Pain while swallowing


Pain when swallowing

Swallowing pain (Figure 1) is often associated with a cold and disappears after a few days. But they can also be a symptom of a worse condition that should be treated by a doctor, and cause dysphagia, also called dysphagia. Here we discuss what the causes of pain in swallowing can be and how to treat it.

The causes can be quite diverse and range from a simple cold, an inflammation, to a dangerous tumor. Here is a list of potential causes of pain when swallowing:


Sore throat suffers most from swallowing associated with a common cold. In this case, they usually disappear on their own after a few days. If the pain is severe, pain relieving lozenges can help.


An influenza virus-induced flu can also be expressed by pain when swallowing. In this case, the pain will disappear along with the flu.


Inflammation of the oral mucosa (stomatitis): Stomatitis can have various causes. It can be caused by viruses or bacteria, inadequate oral and / or oral care, vitamin deficiencies or nicotine and alcohol abuse.

Inflammation of the pharyngeal mucosa (pharyngitis): It is usually caused by a virus, but can also be bacterial if it is a secondary bacterial colonization.

Esophagitis: esophagitis may be caused by a fungal infection that manifests itself in a white coating on the esophagus. Or it can be the consequence of reflux. When refluxing, the acid of the stomach flows into the esophagus and irritates it, which causes pain in the throat when swallowing. Reflux alone can lead to pain during swallowing, but it can also trigger esophagitis, which then leads to prolonged pain.

Tonsillitis (tonsillitis): Tonsillitis is easily recognizable by the typical white-yellowish spots on the tonsils. Furthermore, the tonsils are very swollen and hurt.

Enlarged thyroid gland (Figure 2): Rarely, such an enlargement is malignant (thyroid tumor). Usually it is benign and caused by iodine deficiency.

foreign body

Foreign bodies in the throat or in the esophagus: foreign bodies cause pain and must be removed quickly.

Insect bites or stings

Insect bites or stings can be very dangerous, especially if someone is allergic. When insects enter the mouth and throat together with food or liquid, insects may bite or sting. If swallowed, they can cause injury and pain in the esophagus.


Tumors: Tumors can occur at the root of the tongue, in the throat or larynx, in the esophagus or in the cervical organs.

If the pain is a concomitant of a cold or flu, you can treat it with remedies or analgesic drugs. However, if they are long-lasting, become worse over time, or if additional symptoms indicate a serious condition, a doctor should be consulted. Effective home remedies are:


It is very important to drink a lot, at least 2 liters a day. Then the mucous membranes are well moistened. Functioning mucous membranes are much less susceptible to inflammation. Some patients prefer cold, other warm drinks. Warm milk with honey, water, ginger or herbal teas, such as sage, chamomile, thyme or lime blossom tea, are ideal for drinking.

Gargle with salt water

Gargle with salt water helps effectively against pain when swallowing. The salt water disinfects the pharynx, the mucous membranes react by swelling and the pain is alleviated. One should dissolve a teaspoon of salt in 250 ml of warm water and gargle with it. One should repeat the gurgle about four to five times a day.


It depends on the patient whether he prefers warmth or cold. Warm compresses promote blood circulation, which helps the immune system. In addition, they help with the mucus solution. Cold wraps are always preferred for acute pain. For warm wraps you can make tea or potato wraps. Quark is used for cold rolls.

chicken soup

Chicken soups contain cysteine, which has an anti-inflammatory effect. Furthermore, the soup helps to provide the body with liquid.

steam inhalations

The inhalation of sage tea or essential oils moistens the mucous membranes. In addition, one should give up smoking and alcohol consumption.

But you should go to the doctor if:

  • the pain does not go away on its own after a few days or even get worse.
  • the pain is very strong or they prevent food intake.
  • Other symptoms include fever or swelling of the lymph nodes.
  • there is a foreign body in the throat.

The treatment of swallowing pain depends on its causes. There are drugs such as antibiotics against bacterial inflammation and analgesics in question or in the case of a tumor or foreign body surgery.

Swallowing pain is usually just an accompanying symptom of a cold or flu. They can be treated with natural home remedies. Otherwise, a doctor should be consulted.

As a prevention against pain when swallowing you should strengthen the immune system. This is achieved by paying attention to personal hygiene and eating healthily. That is, you should eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, because that strengthens the immune system. And you should consume as little high-fat food as this pollutes the immune system. Furthermore, it is very healthy to do a lot of sports, because that is healthy and strengthens the defense of the body.

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Christina Cherry
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