Normally a sore throat condition arises as a result of cold, flu or any other infection in the same. Though having a sore throat is common and painful, with the use of medications, we can get rid of the same, pretty quick. However, having a sore throat on one side may not be as simple as that. The reason for you developing a sore throat only on one side can be many, and for the proper treatment, you first need to understand the exact cause. Here we delve into some causes of one side sore throat and how they harm you.
9 Main Causes Of Sore Throat On One Side
1. A post-nasal drip–
Some common viral infections like the cold and flu often cause your nose to get congested. The mucus present along with the fluid drains back to the throat. In medical terms, this is known as postnasal drip. If it continues this draining the throat can feel irritation and become extremely scratchy. In such kind of scenario, the irritation may be more prevalent in one side of your throat. Unfortunately, even antibiotics cannot heal this kind of viral infection easily. Treatment, therefore, is limited only to having fluids and taking as much rest as required.
2. Throat injury–
Often there are instances where your throat may get injured, and that could lead to you facing a sore throat feeling. This situation could arise when you consume any hot food or liquid in haste causing burns to that area. Apart from that sometimes eating sharp foods like chips and crackers can be a reason for your throat getting hurt. If you have gone through a treatment where the tube has been inserted down your throat to aid in breathing it can also be another cause of hurt in the throat. Gargling with hot water may relax the situation and calm the symptoms for you.
Benign or cancerous tumours in any form in the throat may contribute to its soreness. It could be present in the back of the throat, tongue or your voice box. The tumour present may also cause symptoms like a lump in neck, hoarseness, noise while breathing, reduced weight and blood in saliva. Such symptoms may not be seen with any other disease and can cause a hurt feeling in one side of the throat.
4. Swelling in lymph nodes-
Your lymph nodes are filters which can trap virus and bacteria from moving ahead and infecting any other part of your body. Your lymph nodes which are present on either side of the throat can be the worst affected. In this process sometimes your lymph nodes may become swollen and start hurting. Conditions which can cause your lymph nodes to get infected are strep throat, ear infection, infection in the tooth, skin problems, HIV and cancer.
You may have heard about the ailment as it is seen quite often in small children. Tonsils are present at the back of your throat, and it is when they get inflamed that the condition gets aggravated. If the infection is in only one side of the tonsil, you may experience a sore throat on one side of the throat. You may also experience problems like fever, the problem in swallowing and sounds during breathing. Antibiotic treatment usually relieves of any bacterial infection.
6. Gastro-oesophageal reflux disease-
Also known as GERD the disease causes the contents present in your stomach to get stuck in your food pipe as well as your throat. This condition worsens at night and during lying down. In case the stomach acid comes forth when you are lying down it may affect your throat and cause soreness on one side. In case you do not get the condition treated soon it may aggravate into something more serious. With medications, GERD diet and bringing changes in your lifestyle, you can get rid of the ailment pretty soon.
7. Peritonsillar abscess–
Sometimes a bacterial infection can cause an abscess which is lump created within tissue and full of pus. Peritonsillar abscess happens when your tonsils are left untreated for long, and the situation worsens and becomes extremely painful. Apart from the pain it also causes a scratchiness and soreness in one side of the throat. You can also experience fever, swelling in lymph nodes and troubles in swallowing. A person who suffers from peritonsillar abscess needs immediate medical attention and should contact a doctor as soon as possible. Usually, doctors drain the abscess out using antibiotics or any other treatment.
8. Hand, foot and mouth disease–
Just like the name suggests the disease causes sores in your hands, mouth, and sores can form at the back of the mouth, and that mostly affects your one side of the throat more than the other. However, the hand, foot and mouth disease mostly affects children under the age of five years. It can also affect older children and adults, but that is quite rare. As part of the treatment, the doctors advise rest, OTC medicines for pain and fluids. If the child also faces dehydration because of inability to drink water doctor needs to be consulted.
9. Vocal cord lesions–
When you overuse your voice it can cause your vocal cords to develop lesions. Generally, these lesions are formed on one side, and hence the soreness is experienced on one side of the throat only. A person who faces these lesions will see a visible change in his voice texture. Usually, the lesions are easy to treat, by resting your voice and undergoing voice therapy you may be able to get rid of them. In a few cases, such lesions may even need a surgery which only your doctor can advise.
10. Dental work–
At times getting a dental treatment done may cause your throat to get sore. This happens when you may have used your mouth to breathe all the time the procedure was being done. However, this kind of soreness should ideally subside after a few hours of the treatment. In case it does not this would be a cause of concern and medical intervention becomes necessary. Apart from that if your tooth is badly damaged, it can also cause your throat to feel sore on the side where it is located. Getting it treated would then resolve your problem.
If the place where you are staying has a lot of allergens in the air, they can cause respiratory inflammation, and you may experience severe pain in the throat. If you smoke or are passively ingesting cigarette smoking that can also irritate your throat and make you feel the soreness. In such circumstances staying away from such irritants is the only way to stay safe.
12. Glossopharyngeal neuralgia–
This ailment may also be responsible for causing you pain on one side of the throat. Glossopharyngeal neuralgia causes the nerves in your throat, ear,and tongue to get severely damaged. People who suffer from this ailment say that the pain they experience is stabbing and you feel as if you are experiencing an electric shock. Doctors advise medications so that such nerve spasms can be controlled.
Also known as glandular fever this problem can cause a sore throat on one side. This soreness is accompanied by many other ailments like appetite loss, rashes, swelling in lymph nodes, fever, malaise etc.
14. Strep throat–
Even if it affects only one side, the strep throat can be a cause of soreness. Since people face swallowing difficulties, it invariably causes the throat to feel itchy. Such bacterial infections mostly bother children and teenagers, but others can also be affected. Diseases like rheumatism and kidney problems can also happen because of strep throat. Once a bacterial culture is performed the person is treated with the help of antibiotics. Gargling with salt water and drinking fluids are also two simple treatments suggested. Since the air of the room can increase the symptoms generally the use of a humidifier is suggested.
An infection of the respiratory tract is another bacterial infection which can be a cause of worry. The ailment is also accompanied by various other symptoms like fever, malaise, difficulty in breathing and swallowing and a hoarse voice. There are also signs of a grey membrane developing over your throat. The bacteria easily get transmitted through the air and infect others easily. Sometimes even by touching the personal things of a person, you may contract the disease.
If a person is experiencing a sore throat on one side, it could be because of the above-mentioned reasons. Generally, your doctor would suggest medications like ibuprofen and paracetamol to treat the ailment along with a course of antibiotics. But they are advised only when your culture test shows the presence of bacterial infection.
Sometimes the symptoms are quite light, and they can be treated with lozenges. However, if the problem persists for long and that too with other symptoms like fever; swallowing problems etc. it would be better if you consult your doctor. This could be the sign of something serious, and your ignorance may cause the problem to become more severe and intense with very tough forms of treatment.