The uvula is the conic protrusion from the posterior edge of the middle of the soft palate. It comprises connective tissue and many racemose glands as well as muscular fibers. The uvula is one of the several important organs for articulation of the human voice. If the uvula is touched or massaged the gag reflex is initiated and it may lead to ejection of the stomach contents.
Presentation of Uvula Swelling
Uvula swelling can be accompanied by many symptoms and signs. They generally depend on the actual cause of the swelling. Majority of patients complain about discomfort or pain during the act of swallowing, tightness in the throat, hoarse voice and uncontrollable need to cough. Inspection of the oral cavity gives perfect insight in edematous uvula and there may be also swelling of the nearby tonsils. Additional symptoms include nausea and increased impulse to vomit, increased body temperature and headache.
Causes of Uvula Swelling
There is a variety of factors which can contribute to uvula swelling. One of the most common causes of uvula swelling is snoring. Occasional snoring, which is usually associated with nasal congestion, can lead to swelling of the uvula and accompanying symptoms and signs. The swelling in this case can be easily explained. Namely, snoring can be furious and vigorous and last all night long. One may wake up with a sore throat. He/ she may also have sensation that something round has stuck at the back of the throat. In people who snore exposure of the uvula to dry air as well as excessive vibration are main causes of uvula swelling.
Apart from snoring uvula swelling can also affect people suffering from dehydration. It may additionally develop as a consequence of burns of the tongue caused by overly hot drink or food. Hot food or drinks can scald the surface of the tongue, soft palate and uvula. Irritated mucous membrane is irritated, inflamed and edematous.
Uvula swelling may also occur due to certain bacterial or viral infections. For example, it affects people suffering from chicken pox and is also possible in common cold, diphtheria and measles. Infection of the oral cavity spreads onto the uvula and causes symptoms and signs of its swelling.
Home Treatment for Uvula Swelling
Uvula swelling caused by bacteria is treated with antibiotics. Further relief can be obtained from a humidifier, warm drinks such as tea with lemon or honey and in some cases gargling peroxide can cause reduction of the swelling. Dehydration is brought under control with plenty of fluids.