Throat Ulcers: What They Are and How to Deal With Them

Throat ulcers are painful sores that appear in your throat. They can be caused by various things like infections, acid reflux, or certain medications. These ulcers can make simple tasks like swallowing or talking painful. Though uncomfortable, most throat ulcers are treatable with medical attention.

What Are Throat Ulcers?

So, you’re feeling a sharp pain in your throat and thinking, “What’s going on?” You might have a throat ulcer. Imagine these as little wounds or sores inside your throat. They make swallowing food or even saliva feel like a chore. Plus, they can also make your voice sound scratchy.

Throat Ulcers

Why Do Throat Ulcers Happen?

Now, you’re probably wondering, “Why me?” Several factors can contribute to these pesky ulcers.


Infections from bacteria or viruses are common culprits. Conditions like oral thrush or herpes can cause ulcers to form in your throat. Sometimes, more serious infections like tuberculosis can also be the reason.

Acid Reflux

Got heartburn a lot? That could be another reason. Acid from your stomach can sneak up and irritate your throat. This irritation, over time, can turn into ulcers.


Certain medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), beta-blockers, and chemotherapy medications, can irritate your throat. This irritation sometimes develops into ulcers, especially if you’re taking a lot of them.

Aphthous Stomatitis

This fancy term is just a medical way of describing canker sores. Occasionally, these sores don’t just stay in your mouth; they can appear in your throat, too.

Throat Ulcers


Yep, you read that right. COVID-19 has been known to cause throat ulcers in some cases. So, if you’re experiencing other symptoms like fever and fatigue, it’s a good idea to get tested.

Oral Cancer

In rare cases, throat ulcers can be a sign of oral cancer. If your ulcers aren’t healing, it’s crucial to consult a healthcare provider.

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)

This autoimmune disease can cause a range of symptoms, one of which is throat ulcers.

Other Causes

Smoking and excessive alcohol can also irritate your throat, causing ulcers over time.

How Do You Know You Have One?

If you’re experiencing symptoms like severe throat pain, difficulty swallowing, or a change in your voice, it’s time to pay attention. A healthcare provider can confirm if you have a throat ulcer through tests like endoscopy or throat swabs.

How to Get Relief

So, you’ve got a throat ulcer, and you want relief—fast. Here’s how to go about it:

Medical Treatment

Your doctor may prescribe medications like antacids for acid reflux or antiviral meds for infections. According to experts, these treatments often work well for clearing up ulcers.

Home Remedies

Warm salt water is a classic remedy for a reason. It works. Gargle with it a few times a day for relief. Herbal teas like chamomile also help soothe your throat.

Lifestyle Changes

Cutting back on smoking and drinking can improve your condition. Also, avoiding spicy and acidic foods can help your throat heal faster.

When to See a Doctor

If your symptoms are hanging around for more than a week or getting worse, it’s time to see a healthcare provider. Early treatment is better than suffering in silence.

Frequently Asked Questions About Throat Ulcers

Can Throat Ulcers Spread to Other Parts of the Body?

No, throat ulcers usually stay where they are—in your throat. However, the underlying cause of the ulcer, like a viral or bacterial infection, can spread if not treated. So, it’s important to find out what’s causing your ulcer and treat it accordingly.

Are Throat Ulcers Contagious?

It depends on what’s causing them. If a viral or bacterial infection is the culprit, then yes, those can be contagious. On the other hand, if it’s due to acid reflux or medications, then no, it’s not something you can pass on to someone else.

How Long Do Throat Ulcers Take to Heal?

The healing time can vary. With proper treatment, most throat ulcers start to improve within a week or two. However, if you’re dealing with a more serious underlying condition, it might take longer. That’s why it’s crucial to consult a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Can I Still Eat and Drink Normally?

Eating and drinking with a throat ulcer can be painful. It’s best to avoid foods and drinks that are spicy, acidic, or too hot, as these can irritate your ulcer even more. Opt for soft, bland foods and cool or lukewarm drinks to make swallowing easier.

Is It Possible to Prevent Throat Ulcers?

Yes and no. Some causes, like infections, are hard to prevent completely. However, you can reduce your risk by practicing good hygiene and staying away from people who are sick. Lifestyle changes, like quitting smoking or reducing alcohol and spicy foods, can also help lower your chances of getting a throat ulcer.

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