A sharp ache in your throat when trying to swallow does not have to be a side effect of a cold. It might also be a bacterial or fungal infection, an injury or sickness, or a hole in the mucous membrane that results in a throat ulcer.
They can also be associated with acid reflux and gastrointestinal disorders, and they usually continue for 4-5 days, accompanied by acute discomfort, a shooting earache, and red and swollen sores that make eating and speaking difficult. Medical professionals recommended that any non-healing or recurring ulcers lasting longer than 2-10 weeks be investigated.
“Throat ulcers are caused by a variety of factors”, says Dr. Aditya S Chowti, Senior Consultant – Internal Medicine, Fortis Hospital, Cunningham Road, Bangalore who details the causes for throat ulcers.
- The impaired immune system, especially if it is weakened due to herpes (the herpes virus may infect the lining of both the mouth and throat)
- Acidic foods such as pineapple, tomato, pepper, etc.
- Acid reflux and other stomach issues
- B-complex vitamin shortage, folic acid deficit, or mineral deficiency, such as iron deficiency
Pro Tip:Excessive consumption of acidic foods, such as citrus and vinegar, as well as caffeine and alcohol-containing beverages, might result in a throat ulcer.
Symptoms of Throat Ulcer
Throat ulcers may be accompanied by additional symptoms, the severity of which will vary. Common symptoms include bad breath, coughing, difficulty breathing, pus, sore throat, and difficulty speaking.
Occasionally, throat pain is a sign of a life-threatening ailment that requires quick medical attention. Keep an eye out for warning signals such as choking, confusion, memory loss, high temperature, and shortness of breath, all of which require rapid hospitalisation.
Pro Tip:Throat ulcers are accompanied by bodily symptoms such as body soreness, fever, and chills.
Home Remedies for Throat Ulcer
Even if your sore throat is not severe enough to set a panic alarm, it is nevertheless irritating and may prevent you from sleeping well. Fortunately, you can relieve pain and irritation using at-home remedies.
Pro Tip:Timely intervention and some natural remedies do wonder for throat ulcers.
Dr. Chowti shares a few home remedies to help prevent and ease the ulcers:
A common household cure for a sore throat; can be blended in tea or consumed on its own. Studies prove honey to be even more helpful than cough suppressants at taming overnight coughs while also being an efficient wound healer.
Pro Tip:Ginger should be crushed, and the juice squeezed, then combined with a spoonful of honey. Take it three times a day for a relaxing effect.
Gargling with warm salt water might help break down secretions, aid in killing microorganisms, and relieve a sore throat. Using a half-teaspoon of salt in a full glass of warm water, make a saltwater solution to minimize swelling and keep the throat clean. Repeat every three hours.
Pro Tip:Use rock salt for salt water gargling.
Chamomile Tea for Throat Ulcer
Chamomile tea has a calming effect, with its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and astringent effects making it popular. It has been used for therapeutic purposes like easing a sore throat, for a long time. Inhaling chamomile steam has also been demonstrated in studies to help reduce cold symptoms, including a sore throat, and help the body fight off the virus by stimulating your immune system.
Pro Tip:Make chamomile tea part of your tea time routine.
Gargling with baking soda combined with salt water can also help soothe a sore throat as it kills bacteria and stops yeast and fungi from growing.
Pro Tip: 1 cup warm water, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/8 teaspoon salt should be gargled and gently swished.
Fenugreek provides numerous health advantages, with Fenugreek tea being a natural sore throat treatment. It has been shown to have therapeutic and anti-fungal properties and can reduce pain as well as eliminate microorganisms causing irritation or inflammation.
Pro Tip:Consume it as seeds or make fenugreek tea.
Apple Cider Vinegar for Throat Ulcer
Apple cider vinegar offers a variety of natural antimicrobial properties to fight off illnesses and can be used to help break down mucus in the throat and prevent bacteria from spreading due to its acidic nature.
Pro Tip:Dilute 1 to 2 teaspoons of ACV in one cup of water and gargle with it every hour.
Garlic contains antimicrobial qualities such as allicin, an organosulfur chemical that has anti-infective properties by nature. Studies show, taking a garlic supplement on a regular basis can aid in the prevention of the common cold virus.
Pro Tip:Including fresh garlic in your diet can also help you get the benefits of its antibacterial characteristics.
Foods that cause acid reflux, such as spicy, acidic, fatty, and fried foods, should be avoided. Raise the head of your bed when sleeping to keep stomach acid at bay. If necessary, make the following changes to your medications: Consult your doctor to see if any of the medications you’re taking can create ulcers in your throat.
Pro Tip:Stick to pureed foods for a few days till the ulcer settles down.
When To Go To The Doctor
If the ulcers don’t go away after a few days, or if additional symptoms appear, such as heartburn, difficulty swallowing, rash, fever, chills, decreased urine, dyspnea, or vomiting blood, it’s vital to get medical help right soon. Also keep an eye out for COVID.
Pro Tip:Even if there are no other symptoms, get medical attention as soon as throat ulcers occur.
Q. Will throat ulcers heal on their own?
A. Throat ulcers will most likely go away on their own in a few days if you follow your doctor’s instructions and practice home remedies.
Q. What should I eat if I have a throat ulcer?
A. Smoothies, shakes, yoghurt, puddings, and puréed soups are examples of soft or pureed foods that perform well. Before eating, soften the meal with liquids and mash it.
Q. How long can a throat ulcer last?
A. Infections normally subside within a week or two. Antibiotics and antifungal medications can speed up the healing of a bacterial or yeast infection.
Q. Is milk good for ulcers?
A. An ulcer can’t be prevented or treated with milk. In fact, it may aggravate the situation by causing your stomach to produce more acid.