Swollen Uvula


The uvula is a tiny mass of flesh present in the back of the throat. When we look at the mirror and peer inside the oral cavity, we may identify the uvula as a reddish mass that hang from the upper palate just above the base of the tongue. The uvula screens all that passes through the throat and hence is a vital organ. It is responsible for allowing food items to pass through to the stomach. Additionally, it prevents bacteria and other germs from entering the digestive system and thus prevents it from unnecessary damage. Any infection of the uvula that leads to its inflammation is called as a swollen uvula.

The name for the organ is derived from the Latin word ‘Uva’ which means a grape. The uvula does indeed look like a grape and hence the name.

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In medical terms, a case of swollen uvula is referred to as Uvulitis

Symptoms of swollen uvula

There are a number of symptoms elicited by a swollen uvula. Most them are not visible to the naked, but are experienced by the patient. A medical practitioner will be best suited to diagnose a case of swollen uvula on the basis of the symptoms discussed below:

  • The most common symptom of a swollen uvula is a dry and sore throat. Such dryness of the throat does not reduce even after consumed adequate quantities of water. Increased dryness of the throat may sometimes lead to discomfort.
  • The patient may find it very difficult to swallow foods. Additionally, there may be increased pain akin to the pain during swollen tonsils
  • Another symptom of a swollen uvula is its namesake, i.e. an inflamed or swollen uvula
  • On occasions, the affected individual may experience mild or extreme pain in the area around the throat. This may be the case, even when the person is not engaging in any activities that require swallowing of food or other items.
  • In some cases, the tonsils may flare up and swell, resulting in severe pain
  • Increased instances of headache are a common feature in cases of swollen uvula
  • The patient may have a peculiar tautness in the throat. Such tightness may result in irritation as well as uneasiness
  • A swollen uvula may also lead to the development and build-up of pus in the throat region in addition to causing irritation and discomfort
  • The affected individual may find it difficult to change or alter the quality of his/her voice. The voice may attain a hoarse quality to it.
  • The patient may experience an extreme desire to vomit
  • The increased sensations of irritation may also lead to the development of an urge to cough uncontrollably
  • In many cases of swollen uvula, the patient may have increased body temperature or fever.

Causes of swollen uvula

Some of the common causes of a swollen uvula are listed below:

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  • One of the main causes of a swollen uvula is dehydration. Excessive consumption of alcohol as well as increased smoking can lead to dry up the mouth eventually resulting in a swollen uvula
  • Intake of hot liquids or drinks can result in the condition
  • An infection by viruses, especially the Epstein-Barr virus can cause increased soreness of the throat and result in a swollen uvula
  • The throat is a breeding ground for various bacteria. Improper hygiene of the oral cavity can lead to its infection by the Streptococcus bacteria and result in Strep Throat. Such a condition can cause a swollen uvula
  • On rare occasions, alien objects such as fish bones or chicken bones may get struck in the throat leading to its inflammation. This can cause a swollen uvula
  • The condition may also be caused by an extreme case of tonsillitis
  • There are several diseases such as measles, chicken pox, viral pharyngitis, diphtheria and even common cold that result in a swollen uvula
  • In some cases, any kind of surgery performed on the throat can lead to a swollen uvula as a side effect.

Treatment of swollen uvula

Severe cases of swollen uvula have to be treated by doctors. However, mild instances of the condition can be treated at home in the following ways:

  • Gargling of the throat with lukewarm water and salt can reduce swelling and inflammation of the throat
  • The chewing of two to three garlic cloves a day act as a fast remedy to swollen throat and uvula
  • Intake of cold water mixed with half a teaspoon of turmeric can also alleviate the symptoms of a swollen uvula
  • Consumption of honey on a daily basis as well heavy intake of water can also ease the symptoms of a swollen uvula
  • Recurring cases of a swollen uvula are treated with an Adrenaline injection.
  • The doctors may also recommend several changes in lifestyle such as cutting down on alcohol and cigarette intake to treat severe cases of a swollen uvula


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