Sore throat is a common symptom that appears in many diseases, and we often do not pay much attention to it. Well, not unless it makes us weak, immobile, and it puts us in lots of pain in our pharyngeal part of the neck.
Sore throat is a condition where your throat (or the pharynx) undergoes pathological changes, where it swelled up, it becomes painful, and it usually becomes red. This pathological situation occurs very often when you have a cold or flu, and the medical term used to refer to a sore throat is pharyngitis.
Just like any other part of your body, the throat can undergo chronic pathological changes. This means that the throat itself will become more and more irritated, and it will happen more often in your life.
This condition is known as a chronic sore throat, or many people know it as “sore throat that comes and goes”.
A variety of irritants can make sore throat, and we are exposed to them every single day. The smog from the cars, the smoke from the tobacco, the pollen, and the smell of fresh grass are all considered to be irritants.
The bacteria and the viruses are also considered as an irritant, but to make chronic sore throat, your immune system needs to be weak. These irritants can start an allergic process in your throat, making it swollen, red, with lots of pain involved.
Usually, the viruses and the bacteria that can penetrate deeper tend to make more problems to your throat. Therefore, the immune reaction involved in defending your organism against these microorganisms will be, usually, more intensive.
But, there are multiple reasons and multiple symptoms when it comes to sore throat, so you should always know what the causes of this particular situation are. The interesting part about sore throat is that it can be a symptom (for a cold, flu) and a disease (viral, bacterial) as well. Sometimes, both are present, and the medication is complexed with antibiotics and painkillers (ibuprofen, acetaminophen, etc.). As we know, medications are a blade with two ends- they help your body, but they do wear out the kidneys and the liver if they are being overused.
So, before you set yourself your diagnosis of sore throat, please make sure that you know exactly what is going on with your throat, and make sure you visit your doctor before consuming anything on your own! Here are the main reasons for sore throat that comes and goes, how to treat them, and the harmless remedies you can make in your own home to relieve the pain and the uncomfortable feeling you have!
Causes of Sore throat in general
If you want to know what is causing sore throat, or any kind of disease in your body, you need to understand better your immune system. The White Blood Cells (or in the blood diagnosis present as WBC) are the main element of your immune system. Whenever some pathogenic organism enters your body, they send pathogenic signals through your system.
These signals are being recognized by the WBC, who have special receptors on their surface made just to receive these signals. These cells are then traveling to the origin of the signal (the place where the pathogenic organism has taken place), and they start a process of Phagocytosis (dissolving the pathogenic organism and removing it from our body through the Macrophages, the cells that eat out the trash out of us).
Now, if this process takes longer than 3 or 4 days, the symptoms will start to appear. This will happen because of the longer presence of the pathogenic organism. This means that if your immune system is stronger, the pathogenic organism needs to be very complex or very strong to cause the pathogenic process in your body (sore throat in this case).
If your immune system is very weak, one simple wind on a windy day can cause a sore throat (due to the lack of effectiveness on your WBC). However, the reasons for sore throat are usually universal, whether we are talking about bacterial, viral infection, cold or flu. A sore throat can happen throughout the day. Still, it usually develops overnight when your system is working with less effectiveness, meaning the pathogenic organism is releasing its information faster, and the WBC cannot keep a step with it.
The sore throat that comes and goes- leading causes
Just one of the thousands of bad influences the nicotine has on our body. The cigarettes are #1 reason for developing lung cancer, and the smokers who do not develop lung cancer usually develop smaller, less dangerous medical conditions, such as the chronic sore throat. The throat can also be affected by cancer, and the leading reason for this fatal condition is smoking.
Although the manifestations of chronic sore throat can be from episodic nature, occurring on different occasions, the pathological changes in your throat are still present, and the very own anatomic structure is being irreversible changed. This means that your throat will be swollen, the redness will be present, the uncomfortable feeling will also bother your throat.
The throat is being attacked from the toxic materials from the tobacco itself, and these materials are harming not only the throat but also the immune system itself. This means that if the tobacco does not directly do damage to your throat, it will weaken your immune system.
This will motivate other infections like cold, flu, infections of the respiratory tract to appear more and more often. With your throat underlying constant attacks from these irritants, the condition of chronic sore throat will start developing more and more often.
The bad thing about this cause is that it does not affect just the smokers. The non-smokers can also undergo a process of the chronic sore throat if they are around smokers often. Passive smokers are also inhaling the smoke, although not directly.
However, it can still do some severe damage to your respiratory tract and your throat. The pathological process is the same. It just may take more time to develop in non-smokers because they are not inhaling the smoke as often as smokers do.
