Many people do not know what swollen uvula is. So before we provide insights into what swollen uvula is, it is necessary to know more about the part of the human body called uvula. It is the fleshy piece of tissue that hangs over tongue near the throat. This soft tissue closes the nasal passage when we swallow and traps microorganisms, preventing them from getting access to the throat of our mouth and thus keeping sickness at bay. It also helps push food towards the throat.
Swollen uvula is the result of uvula inflammation. This inflammation can be caused by many things and it can be irritating. Though it is uncommon, it can cause difficulty in breathing.
Symptoms Of Swollen Uvula :
- Difficulty in swallowing
- Difficulty in breathing
- Difficulty in talking
- Pain and discomfort inside the mouth
Swollen uvula plays active role in creating sleep apnea. Many individuals with sleep difficulty have undergone a very controversial surgery of removing uvula which is named as Uvulectomy. Symptoms of swollen uvula can be observed in both mild forms and severe conditions. In mild cases, the symptoms are bearable and observed with :
- Reddening of the uvula
- Swelling of the uvula
In more complicated conditions, more signs have been observed, such as:
- Difficulty in swallowing (Dysphagia)
- Sleep Deprivation
- Nasal Regurgitation
- Difficulty in speaking
What Causes Swelled Uvula?
Swollen uvula can be caused by a variety of factors but the most common cause is dryness. A dry throat occurs as a result of dehydration. Moreover, sleeping with the mouth opened can cause uvula to be infected and consequently swollen. Other factors that cause uvula includes infection, food allergy, trauma and genetics. Some factors that cause this inflammation include:
Swollen uvula can be caused by viral and bacterial infections. Examples of infections that can lead to swollen uvula include epiglottitis, cold, flu, mononucleosis, chickenpox, measles and croup.
Epiglottitis is an uncommon and fragile condition that is observed in kids. This condition is a result of infection that causes the tissue to swell rapidly. It is known to cause difficulty in breathing in children.
Another leading cause of swollen uvula is allergy. Allergic reactions can cause swelling of both the throat and mouth, including the uvula. This is an emergency situation and the individuals experiencing this rapid swelling of the mouth and throat should visit a medical center for treatment as soon as possible. If you are having this type of uvulitis, make sure to carry medication with you at all times. Moreover, allergic reaction to something touched, swallowed or eaten can cause swollen uvula. Some of the allergens that may cause it are food, medication, irritants like dust, animal waste or pollen, toxic and chemical substances exposure, and even tobacco ingestion.
Uncommon genetic mutation also leads to the hereditary of this condition. Despite the percentage of rare mutation victims is not high; i.e., usually 2 in every 100000 persons become victim of this mutation, this percentage can be as high as 2 in every 20000 persons. This rare genetic mutation is called Hereditary Angioneurotic Edema (HANE) which causes swelling of the throat, uvula, face, hands and feet. Other symptoms observed because of this condition include nausea, abdominal pain and vomiting.
Trauma can cause swollen uvula which may occur as a consequence of different surgeries, such as intubation and tonsillectomy. While removing tonsils in the mouth, shock and injury to the tissue may occur. Other traumatic conditions that can cause swollen uvula involve constant vomiting or irritation caused by the acid reflux disease.
How Is Swollen Uvula Diagnosed ?
In most cases, swollen uvula does not require instant medical attention. However, you should visit your healthcare center for professional treatment stating your problems. You should tell your doctor the following matters :
- The over-the-counter pills you had been taking before the incident
- If you’re a tobacco smoker, it will be helpful to inform your doctor so as to determine how to help you through this crisis.
- Your food history will be required. Chances are that you tried new foods that could be the trigger of the incident.
- In case you had been exposed to unusual chemical substances.
- If you have experienced bleeding, it will be beneficial for you to inform your doctor about it.
- Severe pain or difficulty in swallowing.
- Unease due to the lack of oxygen.
Can Swollen Uvula Be Treated ?
Swollen uvula can be treated. Three quick ways to treat the condition are with the use of :
1. Antibiotics : If the root cause of swollen uvula is detected to be bacterial infection, antibiotics can be administered to flush out the bacteria that caused the condition. However, proper caution must be followed while getting the treatment in order to thoroughly flush out the underlying bacteria.
2. Antihistamines : These are very helpful in reducing itchiness experienced because of swollen uvula.
3. Steroids : When the cause of the condition is an allergic reaction, steroids should be administered.
Swollen Uvula Home Remedies :
Here are some simple home remedies for treating swollen uvula cases at home :
- In case dehydration is the root cause of it, drink lots of water. Ensure to drink about 8 glasses of water per day. Drinking orange juice can also help the body hydrate properly and quicken the recovery.
- Add a pinch of salt in lukewarm water and drink after gargling. This is an effective means of treating a swollen uvula.
- Take honey, it contains natural anti-bacteria that are effective in reducing swollen uvula.
- Chew garlic on a daily basis. The natural anti-bacterial properties of garlic help in cleansing the mouth from unfriendly bacteria.
- Tea made with basal leaves can be taken.
- Create a mixture by adding some cubes of ice with a small spoon of turmeric. Then wait for few minutes and drink it. This solution aids in alleviating the pain.
- Chew ice cubes as long as your throat can handle it. When it becomes unbearable, spew it out and repeat the process with another ice cube. The coolness helps relieve the pain experienced by swollen uvula.
- Make sure you visit a doctor if you experience more severe form of swollen uvula.