What are the signs of throat problems?

Symptoms of the throat, or pharynx, include a variety of abnormal or unusual sensations or problems of the throat. Your throat is a tube that begins at the back of the mouth and transports air to your trachea (windpipe) and larynx (voice box). The throat also delivers food to the esophagus, which is connected to the stomach. In addition, the throat contains the epiglottis, which prevents the inhalation of food into the windpipe; and the hyoid bone, which serves as an anchor point for the tongue.

Throat symptoms can vary greatly in character and severity depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Common throat symptoms include:

  • Change in voice, such as muffled or altered speech or hoarseness
  • Dry throat
  • Feelings of itchiness or tickling in the throat
  • Persistent irritation
  • Phlegm or mucus buildup due to postnasal drip, infection, or inflammation
  • Sore throat
  • Swallowing problems, such as difficulty swallowing (dysphagia) or painful swallowing (odynophagia)
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Throat lumps or growths
  • Throat pain
  • White patches on the tonsils and throat

Depending on the cause, throat symptoms can last briefly and disappear relatively quickly, such as when symptoms develop during the common cold. Throat symptoms can also recur over a longer period of time, such as when symptoms are caused by throat cancer.

While some throat symptoms are minor and may go away on their own over time, certain underlying causes of throat symptoms can be serious or life threatening. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, are choking or have difficulty breathing; a change in alertness; or swelling of the throat, lips, mouth or face.


What other symptoms might occur with throat symptoms?

Throat symptoms may accompany other symptoms in other body systems or areas. Additional symptoms can vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition, such as with infections, allergies, and certain digestive diseases, including gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Symptoms of infection that can occur with throat symptoms

Infectious diseases, such as t... Read more about throat symptomssymptoms


What causes throat symptoms?

Throat symptoms may be caused by a wide array of conditions, including infectious diseases, allergies, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backs up into the esophagus. Certain types of head and neck cancers may also cause throat symptoms that include difficulty swallowing, sore throat, and ... Read more about throat symptomscauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 20, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Ear, Nose and Throat

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