Allergy is a medical condition in which the body overreacts external antigens, such as pollen, freshly cut grass, food chemicals, and lots of internal antigens that are typically present in your body but your immune system is unable to identify them. Therefore it attacks these substances.
Normally, when an allergic reaction happens, the immunoglobulin E is the main mediator (IgE). When IgE is released, it causes itching, scratching, redness (due to vasodilatation of the microvasculature of your skin).
This vasodilatation happens due to the effect of different mediators, with histamine being the most present one. This process can happen in your throat, where you will feel all of the symptoms mentioned above as the allergy process progresses.
The interesting part is that whenever the throat is undergoing this process, it can easily spread through the system of canals present around the throat (ears, nasal cavity). This means that the allergy process can affect all of the cavities in your head and neck, not just the throat.
Another principle of receiving a sore throat that comes and goes due to allergy is the post-nasal dripping. Usually, when you are experiencing allergy, the sinuses (which are the empty air-filled spaces in your nasal cavity) are hypersecreting.
Hypersecretion is a term used when a gland or the sinuses are producing too much mucus. This mucus can be thrown out of your nose from the nostrils, or it could go backward and from the nasal cavity. By falling on the throat, it can irritate the skin, which surrounds your pharynx, and it can start the allergy process. The mucus of the sinuses usually contains lots of allergy substances, which can easily trigger the mucosa of the throat.
Acid reflux is a condition in which the lower sphincter of the esophagus is not able to close (contract strong enough), so the acid from the stomach is easily being transferred into the esophagus. Although the acid usually stays in this lower part of the esophagus, sometimes it can go as high as to the throat, causing irritation.
The irritation happens due to the low Ph of the stomach acid (2.0, with the normal Ph being 7.0). With Ph low as 2.0, the destruction on the throat tissue happens really fast. The bad thing about this condition is that the lesions that happen on the throat are very deep and profound. This happens due to the availability of the acid to penetrate deep into every tissue the human body contains.
This condition is also known as heartburn. Many of the people with this condition think that it is only located in the esophagus because the general symptom is chest pain. The pain can be so strong that you may not feel the throat hurting, which does not mean that the acid has not reached your throat.
If you feel strong heartburn, you should always contact your doctor who should prescribe medications that will neutralize the already secreted acid, or will stop the stomach from producing acid.
Overusing your throat
This condition is also known as muscle strain. It happens when you use your throat way too much, and just like any other muscle in your body- it can get strained. Singers, politicians, media staff, basically anyone which profession consists of talking, speaking, singing, are at high risk of suffering recurrent sore throat. This is why you should take several days break if you feel like your throat is giving you up, or you feel that tenderness in your neck.
When you overuse your throat, the smooth muscle cells which are contained in the muscle lamina in your throat are getting strained, resulting in pain in the throat area. This pain is usually manifested the next day after you overuse your throat, and it is present for several days.
The pain will be present until the muscle cells regenerate themselves, a process which usually takes 2 to 4 days. But, if you overuse your throat again, the soreness will still appear. However, this time it may take much more tension for your throat to get irritated.
Tumors are one of the main reasons your throat undergoes a variety of pathological changes, including recurring sore throat. Aside from these changes, they can obstruct the normal path of the food, liquids, or the air that goes through your throat, resulting in developing conditions such as dyspnea (shortness of breath).
However, the histological structure of the throat is suffering lots of pathological changes. The mucosa and the submucosa are getting thicker and non-permeable. This is not allowing the nutrients to pass through the throat, resulting in dryness, stiffness, redness, and irritation.
A pharyngeal tumor is usually caused by smoking or by exposing yourself to toxic substances in your environment (pollution). However, the death rate is pretty high, and the bad thing about this cancer is that it is usually discovered very late when it is in its 3th or 4th (terminal) phase.
We live in a fast-developing society, and industrialization is taking a toll on us. The smog, the gases from the cars, the trucks and the other petrol-driven machines are causing lots of damage to our system in general. Our respiratory tract is affected the most, but it does not have to mean that it is the only system that undergoes damage from the smog.
The pharynx (our throat) is also exposed to these toxic particles. Although we cannot feel it at the moment, the damage is piling up in the form of toxic layers on the throat, and they can cause a variety of diseases and conditions, with sore throat being one of them.
Although a sore throat is not as dangerous as the tumors and the cancers these toxic substances can provide, it is still something that will be present every day of your life if you live in a big city with lots of industrial complexes around it.
The most dangerous particle from the common polluted air is the PM10 particle, which is “highly cancerogenic”.
