Uvula or the palatine uvula is a small tissue that we can see dangling from our soft palate of our mouth. This small structure is like a hanging small fruit that plays an important role in our speech and diction. Speech articulation or forming our voice is one of the common functions for this grape-like structure in our mouth.
Other functions for uvula include food manipulation, assisting in keeping the swallowed food completely down and hinder the food from passing through our respiratory system. It has been said that this small structure is responsible for the annoying snores we produce while asleep, as well as for sleep apnea (breathing cessation while asleep).
- Sore throat – the most common symptom. The soreness comes along with dryness that alters ones comfort. Irritation and throat tightness are some of the complaints made by a patient.
- Difficulty in swallowing – because of a swollen uvula, the person affected may have a hard time swallowing food especially if the swelling has affected the tonsils making it more difficult to swallow.
- Pain – the pain is felt in the throat area as this is included in the inflammatory process along with the other responses from inflammation. The patient may also experience headache.
- Swollen tonsils – the inclusion of the tonsils is due to the progression of inflammation that can add up to the discomfort of the patient.
- Hoarse voice – the swelling of the uvula affects the voice quality of the affected. Voice hoarseness is an expected result when you have a swollen uvula.
- Pus formation – this is due to the development of infection.
- High fever – infection has developed thus results to a febrile episode.
The swelling of the uvula is due to many factors that is either environmental or specifically from an agent. The common causes of a swollen uvula are the following:
- Mouth dryness – mouth dehydration can irritate the insides of the mouth including the uvula. The dryness is known to be one of the most common causes of this condition.
- Viral infection – EPV or Epstein-Barr virus is a common virus that takes effect instantly, once acquired, on the affected person.
- Bacterial infection – the Streptococcus genus has a particular effect on the patient’s throat thus causing a swollen uvula. The condition is identified as Strep throat.
- Drinking of hot, irritating drinks – this can precipitate to the development of a swollen uvula because of the probable effects it can provide. The ingestion of irritating drinks can harm the parts of the mouth especially when done in frequency.
- Tonsillitis – untreated tonsillitis can become serious and affect the neighboring areas of the mouth.
- Diphtheria - is an upper respiratory condition that usually affects the children. Because of the formation of a pseudomembrane (identifying symptom of diphtheria) in the mouth, it is likely that the uvula can be affected as this condition is left untreated in the whole course.
The first line of treating a swollen uvula is to reduce the discomfort that the client is experiencing. Ibuprofen is the usual prescribed medication for relieving the pain. Along with that, identifying the causative agent is essential too so provide a suitable course treatment for the condition.
Underlying conditions should be identified so that the cure can be given immediately. Viral or bacterial infections cases are provided with specific drugs aimed to treat the condition, along with the swelling of the uvula. Treatment aimed for comfort is done when the swelling is not that severe.
Home remedies are provided and made easy to people who can treat a mild swelling of the uvula.
- Homemade gargle – dilute a small amount of salt into a glass of lukewarm water. This has an analgesic affect and said to reduce the swelling. Use this as a gargle for a period of time until the swelling reduces.
- Chewing 2-3 garlic cloves is said to reduce the swelling in a fast manner. The chewing of ice chips can numb the affected area thus reducing inflammation.
- Hydration is a must when one is experiencing swelling of the uvula.