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Uvula Problems

Uvula Problems

While standing in front of the mirror with your mouth wide open, did you ever wonder about that thing hanging from the roof of your mouth? Well, that is the uvula. Uvula problems arise due to several reasons. The reasons are mentioned herein, accompanied with treatment measures that could be called for.
Palmira S
Last Updated: May 13, 2018
Uvula is a fleshy, mass-like projection sited diametral from the originating point of the tongue. It is positioned at the rear edge -- a lobe -- hanging from the center of the soft palate. It is composed of connective tissues and contains a number of racemose glands and muscular fibers in small amounts. In terms of proximal relations, the uvula is a structure located near the tonsils and the epiglottis. The uvula assays a vital function in enabling the articulation of sounds. Due to the lobe being sensitive, it is prone to developing certain discrepancies.

Misconceptions deluge when the structure and location of the uvula is considered. It has, inadvertently, been confused with the tonsils. To clear the air, tonsils and the uvula are not one and the same. A pair of tonsils are sited on either side of the oral pharynx. The uvula, therefore, neighbors the tonsils. Often drawing an analogical foundation, the uvula is considered a swinging door, serving to be a barricade to guard the nasal passage from the liquid and solid substances being ingested. Two of the most mundane symptoms of an affected uvula are difficulty in swallowing, and vocalizing with strain implying discomfort. Small wonder that revered vocalists exercise caution with their vocal grange insured to maintain their priced vibratos!

Common Uvula Problems
Uvulitis
The swelling of the uvula is observed with the flap expanding up to 3-5 times than its normal size. The mucous membrane around it swells and touches the tongue, or the throat causing problems, like choking or gagging in spite of no foreign materials being present in the throat. At times, it can also cause problems in breathing, eating, and talking. Dehydration, excessive smoking, inhaled irritants, snoring, allergic reactions, bacterial, or viral infection could be some of the reasons for the swelling of uvula.

Bifid Uvula
A split, or cleft to the uvula causes bifid uvula. As compared to the normal uvula, bifid uvula has less amount of muscle in them. Bifid uvula, often, may cause problems in the ear. The soft palate is pushed backwards while swallowing the food, which obstructs the ort reaching the nasal cavity. If the soft palate is unable to touch the posteriors of the throat during the process of swallowing, it may cause discrepancies in the nasal cavity. The splitting of uvula is found rarely in adults; nevertheless, it is common in infants.

Snoring
Those who have a snoring partner by their side, would know that snores are no form of euphony. However, your partner is not to blame. Your partner does not, in the least, realize that he snores, leave alone, the guilt of how soporific you feel the next morning. Snoring is caused if a person has an elongated uvula. Uvula, if elongated, is caused to vibrate, which could be one of the major reasons for heavy breathing, or snoring problems.

Velopharyngeal Insufficiency
In a few people, uvula does not close properly against the back of the throat, which causes velopharyngeal insufficiency. While talking, for proper pronunciation of the consonants like 'b', 'g', 't', 'd' and 'p' a structure present at the back of the mouth should close. This structure includes the tongue, the palate, and the tonsils. If it does not, then it gives rise to nasal speech, wherein a large amount of extra air comes out of the nose.

Nasal Regurgitation
While swallowing food, the uvula, and the soft palate close the nasopharynx, and prevent the food from entering the nasal cavity. If, in case, this process fails, it is known as nasal regurgitation. This is mostly observed in people suffering from Neuromuscular disorders, Myositides, and VPI.

Sleep Apnea
Elongated uvula can also lead to sleep apnea. If the scar tissue is formed and the air space in the velopharynx is decreased. This may further lead to the development of sleep apnea, which is then treated by surgically removing the uvula; the surgical procedure involved is known as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP).

Treatment
Resuscitating the uvula is very important when it has been affected. Irrigating your system would moisten the uvula, and the passage for its state to return to normalcy.

Gargling with water that is heated to tepidity would serve the purpose of rejuvenating the uvula. Don't bring the water to boil, or heat it excessively. The uvula is sure to sustain burns if you do not heed the water temperature.

You may be advised by your health care specialist to have ice-creams or drain a bottle or two of cool drinks. This would soothe your chafed uvula, provided you are not prone to developing CCF (Cold/Cough/Fever) symptoms.

Cough Lozenges work well to soothe the throat, and keep it from turning dry. The dryness instigates the throat, and aggravates the condition.

Restrict eating foods that contain large amounts of fat, and carbohydrates; for instance, fried meat or poultry, pasta, rice, potato, etc.

The consumption of fruits, and fresh vegetables should be increased. Also, avoid foods that measure high on salt content.

A tankard brimming with your favorite alcoholic beverage, sure, is an irresistible proposition. Sadly, to deal with an uvula problem, you must exercise alcohol abstinence until you get better. Alcohol makes the uvula region dry, and dryness causes further irritation.

The huff and puffs may also aggravate the condition. Bar the coffin nail for a while. It would unnecessarily create a miasma of smoke in your system, delaying the uvula's recovery.

With this information at your perusal, make sure you address the situation, and follow the measures and treatment methods. If the condition is detected well in advance, there is nothing worrisome, for the problems could be dealt with ease.

Disclaimer: The article published herein, is meant to accomplish pedagogical purposes only. The information, by no means, intends to supplant the diagnosis, and advice imparted by the medical practitioner.