Problem of the week – Sore Throats

The most common problem seen in the office the week of 12/19/2016 was “I have a sore throat”:

Sore throats can have many causes.  The first question to ask is the soreness new, ongoing, or a recurrent process as that often indicates different causes.  It’s easier to break sore throats down into acute or chronic.  Below is a brief summary of some of the causes.

Acute sore throat causes:

  1. Infection – can be tonsillitis which is an infection in the tonsils often caused by Streptococcus bacteria but may be other bacteria as well particularly in adults.  It can also be pharyngitis which can be caused by a bacteria and it often associated with a virus.  It there are nasal symptoms and cough it suggests more a virus.  In the case of a bacterial infection antibiotics are usually needed.

Chronic sore throat – the most common cause of a chronic sore throat is gastroesophageal reflux which occurs when stomach acid creeps up and irritated the voice box.  It can also be related to chronic tonsillitis which occurs when the tonsils are unhealthy, can collect debris and are often irritating to the patient.  Perhaps more importantly, a chronic sore throat can be a warning sign of cancer in the throat and a full exam by an ENT specialist is needed.

This is a very brief summary of the most common causes of sore throats I see.  We always have appointments available for people with throat problems and will be happy to examine, identify the problem and provide the care needed to resolve it.  We appreciate the trust you place in us to take care of your health problems.

Dr Bert Brown

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