Health Conditions and Diseases

Why Is My Uvula Swollen And Red? 8 Natural Remedies To Manage Uvulitis

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Why Is My Uvula Swollen And Red? 8 Natural Remedies To Manage Uvulitis Hyderabd040-395603080 May 20, 2019

Do you feel like something is stuck at the back of your throat? And are you sure it isn’t the strep throat that you have been dealing with? Well, it is definitely something more. A look in the mirror may show you what’s wrong. If you see the fleshy part (called uvula) that hangs down your throat inflamed or swollen, you know what has been causing the discomfort all this while. To know more about a swollen uvula and how you can use natural remedies to manage it, read on.

What Is Uvula?

The roof of the mouth is divided into two parts: (i) the hard palate, which can be felt right above your tongue, and (ii) the soft palate, which is located behind the hard palate, forming the beginning of your throat. The fleshy part that hangs down the soft palate is the uvula.

While the soft palate helps to close your nasal passages as you swallow your food, the uvula helps to push food down your throat. The uvula is made of connective and muscle tissues along with mucous membranes that make it very flexible.

Although rare, in some cases, your uvula, as well as its surrounding areas, may become swollen and inflamed. This condition is referred to as uvulitis.

Inflammatory reactions within the body are often the major cause of a swollen uvula. Let us look at what causes reactions that can trigger uvulitis.

Why Is My Uvula Swollen And Red? What Causes It?

Microbial infections, such as respiratory tract infections, strep throat, or mononucleosis can cause uvulitis, thereby causing your uvula to become red and swollen.

It is very easy for those with a common cold to develop a swollen uvula as well. This is because those with blocked nasal passages often tend to breathe through their mouth, thereby increasing the chances of an inflamed uvula.

Other possible triggers of an inflamed and swollen uvula are:

  • Genetics – Congenital disorders like a cleft lip or palate can cause uvula to become enlarged, off place, or even missing in some cases.
  • Allergic reactions – Some allergies can cause fluid to build up in the throat or mouth. This may result in swelling of the uvula. Such reactions can be triggered by certain foods or even an insect bite.
  • Dry mouth
  • Acid reflux

Certain factors may also put an individual at a higher risk of developing a swollen uvula.

Risk Factors

Factors that can increase your chances of developing uvulitis are:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Breathing in toxic air
  • Any history of surgical intervention
  • An injury to the throat or uvula
  • Known allergies
  • A weakened immune system

When your immune system is not able to get rid of a foreign particle that has entered your body, it can infect the uvula and cause inflammation.

Let’s now look at the signs and symptoms that characterize this condition.

Signs And Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of a swollen uvula are:

  • A feeling of something stuck in your throat
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • An itching or burning sensation in the throat
  • A sore throat
  • Swelling of the tonsils
  • Excess secretion of saliva
  • Gagging and regurgitation (nasal)
  • Fever
  • Pain

If you happen to notice any of the above symptoms, it is best to get yourself diagnosed by a doctor to rule out other possible underlying conditions.

How To Diagnose The Cause Of Uvulitis

Uvulitis is most often a result of an underlying infection or condition. To diagnose the issue, your doctor will start by asking you about your symptoms, your medical history, the medications you are on, and the symptoms you have been experiencing.

The doctor may also ask if you use tobacco, about your food allergies, and if you have been exposed to any toxic substance(s) recently. They may then do a physical examination to help in diagnosing your condition.

If a physical assessment doesn’t reveal the cause, any of the following tests may be carried out to diagnose your condition. They may include:

  • Swab test – Your doctor may swab your throat or nostrils to test for infections.
  • Blood test – A blood test can also be conducted to rule out other infections.

If the test results are inconclusive, you may be referred to an allergist, who will carry out further skin and blood tests to identify foods or other substances that may have been causing the inflammation.

In most cases, the cause of a swollen uvula is not of much concern. It is usually a result of an infection or allergy that can be treated.

However, since the symptoms of uvulitis can be quite bothersome, here are some all-natural home remedies that can speed up the healing process. What’s more? Some of these remedies may also help in combating infections that are responsible for triggering an inflamed uvula.

8 Natural Remedies To Manage Uvulitis

1. Gargle With Warm Salt Water

Gargle With Warm Salt Water Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of table salt
  • 1 glass of hot water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a teaspoon of table salt to a glass of hot water.
  2. Mix well until the salt dissolves. Allow it to cool down.
  3. Gargle with the salt water for a few seconds.
  4. Spit it out.
  5. Repeat until you use up all of the mixture.
How Often You Should Do This

You may do this 2-3 times daily.

Why This Works

Gargling to wash your throat is a common practice to prevent upper respiratory infections (1). Doing it daily can also help in treating a swollen uvula caused by such infections.

2. Hot Tea And Honey

Hot Tea And Honey Pinit

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You Will Need
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon of your favorite tea powder
  • 1 cup of water
  • Honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Add half to one teaspoon of your favorite tea powder to a cup of water.
  2. Bring it to a boil in a saucepan.
  3. Simmer for a minute or two and strain.
  4. Once the tea cools down a bit, add some honey to it.
  5. Drink the warm tea.
How Often You Should Do This

You can drink this 2-3 times daily.

Why This Works

A warm cup of tea (or any hot drink) can help reduce the symptoms of a cough and throat infection (2). Adding honey to the tea increases its effectiveness (3). This can also help decrease the swelling of the uvula.

3. Ice Chips

Ice Chips Pinit

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You Will Need

A few ice chips made of distilled water

What You Have To Do

Suck on a few ice chips.

How Often You Should Do This

You may do this 1-2 times daily.

Why This Works

While there is no particular study to back this claim, according to anecdotal evidence, sucking on ice chips can help soothe a sore throat and reduce inflammation of the uvula.

