You may have pain during swallowing for several causes. In Most cases, it’s an infection or a misplaced medicine, yet more serious causes exist.
Inside the mouth, throat, and food pipe, various muscles and nerves are involved in swallowing. At some point in life, most people are going to feel pain while swallowing. Swallowing discomfort is called odynophagia in medical terms.
By analyzing the exact signs, it is usually easier to track down the source of swallowing pain.
Severe or mild discomfort in the jaw, throat, chest or food pipe could be present based on the reason. When a person breathes deeply, the pain may impact only one part of the throat.
The reasons and symptoms of uncomfortable swallowing are analyzed in this section. We also explore ways to relieve the discomfort.
Reasons for Throat Pain
Infection Caused by a Virus or Sinus
A virus such as a cold, the flu, or mono is by far the most common cause of painful swallowing. Sinus infection is another culprit.
Inflamed tonsils, coughing, or discomfort from sinus leaks are all potential causes of throat ache. Other signs of a viral or sinus issue include a runny or stuffed nose, headache, coughing, or fever.
The normal treatment for such kinds of infection is rest and over-the-counter drugs, however, your doctor may also choose to give steroids or antibiotics in some instances.
Streptococcal throat infection is a bacterial infection caused by Streptococcal bacteria.
People who have strep throat may also experience the following symptoms:
- Lymph nodes that are swollen and painful solely on a single or both sides of the neck
- Tenderness in the soft palate
- On the soft palate, there are red dots.
- White tonsil patches
The most common treatment is antibiotics. Although it will eventually cure off by itself, medication is suggested to help you feel better, stop it from spreading to others, and avoid complications.
Epiglottitis is a throat infection that can cause swelling of the epiglottis, which is the rear of the throat flap that blocks food from passing down the windpipe.
This can cause a variety of symptoms, including discomfort when swallowing and:
- Dysphagia refers to difficulties swallowing.
- Very high fever
- A tendency towards leaning forward when seated
If you have diabetes or esophageal illness, use some steroids, antibiotics, or use steroid inhalers for asthma, you’re at risk for this yeast infection. Losing taste, a cottony feeling in your mouth, and rough, chapped, red skin around the edges of your lips are all indications of thrush.
Crohn’s disease rarely affects the esophagus (it mainly affects the colon), however, it can begin in your mouth or esophagus and spread throughout the digestive tract. Swallowing will probably be difficult and painful.
You may experience diarrhea and cramping, as well as losing weight and an appetite loss if you have Crohn’s disease.
GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
You’re probably familiar with the tingling pain in the throat if you have gastroesophageal reflux condition. It might be difficult to swallow if stomach acid backs up the esophagus.
This is because acid reflux damages the lining of your esophagus. Puking, acidic flavors, heartburn, and hoarseness are all possible side effects. Dietary changes, as well as antacids, should help.
Your throat could have been damaged if you took a heavy medication or a sharp chunk of food. You could also burn your esophagus by swallowing overly hot food and liquids.
Swallowing can be painful due to cuts, burns, or strained throat muscles. The damage will heal with time, but you can treat it with over-the-counter medications in the meanwhile.
Certain Cancers and Their Treatments
Cancer is unlikely to be the cause of painful swallowing. However, it might be a sign of malignancies of the neck and esophagus. As a tumor grows and the esophagus narrows, you may experience pain during swallowing.
Consult your doctor if you’ve been experiencing this symptom for a while and are beginning to feel the need to consume soft foods in tiny chunks.
In addition, several cancer treatments can make swallowing difficult. Chemo and radiation to the head, neck, and chest area can inflate the lining of the mouth, throat, and esophagus. Dry mouth and puffiness are two other symptoms.
Healing at Home
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help in swallowing by reducing swelling and pain in the mouth, throat, and food pipe.
Acid reflux pain can be relieved with over-the-counter (OTC) antacids.
Utilizing Throat Sprays
Throat sprays can relax the throat, making swallowing more comfortable and painless. These can be purchased over-the-counter (OTC) or over the internet.
Using Saltwater for Gargling
Saltwater has the potential to reduce discomfort and make swallowing easier. Gargle with a solution of 8 ounces (oz) warm water and 1 teaspoon (tsp) salt multiple times per day.
Warm beverages, such as herbal tea, could help with pain reduction. If the drink becomes too hot, it will burn your throat.
Tobacco and Alcohol Shouldn’t Be Consumed
The soft tissue of the mouth, throat, and food pipe can be affected by alcohol and cigarettes.
When Should You Consult Your Doctor?
Swallowing pain usually goes away within a few days, particularly if it’s caused by a cold. In other circumstances, however, expert medical assistance is required to diagnose the problem and treat it.
If any of the following situations apply, it’s recommended to see a doctor:
- It is unknown what causes pain while swallowing.
- The discomfort has persisted for more than a week or is becoming more severe.
- In the back of the throat, there’s a coating of white spots.
It’s also critical to understand when painful swallowing indicates a medical emergency. If a person experiences pain during swallowing along with these symptoms, they should visit a doctor right away:
- Throat swelling
- Breathing problems
- Challenges while opening mouth
- Drooling that isn’t normal
Pain when swallowing is usually only temporary, despite how unpleasant it can be.
If you get a cold, for instance, the soreness normally goes away within a week.
Treatment is generally effective if the suffering is due to a bacterial or fungal infection. People can manage their symptoms and lessen suffering using home treatments until then.