A woman has a throat ulcer or possible sores in throat

Originally written January 16, 2019

If your throat has ever felt sore, but you weren’t sick and the air wasn’t dry, you might have had an oral, tonsil, or throat ulcer. But what are these ulcers, and how do you treat them?

What are oral, throat, and tonsil ulcers?

Ulcers also known as canker sores, are open sores on your throat or tonsils. An oral ulcer is a painful, slow- or non-healing area that has whitish and/or red surrounding areas. They can be single or multiple lesions. Tongue-based ulcers may not be visible but can be painful. Tonsil and throat ulcers are further back and to the sides of the throat. These sores can make it difficult to eat or talk depending on the size, location, and severity.

What causes sores in throat?

There are numerous causes for these ulcers. Some of the most common causes includes infections, viruses including herpes simplex (HSV) and HPV. Other conditions can cause throat ulcers like autoimmune diseases, vitamin and nutritional deficiencies, acid reflux, and allergies. Environmentally, your throat ulcers can be due to reactions to certain foods, excessive coughing, excessive vomiting, oral trauma, stress, cancer, and chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

How do I know if I have one of these ulcers?

There are a number of signs and symptoms of throat and tonsil ulcers. These include:

  • Difficult or painful swallowing
  • A sore mouth or throat
  • White or red patches in the throat

Your sense of taste or smell could also be affected, which may lead you to believe that you have another condition like COVID. Others may experience a fever or general energy decline.

How do I treat a canker sore?

ENT doctor Chad Kessler, MD discusses sores in throat and throat ulcer

Treatment depends on the cause and type of ulcer. If you have a viral infection, your doctor may prescribe antiviral medication. If it’s caused by acid reflux, antacids or a proton pump inhibitor may be needed. In some instances, surgery may be required. A biopsy may also be necessary. "If oral or throat ulcers persist, it is imperative that a patient make an appointment with a doctor and have an examination," CEENTA ENT doctor Chad Kessler, MD, said. This examination is key to determining if your throat ulcer is symptomatic of oral cancer.

You can also try several home treatments to ease any pain. Avoid spicy, sour, hot or acidic foods. Drink extra fluids throughout the day, especially cold ones. Gargling with warm salt water can help, too. Don’t smoke or use alcohol.

While oral, throat, and tonsil ulcers can be uncomfortable, knowing their causes can help you find the treatment you need to have a healthy mouth and throat again.

This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. Dr. Kessler sees patients in our Rock Hill office. To make an appointment with him or any of our ENT doctors, call 704-295-3000. You can also schedule an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.


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April 16, 2021

I have more and severe ulcers on tounge and mouth and also have swallow on left side of the throat.
- Sumanth

April 19, 2021

Good morning. We can't diagnose individual patients without seeing them. If you live in the Charlotte, NC, region and would like an appointment with a CEENTA physician, please visit www.ceenta.com/appointments. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

November 19, 2020

Hello...This information about health and ENT related is too good. Thanks, for giving the best information, and get more info to consult JDH.
- Jaipur Doorbeen Hospital

July 10, 2020

hi, if i have regular ulcers on my tonsils, is it necessary to remove my tonsils?
- anonymous

July 10, 2020

Good afternoon. We cannot comment on specific medical questions online, but your doctor will be able to discuss your particular medical needs at an appointment with them. If you live in the Charlotte region and would like an appointment with a CEENTA doctor, call 704-295-3000.
Reply From: CEENTA

June 27, 2020

Am having red swollen tonsils with less pain with an ulcer on it since 1 month have been taking clindamycin 300 mg prescribed by a doctor since 5 days there is not improvement what should I do ..?
- Reine

June 29, 2020

Good morning. We recommend following up with the doctor who originally diagnosed you. If you live in the Charlotte region and would like a second opinion from a CEENTA doctor, call 704-295-3000 for an appointment.
Reply From: CEENTA

May 26, 2020

Good day doctor. I hv throat ulcer from last 4 months and doctor told due to acid reflux.. i took tablets but no improvement. My throat extreme pain and doctors not willing to even see due to covid 19 situation. I have armpit pain last 1 week. Pls suggest me what to do.
- Krish

May 26, 2020

Good morning. We cannot diagnose individual patients without seeing them. If you live in the Charlotte region and would like an in-person appointment, or if you live in the United States and would like to request a virtual visit, please call 704-295-3000.
Reply From: CEENTA

December 01, 2019

I have a Ulser at back of throat and my jaw hurts can anyone suggest what I have please
- lewis

December 02, 2019

Good morning. Because we cannot diagnose patients over the Internet, we recommend making an appointment with a doctor. If you live in the Charlotte area and would like an appointment with a CEENTA physician, please call 704-295-3000. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

July 11, 2019

What’s the point of this if you can’t answer their queries ??
- Dr No

July 11, 2019

Good morning. These blogs are written to provide a baseline of educational information about different medical subjects, and to encourage people to get formal diagnoses from their doctors if they have concerns about their health.
Reply From: CEENTA

June 29, 2019

Do you recommend seeing a dentist or primary care physician to diagnose the cause of mouth and throat ulcers?
- Rachel

July 01, 2019

Hello. If you make an appointment with one and they determine the other would better suit your needs, they will refer you to the appropriate doctor. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

June 04, 2019

Can mild morning throat pain be linked to mainly sleeping with mouth open. What would be best to use for if this were the case?
- Mike Rotche

June 05, 2019

Good morning. While sleeping with an open mouth may cause dry throat, if you have any concerns about your throat, we recommend seeing your doctor, as we cannot make diagnoses without seeing a patient in person.
Reply From: CEENTA

April 26, 2019

Can strep throat cause ulcers?
- Zach Griffin

April 26, 2019

Good morning. We recommend you visit your doctor for an examination, since we cannot diagnose you over the Internet and confirm you have strep throat. If you would like to make an appointment at CEENTA, please call 7084-295-3000. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

April 01, 2019

How long does it take to heal the tonsilitis ulcers the doctor says its reflux acid
- Jane Wanjohi

April 01, 2019

Good morning. Unfortunately, we can't diagnose individual cases over the Internet. We recommend asking your doctor about your particular medical needs. Thank you.
Reply From: CEENTA

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