What is an itchy throat and what causes it? How can it be treated? Well, this condition is known to be an irritating sensation experienced in the throat that may develop the urge to cough.
A scratchy or itchy throat is a common ailment, so you are not alone in this. In many cases, it is not often serious but may be a symptom of severe medical conditions. Depending on the causes, it can be accompanied by other symptoms such as secretions, pain, runny nose, and hard times during eating or speaking as well as itchy eyes.
In this post, we will outline the common causes, natural home remedies and other medical treatments that can bring you relief.
What causes a scratchy throat
To clearly understand the causes let us understand this some simple biology. Throat has got its inner walls covered with the mucosal membrane that contain nerves, which can be irritated by certain foods, polluted air or allergic reactions.
In the same wall is mucosal glands that secrete mucus (sticky fluid). The purpose of this fluid is to protect its wall and enhance smooth passage of air and food. The activities of mucosal glands can be hindered by factors such as dry air, dehydration, and certain medications among others. This lead to itching in the throat. Here are the common causes:
1). Throat infections
Infections are the primary cause of this itchiness. The status of may be severe and can lead to a dry sore throat.
Usually, itching is a symptom of upper respiratory tract infections. Itchy, sore throat can be triggered by bacterial, viral or fungal infections.
This issue can also be triggered by bacterial infections, bacteria such as Streptococcus pneumonia and Haemophilus influenzae often causes strep throat (infection of the tonsils) or infection of the epiglottis (more common in children). Other bacterial infections such as diphtheria and anthrax are some of the widespread causes of itchy throat In Africa and South America. The same is also experienced in South Asia.
Bacterial infection can stay for a long time leading to the formation of abscess beneath the mucosal layer in pharyngeal wall. This results in a fever and severe sore throat.
Viral infections that lead to itchiness include infectious mononucleosis, common cold, flu, mumps, and measles. They affect upper respiratory tract. They can lead to the serious dry sore throat.
Bird flu transmitted from birds or poultry can also lead to an itchy and dry cough. Bird flu can be life-threatening when it affects your lungs.
Other viral related conditions that can trigger include Herpes simplex and Dengue fever
Fungi may grow in your mouth and throat leading to some irritation. This is common among people with a weak immune system. Fungal growth is aided by diabetes, cancer, chemotherapy among other causes.
2). Overusing it – singing
Too much use throughout the day can also trigger itchy dry throat. This occurs after singing loud or incorrectly, prolonged speaking, shouting, coughing or after breathing through your mouth due to certain illness.
3), Dry throat
The moment your throat dries up, it is likely to itch. This condition normally occurs alongside dry mouth, eyes, and skin. The common trigger so far includes dehydration, excessive indoor heating, under-active salivary glands especially in aged persons.
Below are more conditions that can also lead to this dryness:
- Drinking alcohol
- Medications like antihistamines, urine treatment drugs, antidepressants and more
- Sjogren`s syndrome
- Drinking Sodas and coffee
4). Allergies to certain foods and other allergens
Allergies to certain foods have been linked to the itchy throat. Other symptoms of allergies include itchy lips, hives, and swelling face.
Some persons can be allergic to an inhaled allergen such as molds, pollens, pet dander, and dust mites among others. Such allergen can cause itchy, pink and watery eyes, runny nose and Itchy dry throat.
Also, when you breathe through your mouth, you can suffer from asthma that leads to this problem.
5). Foreign bodies in the throat
Sometimes, the problem may be due to materials stacked in the epiglottis or stabbed in the throat walls. Materials like fish bones, sharp pieces of glass or metal grains can lead to the irritation when they come into contact with these wall.
Such material can be removed through coughing or swallowed with gaggling water. So far, drugs are not ideal for such conditions.
6). Itchy throat after vomiting and GERD
Gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a condition whereby acid from your stomach come up to the throat. This lead to irritation that causes itching and burning sensation known as heartburn
The same burning feeling can also be experienced after vomiting. Vomited content containing gastric acid from your stomach will pass through your throat and will irritate it hence influencing it to itch like hell. It is also good to be aware of the effects of the vomited content if inhaled. If the vomited content is inhaled, it can lead to inflammation of lungs and larynx.