Tonsillitis is a condition where the tonsils are inflamed from a variety of factors (viral and bacterial being the most persistent one). Tonsillitis can happen more often in kids who vary from the age of 5 to 15, and the adult ones are rarely caught up by this condition.
One of the preventive factors of tonsillitis is the removal of tonsils, which is a standard surgical procedure that removes the tonsils of the kids. This way, the kids do not have to struggle with the tenderness, the pain, and the inflammation that can be pretty constant among the kids.
Tonsils are considered as the boosters of the immune system, and they do help the body to fight the pathogenic organisms. However, they can cause lots of problems, and a person’s lifetime is not shortened if the tonsils are removed. If they are present, when they get inflamed, they can cause sore throat because they get swollen up and red, and they are making a small, but present pressure on the throat.
Many bacterial and viral infections can cause tonsillitis, with flu and Strep throat (Streptococcus A) being the most common ones among kids. The attacks of sore throat due to tonsillitis can happen with time-lapse of over several months, sometimes even years, but sometimes they can happen quite often, with time-lapse in several weeks.
You should always consult your doctor before you choose to remove your tonsils or the tonsils of your children because although this is an easy surgeon procedure, it can still result in some side effects!
How to treat Sore throat that comes and goes?
One of the most common cures for a sore throat is the warm fluids. It does not matter if you consume tea, hot water, caffeine-free coffee, or tea, anything that is hot and warm will help your throat get warmer and get better. The fluids are keeping your throat out of dehydration, making it easier for the throat to regenerate. You should always avoid alcohol, caffeine, and other substances that can make your throat dry. The alcohol consists of ethanol, one of the main substances that dry out the cells in our body, especially in the throat and in the liver.
The interesting medical part here is that you can also try out some ice cream if you have a sore throat. Just like the warm fluids, the cold beverages and the cold sweets have a positive effect on your throat. They can soothe the sore throat and relieve the tension out of it.
Sucking pills or syrups
There are lots of medicine available out there for sore throat, and the form of this medicine is usually in sucking pills or syrups. The sucking pills and the syrups are effective because you have noticed that with swallowing, the pain gets bigger in your throat. This means that the throat is being mechanically sensed. With the curable components of the pills and the syrups, your throat will eventually loosen up, and it will get less irritated.
Gargle with warm water
Gargling with warm water is also effective when you have a sore throat, especially when you add salt to the water. When you gargle, you are exposing the throat to the direct effect of the warm water and the salt so that the curing effect will start immediately. You should do the gargle more often because it does not have any adverse nor side effects to the throat. It is harmless, and it is effortless to implement it.
Avoid dry air
Just like the nicotine, the dry air can make your throat more irritable. If you are healing from a sore throat, please avoid staying in rooms or places where the air is dry. If you do have an apartment that happens to have natural dry air, please try to humidify the air with humidifiers. This will eventually help your throat because the air you will start to breathe will be more moisturized so that the positive effect will be felt immediately. If you have a sore throat on hot, sunny days, avoid going out until the sun goes away because the air is usually dry when the sun is scorching outside. If you must go outside, make the trip fast and try to visit humidified places on your trip outside, if possible.
Apple cider vinegar and honey
You can also use lots of home remedies, which are easily made or found in your home. Apple cider vinegar can help you with your pain, as well as the honey and the lemon water. These remedies have a positive effect on your throat, and the honey protects for quite a long time because of its thickness. The honey can stick around the throat, moisturizing it while keeping it safe from other irritants around you (cigarettes smoke, pollen, etc.)
The licorice root is also very helpful because it contains proteins and curable components, which are very similar to those found in the Aspirin, so basically, you are consuming all-natural Aspirin. You can rinse with licorice water, or you can consume it. Either way, it is helping your throat to heal faster, and it protects your throat.
Get plenty of rest
The most important part of healing your sore throat is resting. Rest your body, and rest your voice. Do not overuse your voice if your throat hurts, because it will only prolong the soreness as well as the pain. Your body needs rest, and you should provide it!
Together with rest, you can also consume a variety of helpful substances and products, similar to the ones we have mentioned above.
For example, coconut oil is known to release the tenderness in your throat as well as helping with your pain!
The cinnamon consists of a vast amount of antioxidants, which are helping your throat get rid of the pathological microorganisms that have inhabited it. It helps you keep safe from the bad effect the oxygen has on your body (yes, the oxygen we breathe can produce lots of harmful effects on our bodies- oxidative stress, for example).
Either way, sore throat is not a condition we should just ignore and let it pass on its own. We should cure it, and with these home-made remedies and medical products (mostly painkillers- ibuprofen, acetaminophen), your throat should be as good as new!