Sore throat is one of the most common symptoms seen in a general practitioner’s clinic. It is a troublesome symptom that fortunately is rarely due to a serious condition such as cancer. Most sore throats resolves on its own within 1-2 weeks. However, if your sore throat lasts longer than this, it is best to see a doctor to get an assessment. Let’s take a look as we explore some of the common reasons for a burning throat.
1. Viral infection
Having a viral infection that can come in the form of colds and flus are the most common cause of throat burn. The flu virus attacks the respiratory system which includes the throat. Usually, a person suffering from a cold will experience other symptoms such as a sore throat, persistent cough, runny nose, aching muscles, headaches, congested nasal passages, and general fatigue. Generally, these symptoms should clear up within a week or so. Antibitoics are usually not required. Getting plenty of rest and sleep as well as good hydration can help you to recover quicker!
2. Tonsil infection (tonsillitis)
Right at the back of the throat are oval-shaped lumps of tissue known as tonsils. Tonsils help to build the immune system which fights off viruses and bacteria. When tonsils are infected, they get inflamed and swell, resulting in a condition known as tonsillitis. Some of the symptoms include severe pain and discomfort in the throat, headaches, enlarged lymph nodes and fever. If your child experience frequent tonsil infections, you may need to bring them to see an ENT specialist in Singapore.
3. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
GERD occurs when the stomach acid flows back into the esophagus frequently, a tube that connects the throat to the stomach. This is a result of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) muscle in the esophagus weakening or relaxing abnormally. Sometimes, stomach acid can rise into the back of the mouth, causing irritation and inflammation, thus the sensation of a throat burn.
Heartburn is commonly experienced with GERD, and it includes other accompanying symptoms such as trouble swallowing, hoarse voice and a sour-tasting liquid at the back of your throat. Try avoiding GERD-triggering foods such as spicy foods, chocolate and citrus fruits, and going to bed too soon after eating.
4. Postnasal drip
Postnasal drip refers to a condition where mucus and fluid from sinuses and nose drain into your throat. This can bring about a sensation of something dripping into your throat, causing irritation and leads to a burning feeling in the throat. If you have postnasal drip, you can also experience a cough as you constantly try to clear your throat. Postnasal drips can be caused by allergies, sinus infections and viral infections like the common cold.
5. Burning mouth syndrome
Burning mouth syndrome is a complex medical problem that can cause severe and recurrent burning sensation in and around the mouth – tongue, lips, gums and throat. You might also experience loss of taste, dry mouth and a bitter taste in your mouth. This condition is most commonly found in adults over 60 years old, and estimated to occur more frequently in women than men. Medications are often prescribed to help you manage the symptoms and pain.
There are many reasons why you may be experiencing a burning throat. Some can be treated with a primary care doctor and home remedies. Otherwise, depending on the severity, frequency and other accompanying symptoms present, you may need to see an ENT specialist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.