What Are the Causes of a Persistent Sore Throat?

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  • Written By: Valerie Goldberg
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2016
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Basic throat pain or irritation, which may be made worse by swallowing, is known as a sore throat. While many sore throats clear up quickly with the use of prescription medications or over-the-counter remedies, a chronic or persistent sore throat can last for weeks or months. There are a variety of issues that can cause a chronic sore throat, including — but not limited to — smoking, throat tumors, allergies and chronic illnesses such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

Cigarettes have chemicals in them that can cause throat irritation. Regular smokers may develop a persistent sore throat as a result of inflammation from these substances. People who live with smokers or spend a lot of time around smokers also may be at risk.

A person who has a persistent sore throat and is not finding relief should seek medical attention, especially if he or she notices a lump in the throat or neck. A long-term sore throat combined with a neck lump can be a sign of throat cancer. A medical professional can do a biopsy to see if the tumor is cancerous or if there is another condition causing the symptoms.


Common allergens also can cause a persistent sore throat. Household mold is one allergen known to cause long-term sore throats. Even if mold is not visible in a home, it can be hidden in vents and behind walls. If a patient notices that his or her sore throat symptoms are worse at night and better when long periods of time are spent outside of the house, mold may be the culprit.

Serious conditions also can cause a person to have a persistent sore throat. HIV causes an infected patient to have a compromised immune system. Having an impaired immune system makes HIV patients more prone to catching viruses and infections, both of which can lead to sore throat pain. Patients infected with HIV also have a high risk for oral thrush, which is a yeast infection of the mouth. Left untreated, thrush can cause a sore throat as a side effect.

Simple lifestyle changes can help to make a difference in the lives of people who have chronic sore throats. Allergy suffers should do their best to avoid allergy triggers and take medications as directed by a doctor during allergy season. People should avoid being exposed to tobacco smoke to prevent throat irritation. Smokers should consider speaking to a healthcare provider to get the support needed to quit.


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Post 5

There is a nasty new respiratory virus in circulation that causes a chronic sore throat that lingers for months, and often never fully disappears.

This virus also causes other physical symptoms, such as a constantly congested nose/sinuses, producing thick, heavy mucus, and a fine wrinkling of the skin that looks a bit like crêpe paper.

The worst symptoms this virus can trigger however, are the ones that affect the mind, with this virus often precipitating mild fatigue, memory problems and word recall problems in many people, and occasionally precipitating severe anxiety and depression symptoms.

Post 4

I had both allergies and thrush together, and it was a painful combination. I have always suffered from allergies, and even though I take an antihistamine every day, I have post-nasal drip. This irritates my throat.

The white lesions all over my throat and tongue from the thrush are caused the pain, though. Every time mucus would drip down onto them, I would feel a rush of pain.

I had been using a corticosteroid nasal spray, and my doctor told me that this could actually be contributing to my thrush. She told me to stop using it and start eating yogurt to destroy the yeast, and she prescribed me a new type of antihistamine pill. I got better in less than a week.

Post 3

@cloudel – It is probably a sinus infection. I had the symptoms you are describing two years ago, and that's what it turned out to be.

I did think it was so weird to have it on just one side. Like you said, rather than a terrible soreness, it was just a dry feeling when I swallowed. It was more uncomfortable than painful.

Since it didn't seem to be going away, I went to my doctor. She gave me steroids and antibiotics, and I recovered in just a few days. If I had known it would be that easy to recover quickly, I would have gone weeks ago.

Post 2

Has anyone here ever had a sore throat on only one side? I am dealing with this right now, and it is a first for me. I usually have an allover sore throat, but it is confined to the left side.

When I swallow, it feels like the saliva is moving across something hard and dry. I have looked in the mirror with my mouth open, and I can see white spots back there.

I know it isn't strep throat, because my throat isn't swollen, and I don't have a fever. Does anyone know what this might be? It is the strangest sore throat I have ever had, and it has stuck around for about three weeks now.

Post 1

My friend's young daughter had a sore throat that lasted for over a month. Her doctor could not find what was causing it, so she recommended that my friend have her house checked for mold.

After the inspection, she learned that mold was all inside her walls. Since she had rented the home, she decided to move out. She had an inspection done on her new rental before agreeing to rent it.

Her daughter was born with a weak immune system anyway, so she was super sensitive to environmental factors like mold. It didn't even bother my friend.

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