Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Why is the back of my throat swollen?"
I am a 32 mother of two small children with no history of allergies or infections. For the past 3 days I have experienced redness, swelling and pain in the back of my throat. I have no other symptoms. I have taken ibuprofen, but it really has not helped. Why is the back of my throat swollen? Is this serious enough to go to the doctor and what type of doctor should I see?
A swollen and sore throat can be an inconvenience and a hassle, but it can also be much more than that. The question is always, "at what point is this serious enough to see a doctor?" In general, a sore throat that lasts just a short amount of time is likely related to an upper respiratory tract infection (URI), and can be expected to improve quickly with just symptomatic relief, such as ibuprofen, warm teas and soups, and good hydration. The mucous from your nose dripping onto the back of your throat, as well as the fact that you often sleep with an open mouth when you have a cold, cause your throat to be sore for some time even after the cold has resolved. It is often worse in the morning. For adults, a strep infection, which is so common in children, is less likely to be the cause, but is still a possibility. If you see "pus bags" or blisters in the back of your throat, it would be worth consulting with your primary care doctor. Additionally, if others in your close contacts have confirmed cases of strep, it would be a good idea to discuss this with your doctor, as you could have contacted it from them. Please see your doctor if your symptoms don't improve over the next few days, or become worse.