7). Tumors or cancers
Itchy or inflamed throat can also be due to tumors present in the larynx or pharynx. It is believed the many singers and those who speak louder do bear small tumors. Adult smokers aged 50 and above also often develop malign tumors. One may also experience itchiness and cough when he/she have lymphomas or neck/chest cancer.
8). Disorders of neighboring organs
In some cases, disorders of organs near the throat can be the reasons too. Disorders of lungs, heart, kidney or pancreases can lead to this misfortune. Below is the summary of these disorders:
- Chest cold
- Acute or chronic bronchitis
- Atypical or bacterial pneumonia
- Ozena (chronic inflammation mucosa in the nose or throat)
- Cystic fibrosis
Cases having the above roots may be very severe i.e. cases caused by bacterial pneumonia should be resolved within seven days. They are also known to cause throat irritation and coughs.
9). Neck disorder
When you develop conditions such dislodged tissues, fibrous tissue after surgery, enlarged thyroid or lymph nodes, abscess and tumor, then these conditions can influence your throat to itch.
How to stop Itchy Throat -Treatments and remedies
Below are the natural remedies and medications that can be used to cure itchy throat:
A). Natural remedies
There are several home remedies that can be used to solve the problem. They will solely depend on the severity the case. It should be understood that, for severe cases of sore and itchy throat, doctor’s intervention is very fundamental. This is due to fact that these home remedies cannot solve all the causes of the itchy or dry throat.
In this section, we are going to highlight some of the wonderful home remedies that can be used to stop or prevent the problem of the so-called itchy throat. Read below for more insight:
- Drinking milk with turmeric
- Drinking enough amount of water every day
- Drink apple cider vinegar
- Prepare a perfect solution of honey, lemon and ginger teat then drink
- Try to eat some honey
- Gargle some salt water, this will perfectly limit the potential itchiness
- Drinking a solution of horseradish
- In case you are living or sleeping in a dry environment the try and use a humidifier
These natural remedies form the best cure for itchy throat since they help to lubricate and soothe its walls. Some of them also limit the bacterial growth.
B) Throat protection
Before we look at treatments, let us see how we can protect it against itchiness and irritations.
I. Change your bad habits
As we have seen, there are various factors that can cause your throat to itch. Such factors are known to cause dehydration that can result in soreness and itchiness and the condition can be severe if there is no prompt response. Here are some tips that can help avoid it:
- Try to stop or limit drinking alcohol or smoking as your plan of quitting these habits. Remember itchiness due to these two factors can be very serious.
- With the help of your doctor, try to define some of the medication that can influence your throat to itch and try to find their alternative.
- You should also walk away from drink such as coffee, soda among other drinks that can lead to dehydration. Such drinks can lead to this condition.
II. Always protect your voice
As we have mentioned already, factors like too much talking, shouting, coughing, singing loud or breathing through mouth al can trigger dehydration and hence it will itch. So if you have confirmed that these can be the reason for your case, please try and get a break. “If you believe this may be the cause of your itchy throat, try to give your voice a break by resting it (no talking, singing or shouting) for at least an hour or two each day.”[Wikinow.com]
There are jobs that demand a lot of talking or shouting. If your job has this nature then make sure you always have a bottle of water to maintain it lubricated.
III. Get a remedy for allergies
Usually allergic reaction to certain foods, medications or pollen grains can lead to symptoms such as watery eyes, sneezing, and itchy throat.
In such circumstances, you should identify all the substances you are allergic to. This can be made easy by vising your doctor for an allergy test.
Antihistamines can also be used to treat allergic reactions.
C). Medical treatment
Medicine for itchy throat and cough may be available over the counter while others must be prescribed by doctors. The kind of the medicine your doctor will prescribe for you will depend on the seriousness of the case you are bearing.
Some of the over the counter medicine for a dry cough and itchy throat include cough drops, antihistamines, decongestants, gargle mouthwash, throat spray and more. Antihistamine is another best medicine if you have an allergy. In case it is due to bacterial infection, antibiotics can be the best remedy for a dry cough and itchiness
When to see a Doctor
In case you are using or applying some home remedies or over the counter products for the itchy throat and still, the problem persists, please see your doctor immediately. Remember such cases could be symptoms of severe internal organ failures. Your doctor will carry out a proper diagnosis and then recommend the best treatment for itchy throat depending on the underlying causes.