Uvulitis is an inflammation of the uvula, the small piece of finger-shaped tissue that hangs down in the back of the throat and is visible when the mouth is open. Uvulitis, which most often occurs as a result of an infection, causing the uvula to swell and redden. If the uvula swells enough to touch the throat or tongue, it may cause gagging or sensations of choking.
Uvulitis may be caused by a variety of conditions, including:
- Viral or bacterial infection
- Allergic reaction
Uvulitis is often associated with inflammation or infection of other regions of the mouth, like the palate, throat or tonsils. Although most cases of uvulitis are not serious and resolve on their own, symptoms of severe or sudden swelling, high fever or difficulty swallowing or breathing demand medical attention.
Usually, uvulitis responds well to gargling with salt water and drinking plenty of fluids. In cases where a bacterial infection is present, antibiotics are prescribed. If the condition results from an allergic reaction, an antihistamine is administered. It the case of uvulitis is especially sudden or severe, an EpiPen® auto-injector may be used to curtail a dangerous allergic response. When uvulitis occurs frequently or is resistant to other treatment, a surgical procedure to remove the uvula, or uvulectomy, may be performed. If the tonsils are also involved a tonsillectomy may be performed as well.