If my throat is dry, why is that?
As soon as you notice that something isn't right at the base of your tongue, your first instinct is probably to find a quick fix, and the best way to do that is to identify and treat its underlying cause.
Several medical conditions, including some viruses and bacteria, as well as allergy symptoms and dry cough, can lead to a dry throat. A dry or uncomfortable throat can be brought on by environmental factors such as dry air or cold weather.
In most cases, fortunately, this symptom is easily treatable. So that you can quickly alleviate the dryness in your throat, let's examine some of the most common causes.
Why Does My Throat Feel Dry
It's possible that a number of different factors are contributing to your throat feeling dry, but let's look at some of the most common ones so you can get some relief as soon as possible.
If you haven't been drinking enough water, dehydration could be to blame for your sore throat. If you don't replace the fluids you lose, your body will become dehydrated and unable to function properly.
Dry throats caused by dehydration are usually minor and easily treated with a glass of water. It's possible to feel weak, dizzy, or even pass out from dehydration.
Besides thirst, dry mouth, dark urine, dizziness, and fatigue, dehydration can cause a variety of other unpleasant symptoms.
Making sure to drink a lot of fluids throughout the day, and water in particular, can help you combat dehydration. Electrolyte-rich fluids not only quench thirst, but also restore vital nutrients that may have been lost.
Doctors often recommend avoiding caffeinated and alcoholic drinks until fluid levels have returned to normal in patients who are dehydrated.
Mouth Open While Sleeping
How often have you woken up with a dry, tight feeling in your throat? When you sleep with your mouth open, you risk this problem. When exposed to dry air, the saliva that normally keeps the throat and mouth moist dries up, causing a sensation of dryness.
As an additional trigger, this can occur any time mouth breathing is used. Bad breath, snoring, and daytime fatigue are all co-occurring symptoms.
Waking up with a dry throat, mouth, and lips is a common occurrence, but it could be the result of obstructive sleep apnea if the snoring is particularly loud. Sleep apnea occurs when you repeatedly stop breathing during the night. Sleep apnea can lead to serious health issues like high blood pressure and heart problems if it isn't treated.
It can be challenging to breathe through the nose while sleeping if you have nasal congestion or a cold. It's possible that your dry throat will improve once your cold or allergies go away.
Allergies are a major factor in the development of throat dryness. "Hay fever" is the common name for seasonal allergies brought on by an abnormal immune response to otherwise innocuous environmental triggers.
Your immune system acts as a shield, protecting your body from potentially harmful outside influences. Some harmless airborne particles, like pollen or dust mites, can cause unpleasant physical reactions in some people.
IgE antibodies in your blood react with allergens when they enter your system. Allergens like pollen and dust have specific proteins, and these bind to those proteins. More IgE antibodies means a more severe reaction. Most allergy symptoms result from the release of histamine, which is triggered by the antibodies' attack on the allergen.
Symptoms like these include hacking coughs, runny noses, and watery eyes. It can cause stuffy nose and runny nose, though. Because of this, you may have to resort to breathing through your mouth, which can irritate and even damage your throat.
Postnasal drip may also result from an allergy-induced runny nose. Mucus contains salts that can irritate and dry out the throat.
There are many effective ways to treat allergies, which is good news. Antihistamines, which can be taken orally to prevent the effects of histamines and relieve allergy symptoms, are a popular choice. However, antihistamine nasal sprays can be sprayed directly into the nose to relieve symptoms such as post-nasal drip and congestion.
Cleared even offers allergy immunotherapy to help you avoid allergy symptoms altogether. By strengthening your immune system, immunotherapy makes you less vulnerable to allergic reactions in the first place.
Furthermore, you can lessen the impact of allergies by making adjustments to your home environment and routine. Keep your windows closed, vacuum your carpets and floors to remove dust mites, cover your furniture with dustproof material, and don't let your pets sleep in your bedroom right after they've been outside. All of these are easy adjustments that can have a major impact.
Flu or a Cold
A wide variety of viruses can cause the symptoms of a common cold. Numerous symptoms, often mistaken for allergy symptoms, can be brought on by a cold. Congestion and postnasal drip are likely to blame for the dry, scratchy throat you may experience.
Let your immune system do its job and time for a common cold to pass on its own. Make sure you get plenty of rest, hydrate well, and give your body the time it needs to heal.
A sore and dry throat can be alleviated with decongestants and warm liquids throughout the healing process.
The flu is comparable to the common cold, but it typically has more severe symptoms. Similar to the symptoms of a cold, this can cause your throat to feel dry and scratchy. However, it's frequently accompanied by other symptoms such as a high temperature, chills, a cough, achy muscles, and a drained feeling.
