The uvula is the small fleshy mass located at the posterior end of the mouth cavity, and is seen hanging from the middle of the soft palate. Sometimes, it can swell up due to various reasons.
The uvula is made of connective tissues containing racemose glands and a few muscle fibers. One of the primary functions of the uvula is articulation of sounds during speech. It also moves along with the soft palate to close the nasopharynx, while swallowing food. This action prevents the entry of food to the nasal cavity. The uvula may get inflamed due to different reasons, and the condition is termed uvulitis.
Those with common cold may develop swelling of the uvula. A swollen uvula is often seen as an allergic reaction, in those, who are prone to allergies. Viral and bacterial infections may also cause uvula swelling. Another reason is exposure to extreme hot food or drink, which can burn the uvula that may appear swollen.
Even cold foods and beverages may cause the condition. Acid reflux is a common cause for uvula swelling.
The uvula can swell up due to severe dehydration, excessive smoking or alcohol consumption, snoring, or inhalation of irritants. A mouth ulcer or a canker sore located near the uvula, can also cause uvulitis.
Such inflammation can cause difficulty in swallowing, as the uvula can expand up to five times its normal size. An enlarged uvula makes it difficult for the affected person to talk, breathe and eat.
Gargling with lukewarm salt water can relieve the discomfort. Make sure that the water is not too hot. You can even replace salt with apple cider vinegar. Add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a glass of lukewarm water and gargle the solution twice or thrice a day. Be careful not to add more than the recommended amount.
If the inflammation is due to common cold, cough or any other infection; swelling of the uvula will subside, as the infection clears.
Uvula swelling due to dehydration can be remedied with increased intake of water and other liquids. Orange juice is considered the best cure for this condition.
You can also try some home remedies, like consuming turmeric water or honey, in order to reduce the swelling.
A swollen uvula is not considered fatal, but it can cause severe discomfort. It is always advisable to consult an otolaryngology specialist to find out the underlying cause and treat the same.
Though such swelling is not a life-threatening condition, it could be a sign of underlying problems, like allergies or acid reflux. So make it a point to seek medical advice, if you experience recurrent uvula swelling.
Disclaimer: This story is for informational purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice. Visiting your physician is the safest way to diagnose and treat any health condition.