What are the Most Common Causes of Throat Swelling?

Tonsillitis can cause the throat to swell, and develops when infections of the throat are persistent.
Swelling of the throat is rarely a serious concern.
A crossection of the human head, including the throat.
Bacteria infecting the throat may cause throat swelling.
A doctor may recommend tonsil removal if tonsils are infected on a regular basis.
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  • Written By: Haven Esme
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 28 August 2015
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Throat swelling often occurs when the body is attempting to fight off an illness such as an upper respiratory infection. The glands in the neck swell in response to the immune system's attempt to fight off the bacteria. In most cases, throat swelling is not a serious health issue.

Strep throat, a common cause of throat swelling, is a bacterial infection caused by the streptococcus bacteria. In addition to a swollen throat, individuals with strep throat will also experience a fever, pain or difficulty swollen, and other cold symptoms. They might also notice white or yellow spots on the throat or tonsils.

Tonsillitis can also cause the throat to swell, and develops when infections of the throat are persistent. Tonsillitis occurs when the tonsils become infected with bacteria. It can be treated with antibiotics, but it isn’t uncommon for an individual to have the tonsils removed, especially when a person experiences five or more episodes of infected tonsils in one year. The tonsils might also be removed when the infections no longer respond to treatment.

A swollen throat doesn’t necessarily mean that a person has strep throat or tonsillitis. Glands throughout the body act as a defense against bacteria, and they can swell in response to an infection located in another part of the body. For example, skin infections in the scalp and ear infections can also cause throat swelling.


There are numerous things that a person can do to relieve throat swelling. One natural remedy is to apply heat, warming a washcloth or heating pad and apply it to the neck three or four times a day. The heat should alleviate some of the pain temporarily.

Another common cause of throat swelling is an allergic reaction. Some people suffer from throat swelling due to a food or food additive allergy. Non-food allergies can also occur, and allergic reactions can range the gamut from allergies to insects to medication. For example, an allergic reaction to a bee sting or even penicillin could cause throat swelling.

If the reason for a swollen throat is unclear, an individual should always consult a doctor. A persistent sore or swollen throat could be a sign of a serious health issue and should also be examined. A physician can examine the throat by using x-rays to diagnose the swelling and administer the appropriate treatment.


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Post 2

Good point Talentryto. A medical professional can also help the patient find the best sore throat remedies for his or her diagnosed problem.

Post 1

Throat pain and swelling are usually not symptoms of serious conditions, but anyone experiencing these problems for more than a day or so should see his or her doctor. It's better to rule out major issues and treat possible infections early than to wait until such problems get worse.

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