Symptoms

Swelling of the mucous membrane in the mouth and throat – causes, treatment

Swelling of the mucous membranes in the mouth and throat

Swelling of the mucous membranes in the mouth and throat , med. Mucosa , usually occurs as a result of diseases or side effects of medication. This causes the mucous membranes to swell, which can lead to a sore throat , difficulty swallowing and breathing problems . The swelling of the mucous membrane can be treated well and usually heals without consequences.

What is mucosal swelling?

By definition, mucosal swelling is not a disease. It is a symptom that can occur as a result of diseases, side effects of drugs or allergies . The mucous membrane – also called mucosa – is a protective layer inside organs, in the mouth, nose and throat, in the eyes and in the genital area.

The mucous membrane has no horny layer and no hair. As the name suggests, the mucous membrane produces mucilage called mucins. The mucous membrane has an important protective function because it can secrete so-called immunoglobulins (specific antibodies). Swelling of the mucous membrane can result in increased or decreased mucus production. The mucosal swelling is often not limited to the mouth and throat. As a rule, the nasal mucous membranes and the lower respiratory tract are also affected.

Depending on the severity, the swelling of the mucous membrane can cause severe difficulty in swallowing and pain. In the case of increased mucus production and pronounced swelling of the mucous membrane, breathing can be impaired, which can lead to problems falling asleep and sleeping through the night, especially at night. Especially with allergies, the mucous membranes in the throat can swell so much that breathing is severely hampered. A consequence of the mucosal swelling can be suffocation in extreme cases.

causes

Swelling of the mucous membrane in the mouth and throat can have various causes. Many medications or their active ingredients can cause swelling of the mucous membranes as a side effect. Depending on the drug, increased or reduced mucus production can occur in addition to swelling.

Bee pollen and grasses can cause swelling of the mucous membrane as a result of an allergic reaction. The mucous membranes swell within a few minutes after coming into contact with the allergy-causing substance. The mucous membranes swell much faster after insect bites (wasps, bees, etc.). After just a few seconds, the mucous membranes in the mouth and throat can swell so much that the airways are completely blocked.

Diseases can also cause swelling of the mucous membrane. Mumps , sinusitis , asthma , bronchitis , tumors and inflammation of the mouth, nose and throat are just a few of the diseases that have swelling of the mucous membrane as a symptom. Viruses and bacteria can also cause mucosal swelling. Above all, so-called cold or flu viruses settle preferentially in the mucous membranes.

diseases with this symptom

Diagnosis & History

The swelling of the mucous membrane is diagnosed by the general practitioner or the ear, nose and throat doctor . A detailed anamnesis (medical history) is indicative, as the patients usually report difficulty swallowing or a feeling of tightness in the throat.

A visual finding is usually sufficient to confirm the diagnosis. The healthy mucosa is well supplied with blood and has a light to dark pink coloration. If the mucous membranes swell, this is first recognized by the z. T. dark red colouration. The mucous membranes also produce more mucus. If the pathogen is to be determined in order to select the right drug for therapy, a mucus swab can be taken. In addition, a blood test is usually carried out.

The course of a swelling of the mucous membrane depends on its cause. In the case of an allergic reaction, swelling of the mucous membranes can occur within a minute and rapidly deteriorate, resulting in death by suffocation. If the mucosal swelling is treated in time and adequately, it usually heals without consequences.

For other reasons such as B. an illness, it can take anywhere from several hours to several days until swelling of the mucous membrane occurs. There is enough time to treat them from the beginning, so that there is no danger to life. In the case of swelling of the mucous membranes as part of a cold, this usually heals without any consequences even without treatment.

complications

Complications of swelling in the mouth and throat can occur depending on the cause of the condition. Localized swelling of the lining of the mouth and throat caused by infection can lead to abscess formation. Small mucosal injuries are infected with germs and encapsulated, pus-filled foci of inflammation develop.

These can cause pain, a feeling of pressure, difficulty swallowing and fever . Eating can be difficult. If the swelling persists, malnutrition is a possible consequence. Unclear, localized swellings should be examined histologically, since degeneration is possible. An acute, severe swelling of the entire mucous membrane of the mouth and throat can be caused by an allergic reaction.

This condition is potentially life threatening. The airways can be obstructed by the swelling and there is a risk of death from suffocation. In such an emergency situation, it is often no longer possible to secure the airways by intubation due to the swelling. The doctor treating you has to cut the trachea to enable ventilation. If an allergic reaction is treated promptly and consistently, this life-threatening complication can often be prevented.

When should you go to the doctor?

Swelling of the mucous membrane in the mouth and throat is a symptom of a disease. There are several diseases to consider. If the swelling of the mucous membrane in the mouth and throat is a symptom of an allergy, a doctor must be consulted as soon as possible to determine the cause of the allergy.

