swelling, and pain.
- Antihistamines to assist reduce the itching caused by this condition.
Natural remedies or home cure
- In the case of dehydration is the root cause, drink lots of water.
- Drink the mixture of turmeric and water every 5 minutes.
- Drink salty lukewarm water and try to gaggle in order to minimize inflammation and pain of the uvula.
- Use honey which has anti-bacterial properties that are effective in treating uvulitis.
- Drink tea made with basil leaves to help treat uvulitis.