Burning Throat: Symptoms, Causes, And Home Remedies

Written by Sanchari Bhattacharya, Certificate Of Natural Medicine

A burning throat may be a common symptom of an infection or an underlying medical condition. It may occur on its own or may be accompanied by other symptoms. Most of the time, a burning throat can be treated at home but sometimes it requires timely medical intervention. In this article, find out about the different causes of a burning throat and the right time to seek medical treatment. Along with these, we provide you with a few home remedies to soothe your throat.

What Is Burning Throat?

A burning sensation results from inflammation at the back of the throat. When your body responds to an injury or foreign substance, it increases the blood circulation and causes swelling and pain in the back of your throat. Burning throat is one of the most common reasons why people visit the doctor every year (1). The burning sensation in your throat may be accompanied by other symptoms as well. Let’s move on to the next section to find out what they are.

Symptoms That Accompany Burning Throat

The following symptoms are (1):

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Throat pain
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Fatigue
  • Hoarseness

All the above symptoms along with your throat burns may be indicative of an underlying medical condition. Let’s see what they are in the next section.

Major Causes For Burning In Throat

You can develop a burning sensation in your throat due to any of the following medical conditions:

1. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)

Heartburn is described as a burning sensation in the chest and your throat. When the esophagus is weak or too relaxed, it allows the stomach acid to flow back into it, creating a burning sensation in your throat (2). The following is a list of symptoms of GERD that accompany heartburn.

  • Sour/ acidic taste in the mouth
  • Lump in the throat
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chest pain

2. Infectious Mononucleosis

Also known as the “kissing disease”, mono is an infectious disease that is characterized by pharyngitis or inflammation at the back of the throat. Caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), mono can be transmitted through oral contact or sharing of drinks and utensils. Commonly seen in teenagers, pharyngitis is accompanied by other symptoms such as (3):

  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • A sore throat
  • Decreased appetite
  • Headache

3. Post-nasal Drip

When your body comes in contact with foreign substances like pathogens or irritants, it results in inflammation of the pharynx, accompanied by mucus accumulation in your throat. This mucus build-up starts dripping down the back of your throat, which causes a sore or burning sensation called post-nasal drip. Some of the other symptoms associated with post-nasal drip are (4):

  • Tickling cough
  • Blocked nose
  • Brown, sticky mucus

4. Tonsillitis

Tonsillitis is the inflammation of the tonsils as a result of a bacterial or viral infection. Tonsils are lumps of tissue at the back of your throat that acts as a defensive barrier against inhaled pathogens. Tonsillitis have symptoms such as (5):

  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Tonsillar exudate – fluid secreted by tonsils
  • Dysphagia – trouble swallowing

5. Burning Mouth Syndrome

Characterized by a burning sensation in your mouth and throat, burning mouth syndrome may be a result of an allergic reaction to food or infection. It is accompanied by symptoms such as (6):

  • Pain in your mouth
  • Dry mouth
  • Sour or bitter taste in your mouth

6. Esophageal Cancer

In rare cases, inflammation of the throat may be a sign of esophageal cancer (7). Considered as the 8th most common cancer worldwide, the following are symptoms associated with esophageal cancer (8) :

  • Trouble swallowing
  • Chest pain
  • Hoarseness
  • Painful swallowing

7. Esophagitis

Esophagitis is the inflammation of the esophagus caused by infections, injury, or radiation. A few common symptoms of esophagitis include (9):

  • Heartburn
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Chronic cough
  • Chest pain

If the burning sensation continues to cause you distress, you can try the following home remedies in the next section to provide you some relief.

Best Home Remedies To Cure Burning Sensation In The Throat

A few home remedies can go a long way in soothing the sore or burning sensation in your throat.

  • Get as much rest as possible.
  • Drink lots of water to reduce the dryness and soreness in your throat.
  • Drink warm liquids such as honey, lemon, or ginger tea.
  • Have warm chicken soup.
  • Suck on ice chips to help reduce the burning sensation in your mouth and throat.
  • Gargle with lukewarm salt water to help reduce the soreness (10).
  • Suck on lozenges and candies to provide relief to your sore throat (11).
  • Take over-the-counter pain medications such as Ibuprofen or Advil.

Even with home remedies, throat burns may stay on for sometime. In that case, visiting your doctor is the best thing to do.

