Your throat is the connection between your mouth and stomach. It’s what allows you to eat comfortably and also permits the passage of air and liquid to reach their necessary destination in your body. Essentially, without our throat, we would be unable to have elements that are essential for life: food, air, and water.
Throat problems, such as soreness or dryness, can be uncomfortable and frustrating, but more often than not they clear up on their own. However, persistent throat irritation can be a sign of a larger issue that only a doctor can diagnose and treat. At ENT & Allergy, our board-certified allergists and otolaryngologists work together to diagnose and treat throat problems. No matter if you want to know how to clear a sore throat fast, or have a lump in your throat you need to be checked out, our doctors can help.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common throat issues patients face so you can understand how to mitigate them and be proactive about finding proper treatment.
Common Throat Ailments
Your throat is constantly exposed to whatever you’re breathing in or eating. These are some of the most common throat ailments you may experience, keep in mind that many are caused by environmental factors:
Chronic cough: Chronic cough is defined as a cough lasting longer than 8 weeks. This is often quite uncomfortable, causing individuals to have difficulty sleeping and be uncomfortable in social or work situations. Luckily, there are a wide variety of etiologies for this problem which are carefully considered by your doctor.
Sore throat: A sore or scratchy throat is a kind of irritation that may feel worse when you swallow. Most sore throats are caused by a viral infection, like a cold or flu. However, strep throat is caused by bacteria and would require antibiotics for treatment.
Throat cancer: Though relatively uncommon in comparison to other cancers, throat cancer is a possible ailment. It’s important to note that HPV and other factors can increase your risk of developing it. Read more about the links between the virus and throat cancer.
Poor lubrication: Lack of saliva can make swallowing difficult. This may be caused by Sjogren’s Syndrome or a tumor or disruption in the mouth, throat, larynx, or esophagus.
While these aren’t the only throat ailments, they are the most common among patients and treatable by an ear, nose, and throat doctor.
Throat Infection Symptoms
Throat problems are often very noticeable. These are some typicalsymptoms of a throat infection, and while not every one is cause for immediate concern, seeing a throat specialist can help resolve any issues safely and effectively.
Throat mucus/lump in throat: Whether patients call it postnasal drip, phlegm, mucus, or a lump, the feeling of “something in my throat” is one of the most common throat complaints. It may be caused by allergies or overproduction of mucus.
Burning throat: A burning sensation in the throat and mouth can come from a variety of different sources. The most common sources are acid reflux disease, infection (including fungal), and allergies.
Hoarseness: Hoarseness is a very common complaint that usually resolves spontaneously over the course of days to weeks. Prolonged change in the voice can be caused by a more serious condition that requires further evaluation.
Trouble breathing: Breathing is a complex process involving the airway. When dysfunctional, the patient will have the sensation of breathing through a straw.
Trouble swallowing (dysphagia): Swallowing is the process of passing foods and liquids from our mouths into the stomach. Dysphagia can encompass difficulties in the mouth, throat (pharynx), vocal cords (larynx), and/or esophagus.
You should visit an ear, nose, and throat doctor if you experience any throat pain, difficulty swallowing, voice changes or hoarseness, feeling like there’s something stuck in your throat and lumps on your neck.
Strategies For Healing
When it comes to taking care of your throat, it’s important to not irritate it with any objects or smoke. If you do want to manage the occasional cold, you may use sore throat medicine or other sore throat remedies, such as:
Drinking honey and warm tea
Apple cider vinegar
Of course, visiting a doctor is the best way to receive treatment for any throat ailments, no matter how mild or severe they feel to be.
Finding a Throat Doctor
Finding an experienced ear, nose, and throat doctor is a comprehensive way to receive treatment for common and complex throat ailments. At ENT and Allergy Associates, our experienced physicians are trained in everything throat health and were educated at top institutions such as Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital.
Contact the team for more information on our patient services and how to find an ear, nose, and throat doctor near you. Our physicians also specialize in pediatric care, and our services extend to helping children who may be experiencing breathing problems, throat infections, and congenital throat issues.