Uvulitis is inflammation of your uvula, the fleshy, teardrop-shaped piece of tissue in the back of your throat. The condition can be caused by infection, allergies or trauma. Depending on the cause, uvulitis treatments may include antibiotics, antihistamines or, in some cases, surgery.


What is uvulitis?

Uvulitis is another word for a swollen uvula. Your uvula is that little fleshy piece of tissue that hangs from the roof of your mouth.

Your uvula serves a purpose. It secretes saliva to keep your mouth lubricated. It also prevents food and liquids from entering the space behind your nose. But if your uvula becomes swollen, it can feel pretty irritating. The good news is that uvulitis is usually temporary.

Since uvulitis is commonly associated with other conditions — such as infection, allergies or trauma — and treating the underlying cause usually eases your uvulitis symptoms.


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How common is uvulitis?

Uvulitis is a common condition. It often develops when other areas of your mouth are inflamed, such as your throat, tonsils or the roof of your mouth.

Is uvulitis serious?

Most of the time, an inflamed uvula isn’t serious and usually goes away in a couple of days. But if swelling becomes severe, uvulitis could interfere with breathing and swallowing.


Is uvulitis an STD?

No, uvulitis isn’t a sexually transmitted disease or infection (STD or STI). But it can be a possible symptom of certain STDs, like syphilis and gonorrhea.

Swollen uvula and COVID-19: Is there a link?

Some people with COVID-19 may develop an inflamed or swollen uvula. But it’s not a common symptom.


Symptoms and Causes

What are some common uvulitis symptoms?

Symptoms can vary depending on the underlying condition. Possible uvulitis symptoms include:

How do you get a swollen uvula?

There are several factors that can lead to uvulitis. Some of the most common swollen uvula causes include:

  • Allergies. Some allergens, like pet dander, dust, pollen or certain foods, can cause your uvula to swell.
  • Environmental irritants. Smoking tobacco or inhaling certain chemical substances can irritate your uvula and lead to inflammation.
  • Snoring. Severe snoring or obstructive sleep apnea is often associated with a swollen or sore uvula. (Snoring can be a cause or a symptom of uvulitis.)
  • Certain medications. Some drug side effects can cause your uvula to swell.
  • Dehydration. Poor hydration can be a factor for uvulitis. In fact, some people have reported a swollen uvula after alcohol overindulgence.
  • Viral or bacterial infections. Some people get uvulitis as a symptom of infections like strep throat, tonsillitis, the flu, mononucleosis and the common cold.
  • GERD (chronic acid reflux). Severe acid reflux can lead to irritation of your throat and uvula.
  • STDs. Certain STDs, such as gonorrhea and syphilis, could cause your uvula to become swollen.
  • Trauma. Your uvula could become injured as a result of certain surgical procedures, such as tonsillectomy. Uvulitis could also happen from intubation during surgery with general anesthesia. (Intubation is when your healthcare provider places a flexible plastic tube down your throat and into your windpipe to help you breathe.) Uvulitis caused by trauma usually improves on its own in a week or two.
  • Genetics. Certain genetic conditions can result in uvulitis, such as hereditary angioedema.

Is uvulitis contagious?

Uvulitis itself isn’t contagious. But the viruses and bacteria that cause it can be spread from person to person.

If you’ve been diagnosed with a contagious bacterial or viral infection, be sure to wash your hands frequently and stay home if you have a fever.

Diagnosis and Tests

How is uvulitis diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will perform a physical examination and ask you about your symptoms. They may also request certain tests to see what caused the inflammation. These tests may include:

Management and Treatment

How do you get rid of uvulitis fast?

The quickest way to get rid of uvulitis is to treat the underlying condition. For example, if your uvula swells as a result of allergies, then antihistamines may reduce your symptoms. If uvulitis is a complication of tonsillitis, then your healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotics to treat your condition. If you have severe inflammation, then corticosteroids can reduce swelling and help you feel better fast.

If conservative treatments don’t work, or if you have chronic uvulitis, you may need surgical uvula removal. During this procedure, your surgeon removes part or all of your uvula.

Are there home remedies for a swollen or sore uvula?

There are several things you can do at home to relieve your uvulitis symptoms:

  • Drink lots of water.
  • Get lots of rest.
  • Suck on throat lozenges.
  • Eat ice chips.
  • Use a humidifier.

Do I need to go to the doctor for uvulitis?

Often, uvulitis goes away on its own in a couple of days. But if your symptoms are severe — or if they linger for more than a few days — you should schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider.

How long does it take to recover from uvulitis treatment?

Recovery times can vary for each person. But most people notice an improvement two to three days after beginning treatment.


How can I reduce my risk for uvulitis?

Uvulitis is a symptom of many different conditions, so you can’t prevent it altogether. However, there are things you can do to reduce your risk:

  • Don’t smoke.
  • Avoid allergens as much as possible.
  • Avoid chemical irritants and other environmental triggers.
  • Practice safe sex (since uvulitis is linked to some STDs).

Outlook / Prognosis

What can I expect if I have an inflamed uvula?

Your healthcare provider will examine you to determine what caused your uvula to swell. Then, they’ll treat the underlying problem. In most cases, this involves taking antibiotics, antivirals or corticosteroids.

If nonsurgical treatments don’t work, or if you have severe or chronic uvulitis, you might need uvula removal. During this procedure, your surgeon removes part or all of your uvula to help ease your symptoms.

How long does uvulitis last?

Most of the time, uvulitis goes away in a few days. The issue may resolve on its own, or you may need treatment.

Living With

When should I see my healthcare provider?

You should schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider if:

  • Your uvulitis symptoms are worsening.
  • You have a fever.
  • You can’t eat properly.
  • You have difficulty swallowing or breathing.

If you’ve recently been treated for uvulitis and your symptoms return, let your healthcare provider know. They can help determine next steps.

If you’re choking, or you feel like you can’t breathe, call 911 or head to your nearest emergency room.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Uvulitis usually isn’t dangerous, and you’ll likely feel better in a couple of days. But it can be scary if your swollen uvula becomes severe. You might feel like there’s something stuck in your throat or you may have difficulty breathing. Uvulitis is almost always a symptom of an underlying issue, like an infection or allergic reaction. Treating the underlying issue is the best way to ease your uvulitis symptoms.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed on 04/06/2022.

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