When To See A Doctor

If the home remedies fail to help you and your burning throat persist for more than 10 days, check with your doctor. Also, if your burning throat is accompanied by the following symptoms, you need medical assistance:

  • Fever
  • Chest pain
  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Pus in your throat
  • Hoarseness

Once your doctor diagnoses the cause behind your burning sore throat, they will offer you a wide range of treatment options. Let’s see what they are.

Other Treatment Options

Depending on the severity and cause of your condition, the following medications may be applicable:

  • If the reason behind your throat burning is mono or esophagitis, treating with antivirals such as acyclovir or aciclovir is the best option.
  • When it comes to tonsillitis, penicillin or any other antibiotic is given for reducing the severity of the symptoms. Completing the course of medication is essential in preventing the risk of reinfection.
  • For the treatment of GERD, doctors prescribe antacids or histamine receptor blockers. These are prescribed to lower the burning sensations in your throat and the amount of acid in the stomach.

Since prevention is better than cure, let’s check out the different preventive measures we can take in the next section.

How To Prevent Burning In Throat

  • To avoid or lower the risk of developing a burning throat, you can try the following tips: Regularly wash your hands to avoid infection.
  • Avoid contact with triggers or allergens.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask to avoid environmental pollutants.
  • Drink warm water every day to keep your throat hydrated.
  • Do not share utensils and personal items with the infected individual.
  • Eat food that boosts your immune system to reduce the risk of developing an infection.
  • Limit or avoid smoking.AvoidAvoid acidic foods and drinks that may worsen the burning feeling in your throat.

Key Takeaways

  • The symptoms of the burning throat include redness, swelling, fever, headaches, throat pain, trouble swallowing, nausea and vomiting, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, and hoarseness.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), infectious mononucleosis, post-nasal drip, tonsillitis, and esophageal cancer are some of the reasons behind it.
  • One of the early symptoms of COVID-19 is a sore throat.

To Sum It Up

Underlying medical conditions such as GERD and tonsillitis can cause a burning throat. Drinking plenty of water, sufficient rest, and avoiding certain foods are key to keeping that burning sensation under control. If these home remedies fail and the symptoms persist for more than 10 days, seek medical treatment. Medications prescribed by your doctor and taking preventive measures can keep that burning throat at bay.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Covid start with a sore throat?

Yes. Sore throat may be an early symptom of COVID-19 (12).

How do you stop acid burning in your throat?

Drink plenty of water and cold liquids to soothe the burning in your throat from acid reflux. You can also try an over-the-counter antacid

Sources

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Pharyngitis and sore throat: A review
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/286401306_Pharyngitis_and_sore_throat_A_review
  2. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/
  3. Infectious Mononucleosis
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4346501/
  4. Postnasal drip syndrome. Two hundred years of controversy between UK and USA
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/5281361_Postnasal_drip_syndrome_Two_hundred_years_of_controversy_between_UK_and_USA
  5. Tonsillitis
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK544342/
  6. Burning Mouth Syndrome
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/292176163_Burning_Mouth_Syndrome
  7. Esophageal cancer: A Review of epidemiology pathogenesis staging workup and treatment modalities
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4021327/
  8. Esophageal cancer: Diagnosis and management
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/46425091_Esophageal_cancer_Diagnosis_and_management
  9. Esophagitis
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK442012/
  10. Randomised Controlled Trial of Salt Solution (Sodium Chloride) Mouth Wash vs Thymol Glycerine Usage in Sore Throat with Non Bacterial Pharyngitis
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/335681220_Randomised_Controlled_Trial_of_Salt_Solution_Sodium_Chloride_Mouth_Wash_vs_Thymol_Glycerine_Usage_in_Sore_Throat_with_Non_Bacterial_Pharyngitis
  11. A multicentre randomised double-blind single-dose study assessing the efficacy of AMC/DCBA Warm lozenge or AMC/DCBA Cool lozenge in the relief of acute sore throat
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/49847263_A_multicentre_randomised_double-blind_single-dose_study_assessing_the_efficacy_of_AMCDCBA_Warm_lozenge_or_AMCDCBA_Cool_lozenge_in_the_relief_of_acute_sore_throat
  12. Features Evaluation and Treatment of Coronavirus (COVID-19)
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK554776/
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