The uvula is a bell-shaped organ found at the back of the mouth which hangs from the soft palate. It is made of an assortment of muscles including glandular ones. It helps in speaking and producing saliva. It also plays an essential role in making snoring sounds. Its other function is to protect while drinking with your head down or your body in a bent position. As significant as uvula is, it can be a little annoying when it swells up. The pain and discomfort associated with uvulitis or swollen uvula can hinder the day to day activities. Thus, we are presenting before you an article outlining various causes, treatment, diagnosis and home remedies for swollen uvula or uvulitis.
What Is Swollen Uvula Or Uvulitis?
A person complaining of sore throat or having a choking or gagging feeling or having a hard time swallowing is considered to be suffering from uvulitis.
Causes Of Swollen Uvula or Uvulitis:
There can be a plethora of reasons for a person to suffer from a swollen uvula or uvulitis. Some of them are given below: –
Infection Of The Throat:
One of the most common reasons is the infection of the throat which can be either viral or bacterial or both.
Allergic reaction to certain things can lead to uvula swelling. In case the reaction is anaphylactic, the patient must be rushed for emergency treatment.
Hereditary Angioneurotic Edema (HANE):
Hereditary Angioneurotic Edema occurs due to a genetic mutation which leads to a genetic disorder. In this condition, infection attacks lead to inflammation or swelling up of various body parts including the uvula. In this state, the uvula appears white and swollen like a grape.
Various trauma like the burning of the uvula can make it swollen, or in sporadic cases, the injury may occur during intubation.
Home Remedies For Uvulitis Or Swollen Uvula:
Swollen uvula can be treated easily by home remedies, but if the condition persists for a while, doctor’s consultation is necessary. Below listed are some of the home remedies for uvulitis or swollen uvula.
- One of the leading causes of is dehydration so one must make sure to drink a lot of water and intake of fluid.
- To soothe a sore throat, one of the best methods is to gargle with warm water.
- In case you are tormented with pain, try using a throat spray or throat lozenges to numb the pain.
- Soothing of a sore throat can also be done by tea and honey. Alternatively, you can soothe the throat with a combination of honey and hot water.
- If you want the swelling to subside, suck on ice cubes or chew ice chips.
- Tea made with basil leaves can help in reducing the swelling.
- One can take help of over the counter pain relief medicine to help with the pain.
In case the problem persists even after trying the above remedies, make sure to see a doctor. The doctor may prescribe antibiotics in case of bacterial infections. Steroids can also be taken to reduce the swelling.
If the condition persists for a couple of days or worsens with time, it can be an allergy. In case of allergy, antihistamines are used to reduce itching and help with breathing. If swollen uvula is caused due to allergy, the patient’s skin/lips can turn blue, purple or grey and they may get seizures or become unconscious. In such cases, immediately contact emergency medical help. While receiving treatment, one must make sure to stay away from allergens. One should stop drinking alcohol and smoking while they are getting treated.
How Long Does It Last?
Swollen uvula or uvulitis is a common problem that affects almost 70% of the people at least once in their lives. When the question of the duration of the swelling comes, it depends majorly on the severity of the condition. On an average, swollen uvula or uvulitis last from few hours to few days for most of those affected. In some extreme cases, it can last up to a week.
Swollen uvula or uvulitis is not incurable so with treatment it eventually goes away. In general cases, it goes away by taking help of home remedies like gargling or taking basil leaf tea, but if the swelling or the inflammation persists for an extended period (more than a couple of days or if the condition worsens over time), consultation with a doctor becomes necessary. After a person starts receiving treatment for uvulitis or swollen uvula, the time needed for the complete recovery depends upon the quality of treatment received. If medical help is taken soon after the occurrence of swelling, it can be treated in only a few hours. Though, it is not fatal, swollen uvula if left unattended, can become highly infectious and can lead to death in extreme cases.
Swollen Uvula When I Wake Up?
Some of us may have encountered this issue of swollen uvula right after waking up. This can happen due to numerous causes. One of the most common reasons is dehydration, which occurs due to breathing through the mouth. When we breathe through the mouth, it remains open, and as a result of the continuous passage of air, we experience a ‘dry mouth, ’ i.e., dehydration. As a result of the continuous passage of air, the uvula swells up.
Another reason is various infections that can occur while breathing through the mouth. People who snore a lot can experience uvulitis in the morning. Another reason for the same can be excessive consumption of alcohol or smoking a lot of cigarettes. At times, acid reflux can also be a reason behind the swelling of your uvula. Both the conditions can make your uvula swell up like a grape. It generally subsides in a couple of hours. And if it doesn’t, you can try home remedies mentioned above like sucking an ice cube or chewing ice chips. One must drink as much water as possible. In case it starts to affect your breathing or eating, it is better to seek medical help.
Swollen Uvula Touching The Tongue
In case your uvula is severely swollen, it can touch the back of your tongue, thus giving an uncomfortable nauseous feeling, resulting in vomiting. It can make you feel choked or give you a sense of being gagged continuously. Swollen uvula touching the tongue can cause problems in breathing and hinder activities like eating or swallowing. Sometimes, it can be excruciating, and other times, it can create a ticklish or itchy sensation. If the swelling keeps worsening over time, one should consult a qualified doctor without delay. Since an enlarged uvula touching the back of the tongue can cause severe breathing problems, fluid intake should be increased It helps in bringing the swelling down in almost all the cases.
Swollen Uvula from Snoring
Snoring occurs when the air passage is obstructed from the nose to the airway at the back of the mouth, the meeting point of the tongue and the upper throat with the soft palate and the uvula. When we breathe while sleeping, they strike each other leading to vibration and thus producing noises termed as snoring. When the uvula is enlarged due to swelling or inflammation of any kind, the problem worsens. The enlargement of the uvula subsides naturally in a couple of hours, if due to snoring. The home remedies can be helpful in speeding up the process of the uvula returning to its normal state. If it remains the same or the condition worsens, or it gets way too painful to handle, medical help should be taken.
Swollen Uvula STD
A swollen uvula is not a disease that can be transferred sexually, but a few cases have been reported where a swollen uvula or uvulitis has occurred while having oral sex. And it’s not necessary that it’s an STD or sexually transmitted disease.
Diagnosing Swollen Uvula/Uvulitis
There are a number of ways to diagnose the cause of the swollen uvula or uvulitis. These technical methods are listed below: –
In case there is doubt if the underlying cause is an infection, blood tests can come in handy. By performing a simple blood test, it can be easily determined if the person is infected or not. If the person does have an infection, the number of white blood cells (WBC) in his body will be quite high.
A culture can be carried out to trace back the exact cause of the swollen uvula. By performing culture, the microorganism responsible can be found out. Culture is performed by rubbing a cotton swab on the swollen uvula and then examining the sample collected.
In case, the swelling or the inflammation of the uvula is severe; doctors may suggest getting an X-ray done. The X-ray of the neck can be useful in diagnosing the reason behind the swelling or the inflammation.
We hope that you found the article on uvulitis or swollen uvula helpful. We, at live it beautiful, always try to give out our best. Thus, let us know all your question and queries so that we can help you out. You can leave your idea, suggestion and questions in the comments section below. Until next time, stay fit and healthy.