Uvula is the fleshy mass, located at the back of the mouth, in the center. As you open your mouth and look in the mirror, you will notice it as a protruding structure that hangs from the soft palate. The main purpose of uvula is production of various sounds with the help of air coming in through the palate and throat. It also helps in minimizing throat infection and directing ingested foods to the digestive tract. Comprising muscle fibers and connective tissues, swollen uvula is a commonly reported problem.
An inflamed uvula or uvulitis is not a disease, but swelling of this mass is caused due to other health problems. Any disease that is concentrated in the throat region can lead to a swollen uvula. Constant dry throat is a leading cause for abnormal swelling of the uvula. Those who have the habit of breathing through mouth while sleeping, are more prone to this condition than other people. The probable reasons for swelling are many, some of which are listed below.
- Less water intake and dehydration
- Inhalation of pollutants and irritants
- Cigarette smoking or inhalation of fumes
- Allergy to ingested foods
- Allergy to mouth cleansing substances
- Uvula piercing
- Physical trauma to the throat area
- Persistent cough
- Bacterial infection of the throat (like strep throat)
- Viral throat infection (like common cold)
- Having very hot foods
- Ulceration of the throat that affects uvula
- Canker sores in the throat region
The most notable symptom that accompanies uvulitis is pain in the throat region. Pain intensity is more at the time of swallowing foods, talking, and while indulging in any activity that involves movement of the swollen area. Usually, patients experience increased redness and itching along with swelling. Such symptoms are indications of bacterial or viral infections, and require medications for treatment.
Treating a Swollen Uvula
Effective treatment methods to cure a swollen uvula are decided in accordance to the root causes. So, identifying the factors responsible for the swelling of this fleshy mass is a required before proceeding for the treatment. For instance, if swelling is manifested due to a dry throat, it is imperative to avoid certain things like, shouting, breathing through mouth, and refraining from processed food items that contain more salt. If you follow these instructions stringently, very soon, your uvula will restore its normal state. Some of the effectual home remedies for swollen uvula, which you can practice are mentioned below.
- Drinking ample amounts of fluids and water, is a simple, yet effectual way for addressing the condition. This is especially for people, who experience uvula swelling due to dehydration.
- Gargling with lukewarm salt water is effectual in treating the problem that has occurred due to infections. The saline solution aids in reducing pain and swelling, and treats infection. However, make sure that water temperature is tolerable to the sensitive mouth parts.
- Another remedy is gargling with dilute apple cider vinegar. Add a teaspoon of cider vinegar to a cup of lukewarm water, and gargle with this solution. The mild acid kills the bacteria and viruses, and soothes pain.
- Taking honey, aloe vera juice, and sipping holy basil tea also works wonders in reducing the swelling of the uvula. Nevertheless, these natural remedies for a swollen uvula may take time to show results.
Fortunately, this is a medical problem that can be treated effectually with home remedies, without causing any major complications. The swelling usually disappears within 1-2 days even without treatment. However, seek medical attention right away, if the condition hampers normal eating, talking, and other activities. Also, call the doctor, if swelling increases in the following days.
According to the severity of the condition, the doctor may recommend medications, like, pain killers, antihistamines, and antibiotics. You can prevent the condition by adopting certain self-care measures. A simple tip is, avoid sleeping on your back, especially after having salty foods for dinner. Try to sleep with your head elevated and consider lying on your side.
For those who complain of frequent uvulitis bouts, adrenaline injections can be delivered to prevent recurrent incidences.