Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Can the uvula swell?"
I think my uvula is bigger than it used to be. Is it possible for this body part to swell? Does it mean something if it is swollen?
Uvula is that little flap of red fleshy mass that hangs down the middle of the throat from the soft palate. There isn't any general consensus on the purpose of the uvula. It is a vestigial anatomic structure without a significant function but there are some people who believe it to have a key role in speech and swallowing in that it keeps the food from going up into the nose. Your uvula can become swollen from time to time, causing it to expand 3-5 times its normal size. What causes the uvula to swell is not exactly known. However, there are several theories. Dehydration is possibly a common cause of a swollen uvula, especially if you as an infected person has been drinking alcohol or smoking. To improve the condition, drinking a lot of fluids is recommended. Viral or bacterial infection (i.e., Epstein Barr virus or Strep Throat) is another cause that gargling salt water may help in the case of a bacterial infection. Your uvula can also swell as an allergic reaction, just as an eye or nose can. It can also be a sign of other problems. However, a swollen uvula is not normally life threatening and it usually clears up within a day. If you have a frequently recurrent swollen uvula, I suggest a visit to a primary care doctor who may give you a referral to an ear, nose, throat doctor. The doctor may give you an adrenaline injection to make the swelling go down.