A swollen uvula can cause concern to the person experiencing this symptom, but this is actually a common symptom that often requires little to no medical intervention. Some potential causes of uvula swelling include snoring, dehydration, or sleeping with the mouth open. Infections, mouth ulcers, or excess alcohol consumption may also lead to the development of a swollen uvula.
A dry throat is a common cause of a swollen uvula. This may be caused by dehydration, sleeping with the mouth open, or simply living in an area that has a dry climate. Those who smoke are more likely to develop uvula swelling, as are those who are exposed to air pollution.
Infections are among the most common causes of a swollen uvula. These infections may be caused by bacteria or viruses. Bacterial infections are typically treated with prescription antibiotics, while viral infections are frequently left to run their course, although antiviral medications may be prescribed in some cases.
Hot foods or beverages may sometimes burn the uvula and lead to swelling. As the burned tissue begins to heal, the swelling should go down. Alcohol abuse has been known to cause the uvula to swell in some people. Limiting or discontinuing alcohol use will typically reduce the swelling. Canker sores inside the mouth, especially those located near the uvula, may lead to swelling.
Acid reflux can lead to irritation and swelling of the uvula. This condition is normally treated with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Dietary changes may need to be implemented in order to avoid triggering the acid reflux attacks. Allergies, particularly seasonal allergies such as hay fever, have a tendency to cause the uvula to become swollen. Over-the-counter or prescription allergy medications can often prevent the development of this symptom.
In rare cases, a swollen uvula may be a symptom of a severe allergic reaction to medications, foods, or other substances. Other symptoms that may indicate a severe allergic reaction include a rash, difficulty breathing, or loss of consciousness. These symptoms should be treated as a medical emergency, as a severe allergic reaction can be potentially fatal, especially if not medically treated right away.
In most cases, a swollen uvula is not a reason to be overly concerned. With that said, if there is considerable pain or discomfort or if there are other symptoms present as well, a doctor should be consulted for further evaluation. Some causes of this type of swelling require the use of prescription medications, and it is always wise to rule out any severe medical issues.