Things to know about swollen tongue

The uvula is a fleshy-like structure that hangs above the tongue in the back right in the middle of the throat. In some cases, the uvula may become swollen. What causes swollen tongue? how to treat? Read the following article of SignsSymptomsList to know more about this issue!  

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1. What is uvula and uvulitis? 

If you put your finger behind the upper front teeth, you will feel the stiffness of the upper jaw bone. Then slowly palpate back and forth, you will feel the transition from the bony area to a softer tissue area. That soft tissue area is called the soft palate. The uvula is part of the soft palate. The soft palate prevents food from flowing up into the nose when swallowed. 

Swollen uvula is a sign of uvulitis. This condition causes discomfort, but is usually temporary. However, if the uvula is severe, it can affect your ability to swallow. Less commonly, this sometimes causes difficulty breathing. 

There are many causes of swollen tongue, sometimes the disease can go away on its own or require treatment.  

>>> See also:  Numbness of the tongue and related diseases.

Things to know about swollen tongue

2. Symptoms of uvulitis 

If you have uvulitis, your uvula will become red, bulging, and larger than usual. Vulvaritis can also be associated with: 

  • Itching, burning or sore throat.
  • Dots appear on the throat.
  • Sleep.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • Shortness of breath.

If you have a swollen uvula along with a fever or abdominal pain, see your doctor right away. It could be a sign of an underlying medical condition that needs immediate treatment.

>>> See more:  Swollen tongue papillae and what you need to know to prevent .

3. Causes of swollen tongue 

There are many different causes of uvulitis. Inflammation is the body's response to an attack. Inflammatory factors include: 

  • Environmental factors and lifestyle. 
  • Infection.
  • Injury. 
  • Genetic.

3.1 Environmental factors and lifestyle 

Several environmental and lifestyle factors can trigger reactions including swelling of the uvula. These factors include: 

  • Allergies: Ingesting or inhaling an allergen, such as dust, pet dander, pollen, or food, can cause an allergic reaction in some people. One of these reactions is swelling in certain parts of the body, including the uvula. 
  • Medications:  Some medications can have the side effect of causing the uvula to swell. 
  • Dehydration: Not drinking enough water can lead to swelling of the uvula. Although uncommon, some people have experienced swelling of the uvula after drinking too much alcohol and becoming dehydrated. 
  • Chemicals and Others: Inhaling certain toxins can lead to a variety of reactions, including swelling of the uvula. Tobacco is one of these triggers. 
  • Snoring: Snoring can be a result of swollen uvula. In rare cases, snoring can also be the cause, especially if snoring causes loud vibrations on the uvula. 

>>> See more:  Snoring is more and more common: Is it really harmless?

3.2 Infections 

Certain infections can irritate the uvula, leading to swelling of the uvula. These types of infections include: 

  • Cold.
  • Flu.
  • Laryngitis.

Things to know about swollen tongue

If you have tonsillitis , the inflammation is so severe that it can push the uvula. In addition, immunocompromised patients are at increased risk of oral thrush. Both of these conditions can also cause the uvula to swell. 

3.3 Injuries 

Injuries to the uvula can be caused by disease or surgery. Excessive vomiting or acid reflux can also irritate the throat and uvula. 

3.4 Heredity 

A rare condition called hereditary angioedema can cause swelling of the uvula and throat, as well as swelling of the face, hands, and feet. 

A long uvula is also an inherited condition in which the uvula is larger than normal. Sometimes it also causes shortness of breath. However, unlike inflammation, if treatment is needed, uvula can only be resolved with surgery. 

Things to know about swollen tongue

4. Risk factors

Anyone can get a swollen uvula, but adults are less likely to get it than children. You are also at increased risk if you have: 

  • Allergy.
  • Smoke.
  • Exposure to chemicals and other irritants in the environment. 
  • Being immunocompromised, making you more susceptible to infections.

Things to know about swollen tongue

5. What can you do?

If you have a swollen tongue or sore throat, that's your body's way of telling you something is wrong. There are a few things you can try at home to ease throat problems: 

  • Cool your throat by drinking ice water.
  • Gargle with salt water to relieve dry throat and itchy throat. 
  • Get enough sleep.

Make sure you drink enough water. If your throat hurts when you drink water, drink a small amount at a time. 

Things to know about swollen tongue

Swollen uvula is an uncommon condition. Most cases will go away on their own without treatment. If the swelling of the uvula does not go away on its own and is causing difficulty breathing, you should see a doctor. Your doctor will help you find the cause and prescribe the right treatment. 

Dr. Tran Thanh Long


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