Why You Should Never Let A Throat Ulcer Go Untreated

A throat ulcer is a lesion or sore that has formed in the back of the throat. Lesions or sores that form in the lining of the upper part of the esophagus are also at times referred to as throat ulcers. Any open sore or ulcer needs to be treated. If an ulcer is causing swelling in the throat, it could become a dangerous situation, or an emergency situation if one’s air passages should become partially or completely blocked.

Potential Causes Of An Ulcer In The Throat

Infected or inflamed tonsils and adenoids are common causes of these ulcers, with tonsillitis being the most common cause, but a throat ulcer can be a product of a variety of respiratory infections. HIV infections can sometimes cause these ulcers to develop, as can the herpes simplex virus and oral thrush. Although somewhat less common, acid reflux disease can contribute to these ulcers, although when acid reflux disease causes ulcers to form, they are more apt to occur lower in the esophagus.

The formation of a throat ulcer can also be the result of a person’s lifestyle. This would most often be the case if that lifestyle included heavy smoking or drinking. Alcohol can erode the mucous lining of the mouth or throat. While such a process is a slow one, an ulcer could conceivably develop. Smoking increases the risk of an ulcer developing since it increases the risk certain bacterial infections taking hold. Stress can also increase the risk of ulcers forming. However, stress by itself does not cause ulcers to form.

Symptoms Of An Ulcer In The Throat

When an ulcer forms in the throat, there may or may not be noticeable symptoms, at least initially. The most common symptom one is apt to experience is that of having a sore throat, especially when eating. There are a number of things which can cause a sore throat, which generally is due to an inflammation of the lining of the throat. One of the tell-tale signs that an ulcer may be present is if the pain that is being experienced, is felt mainly while eating, or if a burning sensation is felt in the throat while eating.

There may be other symptoms present as well, some of which indicate the situation may be somewhat serious, or there is some risk of it becoming so. These symptoms include fever and chills, difficulty in swallowing, fatigue, headaches, and as mentioned earlier, breathing problems. An ulcer in the throat will sometimes cause bad breath, and can also cause one to cough up mucous, which can either be clear, light brown, yellowish, or green. The presence of colored mucous is usually an indication that an infection is present. Sudden swelling, severe or rapidly increasing pain, and trouble breathing would be an indication that an emergency situation, and possibly a life-threatening situation must be dealt with.

Throat Blisters Can Sometime Cause Ulcers

Ulcers in the throat are often preceded by the presence of one or more blisters, which can form when one has a viral or a bacterial infection. These blisters generally go away on their own, but they often cause a certain amount of pain while present. Treating these blisters most often focuses on providing relief from the pain they cause, and typically consists of mouthwashes, lozenges, or prescription medicines. A throat blister is not to be confused with an ulcer. A blister is a pocket of pus or fluid. Should a blister pop however, it can cause an ulcer to form.

Any Possible Underlying Causes Should Be Considered

While a throat ulcer may not in itself be particularly serious, it should always be looked into, in that it could easily become serious if left untreated. Of equal importance is the fact that an ulcer could by symptomatic of a more serious disease, one that may not previously been detected. Throat cancer would be one such disease, with the risk being that if not detected and treated early, it could spread. If the ulcer is the result of an infection, or has become infected, the infection could spread if not treated. The greatest danger in this instance would be if the infection is allowed spread into the bloodstream, resulting in a condition known as sepsis, which is a life-threatening condition. There is also the possibility of the throat itself becoming permanently damaged, making eating or drinking difficult or painful. If the larynx becomes infected, one’s voice could change, or the ability to speak could potentially be lost.

It may be tempting to think of a throat ulcer as an isolated disorder. While that can be true, it’s important to realize that a great many of the disorders affecting the throat, or the respiratory system, are located in other organs in the body, and the symptoms one might be experiencing may not give any indication as to which organs may be affected. That’s why it is so important that an ulcer in the throat be examined by a doctor. The doctor can usually tell if treating the ulcer itself is all is that required, or if more extensive treatment us called for.