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"I have had a sore throat on and off for a while. What could it be?"

ZocdocAnswersI have had a sore throat on and off for a while. What could it be?


I've been to my family doctor and had a throat swab but cam back normal. If it was cancer would it show up on a swab test...I suffer from depression and I am having bad panic attacks...please help


Having a sore throat can be a very uncomfortable feeling. So far you've done the right thing which is to present to your primary care physician's office and get a throat swab for strep. Since it came back normal it does not seem like you require antibiotics for this problem. Your doctor should look for another cause of your sore throat. The most common causes of sore throat include viral pharyngitis, postnasal drip from a viral upper respiratory tract infection, and gastroesophageal reflux disease. If you have a runny nose then postnasal drip is likely the cause of your sore throat. If you have a viral pharyngitis, your throat will feel sore for a while but will get better over the course of one to two weeks. If your sore throat does not get better over 1 to 2 weeks then it really might be gastroesophageal reflux disease also known as acid reflux. This would especially be true if you found that your throat was most sore in the mornings. Acid travels up the esophagus and irritates the throat. I would suggest that you return to your primary care doctor for another examination. He or she will examine these other possibilities. If postnasal drip is suggested then you might get a prescription for a decongestant or nasal spray. If acid reflux is suspected then you could get a prescription for an antacid.

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