A chronic or persistent sore throat can be quite irritating and painful. It may persist for as long as three months and interfere with your daily activities. It is important that you do not grab the lozenges the moment you feel you throat is sore. Instead, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor about recurring sore throat because it may indicate certain underlying health conditions.
Why Does Your Sore Throat Always Recur?
So many factors go into causing a sore throat. Sometimes, it is due to an allergic reaction, but on other occasions, it may indicate an infection. Here is more about some of the most common causes of a recurring sore throat.
1. Common Cold
Also known as viral pharyngitis, you may develop a sore throat because of the common cold. Other common symptoms include nasal congestion, sore throat, cough and postnasal drip.
Since it is a viral infection, you do not need to take antibiotics to treat it. You just need to take rest to provide your body with some energy to clear the infection. It usually takes 3-7 days to recover completely from colds.
The back of the palate is quite soft and moves excessively if you snore during sleep. This excessive movement can cause localized inflammation. While snoring, you also draw air through your mouth, which in turn irritates the epithelial tissue and leads to recurring sore throat. You need to talk to your doctor if you have disturbed sleep, feel tired and have throat irritation in the morning. Your voice may also be slightly hoarse after you wake up in the morning.
3. Eating Disorders
You may have a sore throat due to repeated vomiting caused by certain types of eating disorders, such as bulimia. You may also injure your throat while trying to vomit with the help of a toothbrush. Some of the signs of eating disorders include lack of appetite, comfort eating, throat irritation after eating, and obsession with body weight.
4. Acid Reflux
It may also be the reason why you have to deal with recurring sore throat. Acid reflux is the condition in which stomach acids start moving up your esophagus and this can leave your throat inflamed and sore. You have to see your doctor if you suspect acid reflux is causing problem in your case. Your doctor will use a flexible scope to examine your nose, ear and throat to confirm the problem.
You have two tonsils at the back of your throat, which work as part of your immune system to protect your body from bacteria and viruses. You develop tonsillitis when your tonsils become inflamed. This inflammation is due to a viral or bacterial infection. Some of the most common viruses and bacteria causing tonsillitis are adenovirus, Epstein-Barr virus, Streptococcus pyogenes, herpes simplex virus, measles virus, and cytomegalovirus.
The most common symptoms of tonsillitis are fatigue, fever, bad breath, sore throat, abdominal pain, dehydration, trouble swallowing, tender lymph nodes in the neck, swollen tonsils, voice changes and snoring. Tonsillitis can be acute, recurrent or chronic, so your recurring sore throat may be caused by chronic tonsillitis.
6. Strep Throat
You develop strep throat when streptococcus bacteria infect your system. Since it is a bacterial infection, you need to see your doctor and take antibiotics to treat strep throat. Symptoms of strep throat are quite similar to a cold, but you will have swollen tonsils and fever when you develop strep throat. Strep throat is amount the most common causes of sore throats in children. Your doctor may order a test that involves taking a throat culture and analyzing it to confirm the diagnosis.
7. Other Causes
You may have to deal with a sore throat often due to many other causes. For instance:
- Allergies: Your sore throat may be due to an allergic reaction caused by molds, pet dander, pollen or dust. An allergic reaction can cause postnasal drip, which may lead to inflammation in the throat.
- Dryness: Your throat may feel a bit rough and scratchy if the indoor air is very dry. This usually happens in winter when you use heating systems to keep your rooms warm. Breathing through your mouth may also lead to a dry, recurring sore throat.
- Irritants: Your throat irritation may be due to outdoor air pollution, including chemicals and tobacco smoke. Drinking alcohol, chewing tobacco, and eating spicy foods can also cause throat irritation.
- Muscle strain: Just like you can strain muscles in the arms or legs, you can strain them in your throat too. This usually happens when you try to talk to someone in a noisy environment or yell constantly at a sporting event. Prolonged periods of talking may also lead to muscle strain.
- Tumors: Cancerous tumors of the tongue, throat or voice box can cause a sore throat. You may have other symptoms as well, including difficulty swallowing, hoarseness, a lump in the neck, noisy breathing, and blood in phlegm or saliva.
How to Deal With Recurring Sore Throat Naturally
Now you know some of the most common causes of chronic sore throat. Seeking treatment for those underlying causes will help resolve the issue, but you can try some natural ways to manage your condition better. For instance:
- Get plenty of rest and give your body time to recover.
- Drink plenty of fluids and water to prevent dehydration and to keep your throat moist.
- Opt for comforting beverages and food, such as warm water with honey, caffeine-free tea, ice pops, etc. to soothe your throat.
- Use salt water – mix a teaspoon of salt to 8 ounces of water – to gargle. Do not swallow the solution.
- Opt for lozenges to soothe your sore throat, but do not give them to young children to avoid choking.
- Limit your exposure to irritants and avoid tobacco smoke as much as possible.
- Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to treat pain and fever. Do not give aspirin to young children because it increases the risk of Reye’s syndrome.