4. Holy Basil Leaves

Holy Basil Leaves Pinit

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You Will Need
  • A handful of holy basil leaves
  • A cup of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Bring a cup of water to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Add a handful of holy basil leaves to it and simmer for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Strain and allow the tea to cool a bit.
  4. Drink it up.
How Often You Should Do This

You may do this 1-2 times daily for best results.

Why This Works

Holy basil (tulsi) exhibits powerful anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties (4). It may thus help combat infections causing the condition and alleviate the symptoms of uvulitis.

5. Garlic

Garlic Pinit

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You Will Need

1-2 cloves of peeled garlic

What You Have To Do
  1. Chew on one to two peeled garlic cloves.
  2. If the flavor is too strong for your liking, you can add minced garlic to your favorite salads and dishes.
How Often You Should Do This

You may do this once daily for best results.

Why This Works

Garlic possesses broad-spectrum antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties (5), (6). These properties can help combat the infection-causing microbes that could be responsible for triggering uvulitis and reduce the swelling in your uvula.

6. Turmeric

Turmeric Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
  • 1 glass of hot milk
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of hot milk.
  2. Mix well and allow it to cool down for a while.
  3. Drink the turmeric and milk mixture.
How Often You Should Do This

You can drink this once daily.

Why This Works

The active compound in turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin exhibits antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral activities that can aid in fighting upper respiratory as well as other microbial infections (7). Its anti-inflammatory nature can also help in reducing the swelling of your uvula (8).

7. Essential Oils

Essential Oils Pinit

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You Will Need
  • Thyme or cinnamon essential oil
  • A diffuser
  • Water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a drop of thyme or cinnamon essential oil to a diffuser filled with water.
  2. Switch the diffuser on and inhale the aroma.
How Often You Should Do This

You may do this once daily until your symptoms improve.

Why This Works

Aromatherapy using essential oils of thyme or cinnamon can help in alleviating the symptoms of a throat infection due to their antimicrobial nature (9). These oils also exhibit anti-inflammatory activities (10). Both these properties help in reducing the swelling of the uvula and treating the infection causing the condition.

8. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar Pinit

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You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (ACV)
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • Honey
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a tablespoon each of organic ACV and honey to a cup of warm water.
  2. Stir well.
  3. You can either drink this mixture or simply use it for gargling.
How Often You Should Do This

You may do this once daily.

Why This Works

Apple cider vinegar possesses antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties (11), (12). It can not only help combat microbial infections, which are the main culprits behind uvulitis, but also reduce inflammation and swelling of your uvula.

Try the above remedies for relief from a swollen uvula. However, if your condition does not clear on its own or despite using these remedies, consult with your doctor. They will suggest the appropriate treatment and tips to prevent recurrence of the condition.

How To Prevent A Swollen Uvula

  • Keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids.
  • Have warm tea.
  • Get ample rest to help your body heal fast when you are battling an infection.
  • Limit your alcohol intake.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Stay away from potential triggers like a toxic environment or second-hand smoke.
  • Stay away from foods that you are allergic to.
  • Eat your meals on time.

A combination of these tips and remedies can help you a great deal in managing the symptoms of uvulitis and speeding up its healing. However, you must not forget to take your prescription medications as they are necessary to treat the underlying condition that has been causing the swelling of your uvula.

Did we address all your queries regarding a swollen uvula? For any further doubts, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us in the comments below.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

What’s the thing in the back of your throat?

The fleshy part that you see hanging down your throat, which separates your hard palate from your soft palate, is called the uvula.

Is uvulitis contagious?

While uvulitis itself is not contagious, if the underlying cause of it is infectious, you can spread the infection.

How long does a swollen uvula last?

A swollen uvula can last anywhere between a few days to up to one and a half weeks. It usually eases as the underlying infection starts going away.

When to see a doctor for swollen uvula?

See a doctor immediately if you notice symptoms like difficulty in breathing or swallowing, dehydration, fever, stomach pain, or drainage of blood/pus from the uvula.

References

  1. Prevention of upper respiratory tract infections by gargling: a randomized trial.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, US National Library Of Medicine.
  2. The effects of a hot drink on nasal airflow and symptoms of common cold and flu.” Rhinology, US National Library Of Medicine.
  3. Honey for treatment of cough in children” Canadian Family Physician, US National Library Of Medicine.
  4. Tulsi – Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons” Journal Of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, US National Library Of Medicine.
  5. Alliumsativum (garlic) — A natural antibiotic” Medical Hypotheses, ScienceDirect.
  6. Immunomodulation and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Garlic Compounds” Journal Of Immunology Research, US National Library Of Medicine.
  7. A Review on Antibacterial, Antiviral, and Antifungal Activity of Curcumin” BioMed Research International, US National Library Of Medicine.
  8. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin.” Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, US National Library Of Medicine.
  9. In Vitro Antibacterial Activity of Essential Oils against Streptococcus pyogenes” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library Of Medicine.
  10. Cinnamon: A Multifaceted Medicinal Plant” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, US National Library Of Medicine.
  11. Antimicrobial activity of apple cider vinegar against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans; downregulating cytokine and microbial protein expression” Scientific Reports, US National Library Of Medicine.
  12. Anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory effects of synthetic acetic acid vinegar and Nipa vinegar on high-fat-diet-induced obese mice” Scientific Reports, US National Library Of Medicine.
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Shaheen Naser

Shaheen holds a postgraduate degree in Human Genetics and Molecular Biology. She is a Geneticist with proficiency in Biotechnology, Immunology, Medical Genetics, Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Genetic Counseling. Her passion for writing and her educational background have assisted her substantially in writing quality content on topics related to health and wellness. In her free time, Shaheen loves to explore the world and the different flavors/cuisines it has to offer. Photography is another hobby she has developed of late.