It can be an allergy to a food or an allergy to a drug that the patient is taking because of another condition. It can also be an allergy to an insect bite. The cause must be urgently analyzed and identified by a doctor. In the case of a known allergy and swelling of the mucous membrane in the mouth and throat, the patient can treat himself with the respective medication, which was prescribed in advance by a doctor.

A follow-up examination by a doctor should still be carried out, especially if the swelling does not go down despite the medication. In addition, it is important to contact a doctor immediately if swelling of the lining of the mouth and throat occurs, as it can lead to further complications such as difficulty breathing. An ear, nose and throat doctor can best treat this type of mucosal swelling. If there is sudden swelling of the mucous membrane with breathing problems, an emergency doctor should be called.

Treatment & Therapy

Depending on the cause, swelling of the mucous membrane must be treated differently. When an allergic reaction is the cause, time is the most important factor. Treatment must begin immediately. Furthermore, a doctor or emergency doctor must always be consulted. The swelling of the mucous membrane is treated with the help of cortisone preparations so that the airways remain free.

If medication is the cause of the mucosal swelling, it must be considered whether the medication is actually necessary or whether it is better to discontinue it or replace it with another preparation.

If diseases are the cause of swelling of the mucous membrane, the disease itself must be treated. Although the swelling of the mucous membranes is treated at the same time, it is important to treat the disease successfully so that swelling of the mucous membranes can be avoided as a result.

A swelling of the mucous membrane should be cooled at the beginning. Ice cubes that are sucked slowly are best. The next step is to eliminate the cause of the swelling. In the case of swelling of the mucous membranes as a result of an allergic reaction, a check-up lasting several days is necessary. Bee pollen can z. B. in the nose or on clothing.

As long as the decongestants are administered, the response to the allergen is suppressed. However, if the effect of the medication wears off, it can sometimes happen that the swelling of the mucous membrane occurs again. Therefore, a doctor or a hospital should always be consulted for all mucosal swellings that are associated with shortness of breath .

Outlook & Forecast

The mucous membrane (mucosa) often swells as a side effect of certain drugs. In these cases, the symptoms usually last until the drug is stopped. The swellings then recede in a timely manner.

Hay fever or other allergic reactions can also be responsible for the swelling of the mucous membrane. Allergic reactions can be treated very well with antihistamines. The symptoms of the allergy then subside quickly after the start of treatment. Sometimes, an allergic reaction can cause severe difficulty swallowing and pain . In addition, mucus production can increase significantly. The combination of mucosal swelling and heavy mucus production can severely impair breathing . Patients then suffer from problems falling asleep and sleeping through the night at night. In rare cases, the mucous membrane in the throat area can swell so much that there is a risk of suffocation.

If the mucous membrane is swollen due to bacterial or viral infections, this symptom subsides together with the underlying disease. In the case of bacterial infections, the irritation in the mouth and throat can be treated very well with antibacterial lozenges or gargle solutions. Antibiotics are usually prescribed for more severe infections. As soon as these start to take effect, the swelling of the mucous membranes also subsides. In the case of flu infections, on the other hand, only bed rest and warmth help. Drug treatment is usually not indicated here. However, antibacterial mouthwashes can prevent secondary infection.

prevention

In the case of swelling of the mucous membrane, preventive measures can usually only be taken indirectly. In the case of swelling as a result of allergies, it is important to avoid the allergy-triggering substances. As far as possible, one should avoid medication that causes the mucous membranes to swell. A balanced and healthy diet as well as physical activity are very good measures to strengthen your immune system . This way you are less susceptible to infections that can cause mucosal swelling.

You can do that yourself

Swelling of the mucous membranes in the mouth and throat are often accompanied by shortness of breath . In this case, a doctor must be consulted immediately. If this does not happen, the person concerned can try to reduce the swelling by cooling. In the area of ​​the oral cavity, sucking ice cream is a good idea. Cooling with cold envelopes or cool packs is also recommended locally.

Depending on the underlying cause of the swelling – whether as an allergic reaction to medication or insect bites or as a result of an infection – further measures are possible. Medications that cause swelling of the oral mucosa should be discontinued immediately and the doctor treating you should be consulted. If insecticide is the trigger for swelling, the homeopathic preparation Apis can help as an acute remedy. Folk medicine recommends laying onion halves, so as to draw the poison out of the skin. Nevertheless, cooling is also the first choice. Pollen that gets into the nose, eyes and mouth can also trigger swelling of the mucous membranes. Pollen gets stuck in clothing and nose for days. Changing clothes and using a nasal douche are advisable .

As a preventive measure, if you know you have an allergy, you should avoid those triggering substances or carry emergency medication with you. With the help of sport and a healthy diet , the body’s own defense mechanisms can be strengthened. Infections that are associated with swelling of the oral mucosa can thus be better fought by the body.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.