Cure for Swollen Uvula

by Garreth Myers

The uvula is a small conical projection that hangs down from the soft palate at the back of the throat. The uvula is made up of tissue and muscle and is responsible for creating the sounds of the human voice. In addition to the articulation of sounds, the uvula acts as a barrier for the nasal cavity when you swallow food and prevents bacteria and infections from entering the throat and digestive tract.  A swollen or enlarged uvula can therefore cause a number of different problems related to swallowing and digestion as well as voice modulation.

What causes a swollen uvula?

  • Uvulitis or a swollen uvula can occur due to the inflammation of the mucus membrane that surrounds the uvula. This can happen because of:
  • Dehydration
  • Tonsillitis
  • Acid reflux
  • Common cold
  • Viral or bacterial infections
  • Allergies
  • Exposure to very hot or cold food
  • Smoking
  • Inhalation of irritants or pollutants
  • Sleeping with your mouth open
  • Tendency to breathe through the mouth
  • Snoring
  • Canker sores that develop on the uvula
  • Alcohol abuse

What are the Symptoms of Uvulitis?

The symptoms of uvulitis may include:
  • The uvula becomes red and swollen
  • The uvula gets enlarged and even touch the back of the tongue
  • There may be bumps or a white spot on the tip of the uvula
  • A Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Difficulty and pain when swallowing
  • Choking or constant gagging sensation
  • Uncontrollable drooling
In most cases, the symptoms of uvulitis tend to subside within 24 hours. If your symptoms last for longer than a day or worsen over time and you have difficulty breathing and swallowing, contact your doctor at the earliest.

How can a Swollen Uvula be Treated?

Since a swollen uvula rarely signals a medical condition or an emergency, you may wish to resort to home remedies for a swollen uvula. Depending on the cause of the swelling and enlargement, different types of remedies and treatment are recommended. These include:
  • If dehydration, a dry mouth or throat is causing the swelling, increase your intake of fluids especially water and orange juice.
  • A sore throat that causes a swollen uvula can be treated with salt-water gargles to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • If the underlying cause of the condition is a viral or bacterial infection, the appropriate medication should be taken. Antibiotics will help get rid of a bacterial infection while over-the-counter painkillers or anti-inflammatory drugs may help with a viral infection.
  • If an allergic reaction is the reason for the uvulitis, steroid medications may help reduce the pain, inflammation and the redness. Antihistamines are often prescribed to reduce itching and swelling.
  • If the pain persists or the swelling recurs, you may need an epinephrine or adrenaline injection to prevent the swelling.
  • There is generally no need to remove the uvula through surgery to treat the condition. An uvulectomy is only recommended for people who suffer from severe snoring and sleep apnea.
You can also try any of the following home remedies to treat a swollen uvula:

  • Drink a glass of warm water with honey to reduce the swelling and prevent the spread of any infection.
  • You could also have a plain teaspoon of honey whenever the pain gets too much or if you have difficulty swallowing. The honey helps reduce the swelling and soothes any irritation.
  • Instead of salt water gargles, mix a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar in a glass of warm water and gargle with this at least two or three times a day.
  • Have a glass of cold water with a pinch of turmeric added to it. The cold water helps numb the uvula and reduce the pain and the turmeric works as an anti-bacterial agent and treats the infection.
  • Chew two to three cloves of garlic to help reduce the infection and heal an enlarged uvula.
  • If the uvulitis is not caused by a cold or sore throat, have a dish of ice cream or drink some cool water to soothe an inflamed uvula and help reduce pain.
  • Steep a handful of holy basil leaves in a cup of hot water. Drink this tea at least twice a day to help reduce inflammation.
  • Fresh onion juice is believed to help reduce a swelling of the uvula.
  • If you are prone to uvulitis, it is recommended that you increase your intake of vitamin C to boost your immunity and help fight off recurring infections.
  • Avoid fried and oily foods as this will only increase the irritation and inflammation.
  • Stop smoking and drinking immediately to alleviate symptoms.
  • If snoring is causing the uvulitis, sleep on one side and preferably at a slight elevation.
References:
  1. http://www.umm.edu/ency/article/001257all.htm

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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