Swollen Uvula: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

Swollen Uvula, medically termed as Uvulitis is not a serious medical problem to worry.

You can easily cure the swollen uvula without any treatment. But treatments helps you to heal faster. Even though swollen uvula is not a big problem, it irritates you by touching your tongue.

People often say this condition as the enlarged uvula or elongated uvula or long uvula or inflamed uvula. Some people misunderstood this condition as the swollen throat or .

In this detailed article, I answered the following 9 Questions. 

  1. What is a Uvula?
  2. What is the uvula do and purpose of the uvula?
  3. What are the causes of uvula to be swollen?
  4. What are the signs and symptoms of it?
  5. What are the best home remedies to treat inflamed uvula?
  6. How to treat the uvulitis medically?
  7. How is the swollen uvula diagnosed?
  8. When to contact your doctor?
  9. Is surgery is needed to cure inflamed uvula?
  10. How to prevent Uvulitis?

Let’s see the topics one by one in detail.

swollen uvula

Photo © A.D.A.M.

What is a Uvula?

The uvula is a small bell-shaped piece of flesh that dangles in the back of your throat.

You can spot the uvula when a person opens his/her mouth wide. Check the above image to know about the location of uvula in your mouth.

What Does the Uvula Do?

Major query among the people is what does the uvula do? Here are the three main functions or purposes of Uvula.

  1. While you swallowing food, the Uvula and the soft palate moves together to prevent food from entering the nasal cavity.
  2. The saliva produced by the uvula helps the throat to be moisture always.
  3. Uvula helps in your proper speech too! It articulates some of the consonant sounds.

Swollen Uvula Causes

The major causes for the swelling of the uvula are,

  1. Allergies
  2. Infections
  3. Trauma
  4. Genetics
  5. Excessive mouth dryness

1. Allergies                    

The allergic reaction that occurs when you touch, breath or swallow something may cause the uvula to swelling.

Some of the common causes of allergies are,

  1. Chemicals (fragrances, botanicals, preservatives and paraphenylenediamine)
  2. Toxic substances
  3. Environmental factors (Dust mites, Fungi, Pollens, and Animal dander) [Ref]
  4. Some Medications(cocaine, marijuana, etc)
  5. Foods (The most common foods that are responsible for about 90% of food allergies are as follows)
    • Eggs
    • Fish
    • Milk (mostly in children)
    • Peanuts
    • Shellfish
    • Soy
    • Tree nuts
    • Wheat

2. Infections

A viral or bacterial throat infection may also cause the inflammation of uvula.

The most common Bacterial infections are

The most common viral infections are

3. Trauma

A swollen uvula may also be caused by a trauma or injury. It occurs in a rare situation.

Some of the common injuries to the uvula are,

  • Burning sensation at uvula while consuming spicy foods.
  • During medical diagnosis such as intubation (insertion of breathing tubes)
  • During a tonsillectomy (a procedure to remove tonsils)
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Acid Reflux

4. Genetics                                

  • Hereditary Angioneurotic Edema (HANE) is a rare illness and occurs as a result of an uncommon gene mutation. This condition causes swelling in different parts of the body including uvula.
  • Cleft palate is one of the genetical disorders which commonly affects the roof of the mouth resulting in enlargement of the uvula.

5. Excessive Mouth Dryness

This happens if you didn’t drink any liquid for a long time. Drinking very hot fluids may also hurt your uvula. Uvulitis may also happen if your body is dehydrated.

Signs and Symptoms of Swollen Uvula

As like other diseases, enlarged uvula has some unique signs and symptoms. The signs and symptoms of swollen uvula may include,

  • Uvula enlarged or puffy in size.
  • Uvula turned to reddish in color.
  • Irritates you by touching your tongue.
  • Pain at the back of the throat.
  • Itching and burning sensation in your throat
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty in breathing and swallowing
  • Gagging
  • Drooling
  • Sleep apnea
  • Choking sensation
  • High fever (rarely)
 swollen uvula or uvulitis

Photo credits: 1luckygamble

Swollen Uvula Treatment: 7 Home Remedies for Swollen Uvula

Here are the 7 home remedies to cure uvulitis or inflamed uvula at home.

1. Drink Plenty of Fluids

If your uvula is swollen due to dehydration, then you have to drink plenty of fluids to reduce its inflammation. You can drink water, fresh juices, sports drinks, etc to reduce dehydration. Avoid hot fluids such as coffee, tea, etc.

The American Lung Association suggest drinking at least 8 glasses (250 ml each) of water daily.

2. The Turmeric Remedy

Turmeric is an excellent anti-inflammatory agent. It reduces the swelling in any part of your body.

  • Take a glass of water.
  • Add a tablespoon of turmeric powder in it.
  • Add few ice cubes.
  • Stir it well and drink.
  • Repeat this procedure 3 times per day to get instant relief.

3. Saltwater Gargling

Salt water gargling is one of the traditional methods to reduce the enlarged uvula and to moisten your sore throat. This method reduces your pain too! The salt water gargling reduces the upper respiratory problem that occurs due to uvulitis.