Serious complications, such as weakened immune systems or pneumonia, can result from having the flu. Taken at the first sign of illness, antiviral drugs can lessen the severity of flu symptoms and shorten the duration of your illness. Only catch is you have to take them within 48 hours of when your symptoms start to appear for them to work.
Resting, gargling with salt water mixtures to soothe the throat, and using over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol can help you feel better faster if you get sick.
Symptoms of strep throat include a sore, tender, or dry throat due to inflammation caused by the Streptococcus bacteria that cause the infection. It can make swallowing painful and cause your tonsils to turn red or white.
Since dryness of the throat is only one of many symptoms of strep throat, the likelihood that you would also experience the other symptoms increases. If you have it, stay away from others (and they should do the same if they do), as the disease is highly contagious.
Streptococcus pyogenes (strep) throat is typically treated with antibiotics to eradicate the bacteria responsible for the infection. These have the greatest impact if taken within the first 48 hours of illness onset. The alternative is to let nature take its course with the body. Gargling with salt water, sucking on lozenges, and taking over-the-counter pain relievers can all help alleviate symptoms.
The Problem with Acid Reflux
Acid from the stomach flows backwards into the esophagus, a condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). In humans, the esophagus is the tube that connects the mouth and the stomach. Acid reflux is a common term used to describe the symptoms.
The esophageal lining is burned by stomach acid, which can be uncomfortable and painful. However, it may also cause dryness in the throat, make swallowing difficult, and cause you to burp up sour liquids. Most of the time, it's brought on by eating too much of something fried, spicy, or fatty at once.
Neutralizing the acid that is being pushed back up into the esophagus is an effective treatment for acid reflux. For this purpose, you can take antacids, which are alkaline remedies that neutralize excess acid in the stomach. Other medications, such as H2 inhibitors, can be used to decrease the body's production of stomach acid.
Seek professional medical advice if you have acid reflux.
"Mono," short for "mononucleosis," is a highly contagious illness that can cause serious symptoms in adolescents and young adults. Symptoms like a rash, swollen lymph nodes, and a sore throat are also part of this category. Of course, you may also experience some minor throat irritation.
You will most likely have additional symptoms in addition to a dry throat when you have this infection, just like when you have strep throat. In most cases, people start to feel better in about two to four weeks, though some may continue to feel tired for much longer.
While there is no specific therapy to treat mono, as it is caused by a virus and does not respond to antibiotics, the only thing you can do is manage symptoms and stay well-rested Boosting your immune system through rest, healthy eating, and drinking fluids rich in electrolytes can help you feel better quickly.
Inflammation of the tonsils is medically referred to as tonsillitis, which is a fancy but generic term. It's the soft, oval-shaped pads at the base of your tongue. The symptoms of mono or strep throat, such as a dry, scratchy, or painful throat, can be made significantly worse by tonsillitis.
Tonsillitis symptoms can include a dry, scratchy throat, fever, red or white patches on the tonsils, bad breath, a headache, and even a hoarse voice. Antibiotics or other medications may be prescribed by a doctor to treat tonsillitis, depending on the underlying cause.
However, tonsillectomy surgery is opted for by some people who feel that they need to have their tonsils removed. If you've had seven or more attacks of tonsillitis within a year, this is something you should consider. The tonsils are a part of the immune system that helps to keep harmful bacteria out of the body by trapping them in the back of the throat when a person breathes in through their mouth. However, since they aren't essential to survival, they can be eliminated if you suffer from chronic dry mouth and throat.
Does a Dry Throat Signal a Serious Problem?
A dry, scratchy throat is unpleasant and can put a damper on anyone's day, but it's usually not serious. This is a fairly common symptom, but it usually indicates a minor problem, and it usually goes away on its own.
A doctor's visit may be warranted, however, based on your history and the presence or absence of other symptoms. You should see a doctor if you have a dry throat and are having trouble breathing, swallowing, or eating to the point where you are in extreme pain.
Last but not least
A dry, itchy throat is a minor inconvenience with a wide variety of potential causes. You may be dehydrated or breathing through your mouth at night if your only symptom is a dry throat. Other minor symptoms, such as sneezing, are also likely caused by allergies.
The flu, strep throat, mono, or tonsillitis may be to blame if you also experience body aches and fatigue in addition to a scratchy throat. Lozenges and over-the-counter pain relievers are usually effective in helping you feel better while your body heals itself from whatever ails you.
Your online allergist is here to help if you're having trouble with a dry throat despite your best efforts. Visit Cleared for a no-cost allergy evaluation with a board-certified allergist and take control of your allergy symptoms.
The Cleveland Clinic Explains Sleep Apnea's Roots, Signs, and Cures
What to do if you think you have strep throat? | The Mayo Clinic
About Mono (Infectious Mononucleosis) | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Warning Signs for Tonsillectomy | Hackensack Meridian Health
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