Sore throats are a major cause of medical visits and are a significant cost to the healthcare system each year. The majority of cases are due to benign causes, but have a significant impact on school and work attendance and productivity.
|Causes||Smoking, Environmental Toxins, Infections, Alcohol|
|See Also||Respiratory Conditions, Viral Infections, Influenza, Bacterial Infections, Sinusitis, Fungal Infections, Allergic Rhinitis|
|Books||Books on Head, Ears, Nose and Throat Conditions|
|Articles||Articles on Head, Ears, Eyes, Nose and Throat Conditions|
In order to stimulate the innate ability of the body to heal the causes of disease must be identified and addressed. A sore throat is often a symptom of another underlying condition. Some specific factors that can cause a sore throat include:
- Excessive Talking
- A sore throat may be more common in occupations where a person needs to talk a lot or needs to talk for long periods of time.
- Airborne Irritants
- Smog, dust, and other airborne irritants may irritate the throat and cause sore throat symptoms.
- Smoking is associated with increased risk of sore throat.
- Prescription Medications
- Immunosuppressive medications can increase an individual's risk of contracting viral pharyngitis.
- Other prescription mediciation that can cause a sore throat include: Antibiotics
- Sore throat is common following endotracheal intubation during surgery.
The list of possible causes of sore throat is extensive, so a thorough physical examination and history taking is required to narrow down a list of possible causes. Information such as timing, frequency, duration, type of pain, and associated signs and symptoms are important in diagnosis. The following testing may be used to assist in confirming a diagnosis:
- Throat culture is often used to confirm diagnosis of GABHS. A rapid antigen detection test is available for GABHs and is almost as sensitive as a throat culture.
- The monospot test for Epstein Barr virus can confirm a diagnosis of infectious mononucleosis.
- Culture for Neisseria gonorrhoeae is used if Gonococcal pharyngitis is suspected.
- Laryngoscopy may be used in chronic sore throat to investigate non-infectious causes of sore throat including foreign body or neoplasms.
Related Symptoms and Conditions
- Viral pharyngitis
- Infectious mononucleosis
- Bacterial pharyngitis
- Peritonsillar abscess
- Group A hemolytic streptococcus
- Allergic Rhinitis
- Allergic Pharyngitis
- Smoker's cough
- Hiatus hernia
- Reflux esophagitis
- Foreign bodies caught in the throat
- Subacute thyroiditis
- Hodgkin's Disease
Common signs and symptoms accompanying a sore throat include:
The goal of naturopathic treatment is to support and work in tandem with the healing power of the body and to address the causal factors of disease with individual treatment strategies. Because of the vast number of conditions associated with a sore throat the specific naturopathic treatment is based on treating the other underlying conditions. Some specific therapies for sore throat include:
The prescribing of naturopathic therapies requires the guidance of a naturopathic doctor as it depends on a number of factors including the causal factors, a person's age, prescription medications, other conditions and symptoms and overall health. It is always advisable to work with a naturopathic doctor prior to taking any natural therapies.
- Clinical Nutritional Supplementation includes
- Bayberry (Myrica cerifera), Black Walnut (Juglans nigra), Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon), Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), Garlic (Allium sativum), Lemon Balm (Melissa officinale), Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Old Man's Beard (Usnea barbata), Mullein (Verbascum thapus), Myrrh (Commiphora molmol), Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus), Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra), Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
- Traditional Chinese Medicine recognizes the varied presentations of sore throat, and treatment is dependent on detailed assessment. Treatment principles utilized in Traditional Chinese Medicine to address sore throat include:
- Expel Wind Toxic Heat
- Tonify Lung and Kidney
- Tonify Spleen
- Gargling with salt water is recommended in cases of bacterial pharyngitis.
Reviewed by Iva Lloyd, BScH, RPE, ND 
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