The term uvula is derived from the word 'uva', which means little grape in Latin. The uvula is a small fleshy projection hanging from the soft palate, at the back of the throat. It is made up of connective tissues with racemose glands. Uvula plays a major role in articulation of sounds. While swallowing, the uvula blocks the passage that leads to the nasal cavity, thereby preventing entry of food or other liquids into the nasal passage. The uvula may get swollen and enlarged due to various reasons, and it can expand 3 to 5 times more than its actual size. The condition is termed uvulitis.
- Consuming alcohol in excess
- Viral and bacterial infections
- Acid reflux
If the condition is caused by dehydration, drink lots of water. Having some ice cream may also provide relief from the discomfort. In case of dry weather, you can get a humidifier fixed in your home. Chew on a few ice chips that will make the throat numb and reduce the inflammation. Chilled water, mixed with a pinch of turmeric may also work. Drink this water to reduce the swelling. In case of bacterial or viral infections, gargle with warm salt water. Make sure that the water is not too hot, as it can worsen the condition. Avoid having fried foods and meat. Apply a few drops of honey on the uvula, in order to reduce the discomfort. A few drops of aloe vera juice mixed with honey may also work wonders. Chewing garlic may also provide some relief.
Home remedies are found to be effective for treating the condition. Usually, uvulitis subsides on its own, within 12 to 24 hours. In case of recurrent uvulitis, medical attention must be sought. A swollen uvula can interfere with breathing, eating, and swallowing. In some cases, the condition may cause sleep apnea, as the swollen uvula obstructs the airway. Emergency medical treatment must be provided if the condition is accompanied with severe symptoms like breathing trouble.
Treatment for a swollen uvula depends on the underlying condition. Usually antibiotics are prescribed for uvulitis caused by bacterial infections. In case of itching along with a swollen uvula, antihistamines are given. Steroids may be prescribed for uvulitis caused by allergies.
Disclaimer: This article 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.