The throat is a muscular tube that is located in the anterior section of the neck. It consists of the voice box, pharynx, epiglottis, uvula and the lymph tissues. The food that we eat passes through the throat before it reaches the food pipe which in turn carries it to the stomach. The throat also acts as a passageway for air. The air that we inhale passes through the throat before it reaches the lungs for oxygenation. The throat also plays a role in articulation of speech. Tonsils and adenoids are masses of lymph tissues that are located in the throat. These are believed to help in fighting off pathogens that may enter our body either from inhaled air or as a result of consumption of contaminated food items. However, throat infections are quite common in children as well as adults. Throat pain, difficulty in swallowing, swollen tonsils, formation of throat bumps or fever are some of the most common symptoms of a throat infection. At times, pain may only be felt on one side of the throat. Scroll down to learn about the causes of one-sided throat pain.
Have you been experiencing throat pain on one side when swallowing? This is most likely to be caused by tonsillitis. Tonsils are lymphoepithelial tissues that are located at the back of the throat. These are two clumps of lymphoid tissues that can be seen on the either side of oropharynx. Tonsils perform the important task of trapping and filtering out the disease-causing agents such as allergens, viruses and bacteria and thus, prevent them from entering our system.
When we inhale or ingest any of these disease-causing agents, the immune system releases antibodies in order to prevent the pathogens from causing harm. Since we are constantly exposed to the various pathogens that are present in our surroundings, the tonsils or the adenoids could sometimes get inflamed. The enlargement and inflammation of the tonsils is referred to as tonsillitis. It is generally accompanied by sore throat. If one of the tonsils gets affected by infections such as strep throat, it could lead to pain on one side. Sometimes dead cells and bacteria might get trapped in the pockets that are present on the tonsils. This gives rise to the formation of tonsil stones. At times, pain may be caused due to formation of an infected sore around the tonsils.
Pain could be attributed to bacterial or viral infections that may cause inflammation of the lymph nodes in the throat. Strep throat, upper respiratory infections, common cold, glandular fever or mononucleosis are some of the conditions that could cause the tonsils or the lymph nodes in the neck or throat region to swell up or become inflamed. If the lymph nodes on one side of the throat get affected by such infections, it could lead to swollen lymph nodes in neck on one side. As a result, one might experience one-sided pain. Fever, voice changes, formation of tonsil stones, dry throat, cough, breathing difficulty, chills or body aches could also be experienced if one suffers from inflammation of pharynx or throat infections. A cancerous growth in the throat or inflammation of epiglottis are serious conditions that may give rise to pain in the throat. Tobacco use is one of the major causes of cancer of the throat.
What should one do when one side of throat hurts? Well, it goes without saying that one must consult a doctor soon. A proper medical examination will help in identifying the underlying cause of sore throat on one side. If pain is caused due to tonsillitis, doctors will try to identify the nature of infection and then prescribe medicines for the treatment of swollen tonsils. If pain is caused due to a bacterial infection, antibiotics will be prescribed. If the patient seems to be in severe discomfort due to tonsillitis and has been suffering from recurrent infections, removal of tonsils or tonsillectomy might be recommended.
If the pain is severe, the treatment will involve the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers. Those who have been experiencing severe pain when swallowing can also try some remedies. Consumption of herbal tea or hot vegetable soups might prove beneficial in alleviating the symptoms of sore throat. Add a pinch of salt to lukewarm water and gargle with this solution. It will surely provide relief from pain. Since dry throat can also cause discomfort and pain, make sure that you keep yourself well-hydrated. It would also be in one's best interest to quit smoking. Tobacco use can put one at an increased risk of developing cancer which is why one must never indulge in consumption of tobacco.
Since throat pain could be caused due to bacterial and viral infections, those of you who have been suffering from pain must consult a doctor soon.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.