A sore throat on one side is your throat’s way of giving you a little warning sign. That annoying, scratchy, or painful feeling bothers your throat. You might notice it when you swallow, talk, or sit idly. Let’s discuss what it further indicates:

  1. Post Nasal Drip
    Postnasal drip is when snot drips down the back of your nose, which might remain in your throat. Your nose and throat normally make mucus daily, like 1-2 quarts. But when you are sick or have allergies, you make even more.
    And if that extra mucus can’t drain properly, it can feel pretty icky, like a constant drip down your throat. This can make your throat feel scratchy and sore, especially if you sleep on your side all night.
    To help, you can take a decongestant like Sudafed. But it’s also important to treat whatever is causing the extra mucus, like allergies or a cold, to get rid of the drip.
  2. Tonsillitis
    Tonsillitis happens when your tonsils, those little ball-like things at the back of your throat, get swollen and inflamed. It’s usually because of an infection. You have two tonsils, one on each side, just behind your tongue. Sometimes, only one of them gets inflamed, making your throat sore on just that side.
    Most of the time, tonsillitis is caused by a virus, like when you catch a cold. But sometimes, bacteria can be the culprit, too. Either way, you’ll probably notice a sore throat and other symptoms such as:

    • Nasal congestion and runny nose
    • Tender lymph nodes
    • Bad breath
    • Swollen tonsils with pus
    • Stomachache
    • Pain or discomfort while swallowing
    • Fever
  3. Canker Sore
    Canker sores are these little sores that appear inside your mouth in different spots, like on the insides of your cheeks, under your tongue, or on your lips. They are usually small, round, and have a red border with a white or yellow center.
    Even though they are tiny, they can pack a punch in the pain department, especially if they show up in a tricky spot like the back of your throat.
    But most of these sores go away in about 2 weeks. In the meantime, you can try some home remedies or use over-the-counter gels like Orabase to help ease the discomfort.
  4. Tender Lymph Nodes
    Your body has these little helpers called lymph nodes that work hard to fight off infections. When they puff up, it usually means there’s a battle going on. The swelling usually happens near where the infection is.
    For example, if you develop a nasty throat infection, the lymph nodes in your neck might swell up, resulting in strep throat.
    Swollen lymph nodes usually are not a big deal and go away as your body fights off the infection. But in rare cases, they could signal something more serious, like cancer or HIV. So, it’s essential to chat with a doctor if you notice any of these signs along with swollen lymph nodes:

    • Swollen nodes persisting for more than 2 weeks
    • Significant weight loss
    • Sweating a lot at night
    • Consistent fever
    • Extreme fatigue
    • Nodes that feel hard are stuck to your skin or are growing fast
    • Swollen nodes near your collarbone or lower neck
    • Red or inflamed skin over swollen nodes
    • Breathing issues
  5. A Tooth Abscess or Infection
    A tooth abscess happens when a nasty bacterial infection and a pocket of pus form at the tip of your tooth’s root. It’s like an infectious bubble that can cause serious pain, especially in your jawbone and ear on one side of your face. You might also notice that the lymph nodes in your neck and throat feel swollen and tender.
    Some other signs that your tooth might be infected include:

    • Feeling a jolt of pain when you eat or drink something hot or cold
    • Hurting when you chew
    • Running a fever
    • Struggling to swallow
    • Seeing swelling in your face or cheek
    • Feeling tender lumps under your jaw or in your neck

Ending Note

A sore throat on one side or both is common and not taken seriously. However, having it for long can disrupt your routine and indicate multiple underlying conditions. Therefore, it is better to get a proper diagnosis.

Visit our internal medicine expert, Dr. Hunaid Dollar, at the Internal Medicine Diagnostic Center. Our doctor will complete a diagnosis to suggest an appropriate treatment for many health issues. Call us at (281) 252-8600 to book an appointment.

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