Do You Get Sore Throat When Swallowing Food? Here Is Why

It is relatively common to experience a sore throat while swallowing and it can afflict a person at any age. There could be any reason to feeling the same, and it could also happen as a result of any infection or maybe an allergic reaction. Generally, if the throat becomes painful and you are unable even to drink and eat properly, you should consult a doctor immediately. Let us have a quick look at what causes a sore throat while swallowing and all other aspects associated with it.

Causes of a Sore Throat When Swallowing

There can be many reasons for facing an irritated throat when swallowing. However, some most common causes for the same could be.

  • Flu
  • Common cold
  • Strep throat kind of infection
  • Acid reflux
  • Tonsillitis
  • A chronic cough
  • Swelling in the lymph nodes
  • Infection in the ear
  • Injury to the throat
  • If you have swallowed very large sized pills
  • Not swallowing edgy foods properly for example crackers, chips etc.
  • In some cases, painful swallowing could also be because of any cancer such as esophageal cancer.

Apart from this, some other causes may include ailments like:

  • Strep throat – an infection of the throat caused by the Streptococcal bacteria and causing pain in the soft palate.
  • Epiglottitis that causes inflammation of the flap in the back of your throat also known as epiglottis. This is accompanied by difficulty in swallowing, high fever, drooling etc.
  • Yeast infections which are caused in the mouth, food pipe and the throat can also cause a sore throat while swallowing. These may also cause a change in taste, patches on the tongue, and redness in the mouth and its corners.
  • Esophagitis an inflammation caused in your oesophagus. It is a direct consequence of gastric reflux disease, and its symptoms can be extremely severe like stomach pain, chest pain, coughing, heartburn and nausea.

Complications that can arise

Facing a sore throat while swallowing is not an easy ailment. Apart from the normal symptoms, you may also face a set of other complications which are bound to aggravate the situation further. Some such complications may be:

  • Infection in chest
  • Bacterial or viral infections
  • Temporary or permanent loss in taste
  • Swelling in the lymph nodes which may make it difficult for you even to turn your neck around.
  • Fever and chills.
  • A headache
  • A dry cough
  • Inflamed tonsils
  • Sweating

Though these symptoms may go away easily at times, the situation may worsen and if the following situations arise you must take medical help at once.

For a child

  • Difficulties in breathing
  • Problems caused while swallowing
  • A significant amount of drooling
  • Visible swelling in the throat

For adults

  • Problem in opening the mouth
  • Swallowing issues
  • Pain in the throat which keeps getting worse
  • Breathing troubles
  • Blood in a cough
  • Symptoms that usually last one week or more
  • Hoarseness in voice for a prolonged period.
  • Pain in joints
  • Rashes
  • Lump in the neck

If these symptoms keep worsening it would be better if you consult a doctor as the situation may be worse then what you perceive.

How to diagnose a sore throat which occurs when swallowing?

First of all, when you visit your doctor, you would have to discuss every detail of your ailment with him. Describing all your symptoms would ensure that your doctor gets to know the underlying cause. There are certain tests which your doctor may advise to get to the root of the problem.

  • A complete blood count blood test can be advised. This will help the doctor to know if your body is currently facing any bacterial or viral infection.
  • A CT scan or MRI may be suggested as that gives an elaborate picture of your throat and the doctors usually need it when the situation is going out of control. If you have a tumour in the throat, these tests can help detect it.
  • Using a throat swab culture a sample of mucus from the back of your throat would be taken. This test checks different organisms that are present in the throat and are causing an infection.
  • Sputum culture involves taking a sample of the same and test again for any outward organism. The test can help diagnose what infection is causing sore throat when swallowing.
  • Barium swallow test happens when X rays of your oesophagus are conducted. The patient is made to swallow a special liquid which has barium in it. The barium swallow test helps the doctor to trace the movement of food from mouth to the stomach and whether there are any obstructions to the same.

Treatment for a sore throat when swallowing

Since the reasons for experiencing a sore throat while swallowing can be varied the treatment for each also depends on the severity. If the ailment is because of tonsillitis or infection in oesophagus etc. most likely you would be prescribed antibiotic treatment. This may comprise of oral antibiotics and mouthwash to numb the soreness in your throat.

If the soreness is accompanied by pain, the doctor may give a throat spray to ease the same. You may also be given anti-inflammatory medicines which can reduce the inflammation in throat, oesophagus and tonsils. However, if your tonsils may not show any signs of healing and you are still experiencing trouble swallowing doctor may suggest surgery to remove the same. Also, known as tonsillectomy the surgery allows you to go home the same day it is conducted.

Home remedies for Such a Sore Throat

If the problem has just started and symptoms are yet not severe you can use the below home remedies to provide yourself with some immediate relief.

  • Drinking a lot of fluids helps. This not only keeps you hydrated but also soothes and moistens your throat to provide respite. If the liquid is warm, then it also works in easing the pain caused.
  • You can take eight ounces of water and mix one teaspoon of salt in it. Use this to gargle at the back of your throat. Doing this at regular intervals can reduce pain and inflammation caused.
  • Tea mixed with honey is also a quick treatment that you can try.
  • Stay away from substances which you know are going to irritate. These would include common allergens, cigarette smoke and chemicals.
  • Herbal lozenges in flavours of liquorice root, sage and honeysuckle flower can be easily purchased from a drug store.
  • Humidifier converts water present into moisture, and that slowly fills the air in your room. It will increase the humidity in your room. When you breathe in the moist air, your throat feels relaxed, and the soreness reduces. To get a similar result, you can try taking a hot water bath.
  • In case you are facing sore throat because of acid reflux disease you can consume antacids to get rid of it.
  • Though no concrete evidence is there to prove this marshmallow root can be effective in reducing the pain. You can mix it with water and apply the paste on your throat to get some relief from the soreness.
  • Raw garlic, when consumed in a crushed form, can have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties as well. However, the taste may be a little tough for you to bear hence add a teaspoon of honey to the same and then take it in for immediate relief.
  • A bowl of homemade chicken soup is your saviour in case you are facing a sore throat while swallowing. Having the same also keeps your tummy full and nourishes the body as well.
  • Apple cider vinegar comes equipped with antibacterial properties and can reduce the soreness that you are facing. Drink 1 cup of warm water along with one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar is going to prove beneficial. Optionally you can also add a teaspoon of honey for better results.
  • Lemon water contains enough of Vitamin C and anti-oxidants, and that is what works for you. You can combine lemon with warm water or honey, and salt water is a technique which can provide the kind of respite that you require.
  • Ginger root extract was applied to the throat swabs of people who were facing the problem, and the result was a visible reduction in the bacteria present. You can purchase ginger tea from retail stores and can even attempt to make at home.
  • Coconut oil has proved to lubricate the mucous membranes that are present in the throat. You can mix a teaspoon to soup or hot tea and cocoa. However, limit your consumption only to 30 ml per day else it may act as a laxative.

However hard you may try a sore throat while swallowing is an ailment can happen to anyone. When that happens, initial efforts to curb the same can reduce the soreness and pain caused. If you realise that more than a week has passed and you are still not getting relief, then you should contact your doctor immediately. A simple medication should help you get respite from it. You can even follow the home remedies in case you think that your symptoms are not very severe as yet.

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Sagar Papneja

For me, health is about sustainable living and consuming environmentally conscious food; I am a vegan.

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