We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Uvulitis?

By Misty Wiser
Updated Feb 03, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Uvulitis is the inflammation and enlargement of the uvula. This small dangling piece of oral tissue is located at the back of the throat, and it can easily be seen when the mouth is open. Touching the uvula activates the gag reflex, and if the tissue is swollen, a person may constantly experience a gagging sensation. The condition normally subsides within 24 hours, but if it persists more than a day, an individual should see a healthcare professional so that it can be evaluated.

Symptoms of uvulitis usually begin with a sore throat. A person may later notice pain when trying to swallow food or liquid. The uvula may become so enlarged that it touches the back of the throat or the tongue, and this can cause the sensation of having a lump in the throat or activate the gagging reflex. Air flow may become restricted through the throat by a swollen uvula, causing breathing problems. Snoring may cause this problem or become more noticeable when the uvula is inflamed.

Many different factors may prompt the inflammation. The most common cause is either a viral or bacterial infection, although an allergic reaction to an inhaled allergen may cause a life-threatening swelling. A person should seek out emergency medical treatment if allergic uvulitis is suspected.

Other possible causes have not been proven. It is believed that cigarette smoking may cause irritation to the mucus membrane covering the body of the uvula. The delicate covering may also become inflamed after breathing in hot, dry air. Constricted air movement during snoring is thought to result in a swollen uvula.

Treatment of uvulitis varies depending on the source of the inflammation. Antibiotics may be prescribed if the inflammation is caused by a bacterial infection. Viral infections are treated symptomatically, and an antiseptic mouth spray can be used to numb the sore uvula and prevent the growth of other microbes. Corticosteroids and an antihistamine may be prescribed to further reduce the inflammation. Some people gargle saltwater for 15 to 20 seconds to act as an antiseptic painkiller.

The uvula may need to be surgically removed if repeated inflammation and enlargement occurs over time, and this is done during a procedure called an uvulectomy. Excising the uvula is recommended to treat obstructive sleep apnea and reduce snoring. After the uvulectomy, painkillers and antibiotics may be prescribed for up to ten days. Cold food, like ice cream, may make the healing period more comfortable.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By anon997461 — On Jan 11, 2017

Last night I had difficulty breathing. When I woke up I felt something on my tongue. I used a mirror to see what happened, and I saw my Uvula on my tongue, its size was so big.

I visited the ENT and she wrote three types of drug for me; Amoxilin 625mg X24tab, Chloropheniramine Maleat 4mg X10tab.

I think the main causes of my sickness are:

Smoking: I gave up smoking for two months and I'm just using Vape, But yesterday I smoked five cigarettes.

Dry and hot air: For a month, I've been using air conditioning to warm my bed room. I feel the air of the room is hot and dry.

By anon326712 — On Mar 23, 2013

I'm 49 (M) and this is the first time in my life I've ever had uvulitis; it came about as a side effect of dual ear/throat infections. The doc has me on antibiotics and numbing spray as mentioned in article.

The uvula contains sensitive glands so I would think that piercing it is definitely something one should not do.

By ceilingcat — On Jul 19, 2011

@Monika - That is my fun fact for the day. I didn't know the uvula had an effect on anything except the gag reflex! I do know that when someone intentionally makes themselves throw up, they trigger their gag reflex by touching their uvula.

However, not everyone has a sensitive gag reflex. I actually met someone once who had their uvula pierced! This seems pretty risky to me, especially now that I've read this article. I'm sure that if the piercing got infected it could result in uvulitis.

By Monika — On Jul 18, 2011

Wow! Who would have thought such a tiny body part could cause so many problems!

Most people don't pay too much attention to the uvula, but it actually plays a big role in speech. There are many sounds that couldn't be made without the uvula. One example is the "clicking" sound that is used in some African languages.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.