What Causes a Swollen Uvula?

Seasonal allergies may sometimes cause a swollen uvula.
Smoking increases a person's risk for developing a swollen uvula.
Some potential causes of uvula swelling include snoring, dehydration, or sleeping with the mouth open.
A swollen uvula is not usually a medical concern.
Acid reflux may be the cause of a swollen uvula.
Quitting smoking reduces the risk of a swollen uvula.
Article Details
  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 10 November 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
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A swollen uvula can cause concern to the person experiencing this symptom, but this is actually a common symptom that often requires little to no medical intervention. Some potential causes of uvula swelling include snoring, dehydration, or sleeping with the mouth open. Infections, mouth ulcers, or excess alcohol consumption may also lead to the development of a swollen uvula.

A dry throat is a common cause of a swollen uvula. This may be caused by dehydration, sleeping with the mouth open, or simply living in an area that has a dry climate. Those who smoke are more likely to develop uvula swelling, as are those who are exposed to air pollution.

Infections are among the most common causes of a swollen uvula. These infections may be caused by bacteria or viruses. Bacterial infections are typically treated with prescription antibiotics, while viral infections are frequently left to run their course, although antiviral medications may be prescribed in some cases.

Hot foods or beverages may sometimes burn the uvula and lead to swelling. As the burned tissue begins to heal, the swelling should go down. Alcohol abuse has been known to cause the uvula to swell in some people. Limiting or discontinuing alcohol use will typically reduce the swelling. Canker sores inside the mouth, especially those located near the uvula, may lead to swelling.

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Acid reflux can lead to irritation and swelling of the uvula. This condition is normally treated with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Dietary changes may need to be implemented in order to avoid triggering the acid reflux attacks. Allergies, particularly seasonal allergies such as hay fever, have a tendency to cause the uvula to become swollen. Over-the-counter or prescription allergy medications can often prevent the development of this symptom.

In rare cases, a swollen uvula may be a symptom of a severe allergic reaction to medications, foods, or other substances. Other symptoms that may indicate a severe allergic reaction include a rash, difficulty breathing, or loss of consciousness. These symptoms should be treated as a medical emergency, as a severe allergic reaction can be potentially fatal, especially if not medically treated right away.

In most cases, a swollen uvula is not a reason to be overly concerned. With that said, if there is considerable pain or discomfort or if there are other symptoms present as well, a doctor should be consulted for further evaluation. Some causes of this type of swelling require the use of prescription medications, and it is always wise to rule out any severe medical issues.

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Discuss this Article

anon350320
Post 5

This happens to me infrequently, and I'm trying to determine the cause. I think it may be an allergic reaction, but to what I know not. Does the Monster energy drink sound possible?

kylee07drg
Post 4

I can understand how snoring could cause the uvula to swell. The poor thing vibrates back and forth all night long!

I used to make this weird growling noise with my uvula as a kid. After a few minutes of doing it, I would notice that my uvula felt really dry and a bit sore.

I can't make any strange sound that involves my uvula for very long, or it will swell. There's nothing like an enlarged uvula to ruin your day, so I try to avoid this.

feasting
Post 3

I got a swollen uvula and sore throat after a night of yelling at a concert. I was just joining in with my friends and showing support for the band, but I paid for it the next day.

When I woke up with a sore throat, I instantly knew why. I opened my mouth and looked at it in the mirror, and I could see that my uvula was bigger than normal.

I drank warm tea with lemon and honey, and that helped a little. Time was the only thing that could heal it, though.

Oceana
Post 2

@seag47 – It makes sense to me. After all, dehydration can cause your uvula to swell.

My uvula is swollen right now, because I have been sleeping with my mouth open all week. My allergies have really been doing a number on my nose lately, and when I lie down at night, I can't breathe through my nose.

I tried taking a decongestant, but that seemed to dry my mouth out, too. Either way, my uvula swells each night.

The swelling goes down in the daytime, because I can close my mouth and breathe through my nose. I also drink plenty of water during the day to rehydrate my throat and uvula.

seag47
Post 1

Even my doctor looked at me strange when I said this, but my uvula swells after I take acetaminophen. I get a really dry, slightly swollen throat, and it is very uncomfortable for about a day.

I think that the acetaminophen must be drying my mouth out. It seems that if I drink a lot of water after taking it and for the next few hours, the swelling and dryness aren't so bad.

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