  • Take a glass of water.
  • Add a tablespoon of sea salt in it.
  • Stir it well.
  • Then gargle it for a minute.
  • Repeat this procedure 4-5 times per day.

4. Chew Ice chips

Ice is the well-known remedy for swelling. Inflamed uvula can be treated with ice chips.

Chew some ice chips whenever possible. This numb that place for a while and reduces the swelling of the uvula.

You can also eat ice creams to chill it out your swelling. Also, prefer cold water instead of normal water.

5. Garlic

Garlic has antimicrobial properties. It can enhance the immune system and relieve your respiratory infections.

Chew 2-4 fresh cloves of garlic daily to reduce the irritation that is caused by the uvula.

6. Honey With Warm Water

Honey is the best medicine for almost all kind of illness. The nutrients in honey reduce the inflammation of uvula.

  • Take a glass of warm water.
  • Add 3 teaspoons of honey.
  • Stir it well and drink 2 times per day.

You can also drink a spoonful of raw honey several times a day.

7. Aloe Vera Juice

Aloe Vera is good for a sore throat and throat infections due to its soothing and moisturizing properties. It solves the problem of excessive mouth dryness. Aloe vera can reduce the dryness of throat and thereby ease the long uvula.

  • Just squeeze the Aloe Vera leaves and get the juice.
  • Add 2 teaspoons of lime juice.
  • Mix them well and drink 2 glasses per day.

Medical Treatment For Swollen Uvula or Uvulitis

The primary medications for uvulitis are as follows. But the doctor’s advice is needed before you try any medications.

1. Antibiotics

Antibiotics are prescribed if you are infected by bacteria or virus. i.e. they may be a cause for your uvulitis. It kills the microorganisms which are present in the body. Further, antibiotics reduce the swelling and protect from further infections.

2. Antihistamines

Antihistamines are prescribed if you are prone to any allergic reactions. This medicine reduces the itching that is caused by elongated uvula.

3. Steroids

This is again for allergy. It is prescribed if uvulitis is caused by any allergic reactions. Steroids reduce your pain and swelling.

How is the Swollen Uvula Diagnosed?

An enlarged uvula is diagnosed by the following methods.

1. Blood Test

This is the initial diagnosing method to find the severity of your uvulitis. If there is a rise in WBC, then the condition is severe.

2. Uvula Culture

This is the second method to find the exact cause for swollen uvula. Doctors use the clean cotton swab to rub your uvula and take samples to test its condition. By this method, the exact cause should be revealed. They will find the exact microorganisms which make inflammation.

3. X-ray

If you are struggling to swallow and find any choking, then the x-ray is the best method to identify the cause.

When to Contact Your Doctor?

Seek immediate help from your doctor or from 911 if you face the following problems:

  • Trouble in breathing.
  • Worse trouble during swallowing.
  • You didn’t feel well even after the treatment.

Is Surgery Needed to Remove Your Uvula?

The answer is NO! Surgical removal of the uvula is rare and in the most extreme case. So no need to worry about it. If surgery is planned, then at most care should be taken before and after the uvula surgery to prevent infection. Again this is your doctor’s decision (If it is the most extreme case).

How to Prevent Uvulitis?

There are no specific methods to prevent uvulitis or inflamed uvula. Since, if the uvula is swollen due to allergy, you can’t do anything other than treatment.

But try to follow the following habits to prevent the swollen uvula as much as possible.

  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Quit smoking habit.
  • Drink a lot of water.
  • Improve your immune system to protect your body from microbial infections. Take vitamin C to boost your immune system. Also, drink the vitamin C rich juices such as orange or lime juices.

Swollen Uvula condition as commonly called as the enlarged uvula or elongated uvula or long uvula or inflamed uvula.

As I said earlier, swollen uvula or uvulitis is a common medical condition and no need of medical treatment needed. Home remedies can heal your inflamed uvula faster than usual. So no need to afraid of swollen uvula problem, until you face the above said issues such as breathing or swallowing.

Try the above home remedies and boost your immune system to prevent further health problems. Feel free to post your queries in the comments section.

About the author

Amanda kelly

She is specialized in alternative medicine. As a nature lover, she has a wealth of knowledge on home remedies for a large number of health problems. she has been trying these remedies for many years and you would like them as well. She has experience editing for both the scientific community and the general public. She joined AskMyHealth in 2015. She loves to hike, use her standup paddleboard, and enjoy all life has to offer.

Leave a Comment

2 Comments

  • My uvula is swollen. I can not bear its irritation feeling. Unknowingly i fired my uvula with red peppers. I think its hot and spicy may leads to my swollen uvula. What is the best remedy to cure it in the above. since i need a instant solution and have no time. I cant try all of those remedies one by one. Please help me out…

  • hey.. my uvula is touching my tongue from yesterday. I can not tolerate the annoyance. Today I googled and found that this is a symptom of swollen uvula. I dont know how to cure it. Afternoon I saw some of the methods in your web site. I tried your first 4 methods one by one and now i am much okay with it. I can sense that my swelling is reducing a bit and thanks a lot for this. Hope i will be free from swollen uvula tonight and morning i will go to my routine work. thanks to the author.