Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors

"What is the cause of my sore throat? "

ZocdocAnswersWhat is the cause of my sore throat?


I have had a sore throat for a little over a week, accompanied by grayish patches and several rep bumps in the back of my throat. It seemed sudden and grew in intensity prompting malaise. Some of the gray patches seem to have very thin bright red veins surrounding them. Based on simple research online, it does not look like thrush. I had experienced a sore throat about three weeks ago and was coughing up thick mucus but the symptoms subsided in less than a week. The sore throat how now returned but this time with visible patches in the back of my throat. Discomfort varies by the hour--sometimes it feels fine, other times it's irritated. The paid is more of a burning sensation. Thoughts? Please help! I am calling my PCP in the morning.


Thanks for your question. By now, I hope that you have started to have some improvement in your symptoms and that your PCP has been able to offer help. We are usually not able to provide immediate responses to these questions, and so it is important to use good judgement and call your doctor or go to the emergency room if you have serious questions or concerns. With regards to the cause of your symptoms, there are many potential explanations for a sore throat. Many of the most common are infections. Viruses are the most common causes, most of which we never know the name of and classify as the common cold. Others, such as mononucleosis, can have other symptoms such as severe fatigue. Bacterial infections of the back of the throat can also be common, such as streptococcal infections known as strep throat. In these cases, a quick treatment with antibiotics can speed recovery, and testing for these infections is readily available. As you have had a long period of this sore throat, speaking with your doctor is appropriate. He or she may be able to make further recommendations, and consider other potential causative options. Please speak with your doctor.

Zocdoc Answers is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.