What is Swollen Uvula?
Swollen Uvula, also known to the medical community as Uvilitis, just means that your uvula is inflamed. Uvula is the tissue that hangs at the back of the mouth, aiding in food passageway so it won’t go to our nasal cavity, thus obstructing our airway. Uvula often makes a person irritable and uncomfortable, especially when eating, drinking or even just swallowing saliva.
Picture 1 – Uvula Location & its surroundings structures
Signs and Symptoms
- Dry mouth and throat due to the inflammation experienced. Even though a person drinks plenty of water, they will still have a feeling of dryness.
- Sore Throat due to infection or irritation can contribute in having swollen uvula.
- Headache due to the irritation in the uvula.
- Throat Irritation can irritate the uvula and it can lead to inflammation
- Sometimes a severe feeling of nausea can occur because the irritation of the uvula the gag reflex is stimulated.
- Difficulty in swallowing, because of the irritation cause by the uvula.
- Roughness of the voice, because the uvula and throat is affected.
- Fever, because of the infection that is present in the swollen uvula.
- Pus discharge due to prolonged, unaided infection.
- Desire to cough due to the irritation.
There are different reasons that might lead to the uvula swelling. These are the common causes for having swollen uvula:
- Bacterial or viral infection can lead to inflammation and soreness of the throat and the surrounding tissues.
- Dehydration is one of the most common causes for having a swollen uvula. It is where the body only gets a little amount of liquid and the uvula is soaked in saliva.
- Excessive smoking and inhalation of different pollutants can lead to dryness of the uvula, as well as making the uvula swell and become itchy.
- Allergies will cause the uvula to swell.
- Throat diseases, like the common cold and sore throat, can make the uvula inflamed.
- Trauma can cause swelling of the uvula, like eating spicy and hot substances, drinking alcohol, and instruments that are inserted through the mouth like an endoscope.
- When a person snores a lot, it can lead to malfunctioning or changes in breathing patterns, which also affects the uvula.
- Drinking too much alcohol can cause dehydration, as well as it leads to snoring, that can cause swelling and irritation.
Medical experts diagnose Uvula if the person has a swollen uvula and presenting other signs and symptoms, by doing physical assessment on the patient.
(1) Medical History of the patient.
(2) Culture and sensitivity to check for presence of infection in the uvula.
There are different treatment that can be done for a swollen uvula. This disease is not a life-threatening or a serious problem and can be cured within 24 hours. These remedies are:
- Drinking water is one of the best remedies to treat swollen uvula. Dehydration is one of the causes of having the disease, so, to cure dehydration, drinking water is one of the most effective remedies.
- Honey or Aloe Vera Juice is also known for treating swollen uvula.
- Eating garlic cloves and onion can help to cure the swollen uvula because of their anti-bacterial properties and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Adding salt in drinking water can help cure throat irritation and inflammation.
- Cold drinks and beverages can also help in alleviating the irritated feeling caused by swollen uvula. You can use this kind of remedy if you do not have a cold.
- Gargle using the mixture of salt and water can help to treat swollen uvula by reducing the pain, irritation, and swelling.
- Drinking tea with basil leaves is also known for the treatment of swelling of the uvula.
- Mix turmeric with cold or warm water. Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory healing properties, so, it’s a good cure for swollen uvula.
Swollen Uvula normally doesn’t need a special treatment because it can be cured at home. But there are some instances that home remedies don’t help to cure or alleviate the swollen uvula. Go to an Otalaryngologist, who are experts concerning this type of disease. If the swollen uvula isn’t cured within 24-48 hours then you should seek medical, professional help. This disease is not of the life-threatening type, but if you are diagnosed with this type of disease it is advised to seek immediate attention to avoid formation of other diseases due to having Swollen Uvula.
- Medication to alleviate pain and swelling, like Aspirin, can help to ease pain and swelling, as well as to reduce fever.
- When there is a presence of bacterial or viral infection the doctor can give antibiotics to cure infection.
- Doctors also advised the patients to change some lifestyle habits, like drinking alcohol as well as smoking, because they can both lead to irritation, as well as infection and can weaken the immune system.
- If the disease recurs time to time, normally the doctors advises the patients to have Adrenalin shots. In this disease, where the uvula is swollen, the air passages constrict when given these shots. They will help to reduce swelling, as well as to reduce irritation.
There are no related, specific complications to having a swollen uvula because it’s not a severe problem that can harm anyone permanently. If it’s treated early, and as it’s diagnosed correctly, there will be no specific problems. These complications arise only if the person doesn’t seek immediate medical attention.
(1) Necrosis of the uvula will lead to having a surgery to remove the uvula. Removing the uvula can be a problem because of its important function in the human system. As mentioned earlier, the uvula helps us when we eat and it helps us when we speak, so, removing it means the person will have difficulty when eating as well as when speaking.
(2) Severe infection because of the delayed medical treatment.
To avoid these two complications, it is advised that the person seek medical attention if home remedies don’t became effective in treating swollen uvula.
Edited and proofreaded by Heather on 15/10/2012