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Throat pain: its causes, treatment and when to see a doctor

Throat pain is a type of infection in your throat that causes pain during talking or eating or swallowing. It is a kind of infection that has happened to us due to some or another cause at some point in our life. Most of us have been suffering from this infection due to cold or acid influx or allergies. Usually, people treat it as a very common infection but this infection can be severe too. Usually, it causes difficulty in eating and drinking but in severe cases swallowing becomes very difficult. This can further lead to weight loss and other severe complications. If you read further you will have a fair share of ideas about its causes and when you should go to see the doctor or what you can do to ease the pain in your throat

Causes of throat pain

There can be several causes of throat pain some of the common causes are:

 Infections caused by a virus:  some common viruses like croup, the flu virus, or the cold viruses are responsible for throat pain but rare viruses like chickenpox, measles, herpangina, etc are also seen to cause throat pain.

Throat attacked by bacteria: streptococcus is a type of bacteria that usually attacks the throat. This makes your throat swell that creates difficulty in swallowing and speaking. Other bacteria known as arcanobacterium haemoliticum are responsible for throat pain. It can also lead to rashes in the throat. This throat pain is caused by bacteria that are usually treated by antibiotics. In case of strep infections in the throat, it should be treated immediately because if left untreated it may cause serious damage to the kidney and heart.

Infection that can be caused due to the nasal passage/ sinuses: it can be by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. These are also known as post nasal drip infections. Some of the infected mucus runs back to the throat causing throat infection. 

Allergies: this is the most common cause of throat pain. Most people have this as their allergic reaction. There is no specific allergen that may cause throat pain. But the most common causes are pollen, dandelions, mold, dust, and many other similar allergens that cause post nasal drip. This can in turn cause throat pain.

Acid reflux: acid reflux can cause a sore throat that can in turn lead to cough and cold. This is different from all other causes. It is worse in the mornings than at night. This is because the acid from the stomach could enter the esophagus and enter the mouth. This acid can also cause erosion in teeth. Since in night sleep after dinner you do not feel it much.

Irritation can be caused by cigarette smoke, dry air, or chemicals: usually, throat pain always follows cold. When people have a cold they tend to breathe through their mouth. So when they come in contact with chemicals, or smoke, or dry air they inhale it through their mouth leading it to the throat. The pathogen in it causes an infection or the chemicals cause a reaction in the throat.

Laryngitis which is caused by shouting or overuse of your voice box: This is often a subject of concern for people who use their voice as their occupation. People like singers usually suffer this. It causes hoarseness in your voice and it also hurts when you talk.

Post intubation: throat pain can be caused if you have been intubated because of any injury or disease. It includes inserting a tube down your throat so that you can get extra help in breathing. If this is the cause then it will be cured in a day or two. It is a temporary infection.

Surgery: many surgeries that include the throat like thyroidectomy can cause sore throat. Apart from that, other non-invasive procedures involve endoscopy that includes the mouth, throat or the back of the throat can cause sore throat because of infection.

Cancer: This is very rare but it is found that many tumors can also cause sore throat or throat infection.

When to go to a doctor

If you just read the cause it must be very evident that sore throat can be a symptom of very dangerous and chronic as well as it can just be a temporary infection which can go away on its own in a couple of days. So how will you know when to visit a doctor?  

In case of throat pain that is accompanied by a rash, it can be caused due to bacterial infection. In that case, you do have to visit the doctor. It is the doctor’s responsibility to decide the antibiotic and its course. If there is a strep infection and you ignore it and leave it untreated it will create more complications leading to weight loss and difficulty in swallowing food.

In case of severe swelling or pain in your tonsils, you are expected to visit a doctor. 

Many throat infections lead to post nasal drips. These are the mucus running down your nose. In those cases, it is never serious but if this lasts for more than a week then you are expected to visit the doctor.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of sore throat depends on the cause of the infection. These causes of infection can be determined by various tests and labs and diagnoses. It is very hard to try to plan for the treatment by looking at the symptoms. 

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