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What Can Cause Throat Bleeding & How Is It Treated?

About Throat Bleeding:

Throat Bleeding, on many occasions, occurs from a minor injury to the throat such as an infection or irritation caused by persistent coughing as a result of an infection. It can at times also indicate something more sinister going on which requires medical intervention. In some cases, the bleeding may not even stem from the throat but starts in the gastrointestinal system. Throat Bleeding is seen more in people with bleeding disorders like hemophilia. In such people, the symptoms rapidly worsen and require immediate treatment. The neck, tongue, and floor of the mouth are some of the other areas where bleeding may occur in people with bleeding disorders. This is because if there is continuous accumulation of blood, the airway tends to get blocked and breathing becomes difficult.[1,2]

An individual with Throat Bleeding will have frequent choking episodes and dysphagia. The breathing also gets affected due to the bleeding. The area over the throat also gets discolored. Hemoptysis is by far the most common symptom of Throat Bleeding. There is also hoarseness of voice as a result of Throat Bleeding.[1,2] The article below highlights some of the causes and relevant treatment options for Throat Bleeding.

What Causes Throat Bleeding and How to Treat It?

Pharyngeal Abrasion: This can occur when someone swallows something sharp such as a fish bone. The bone causes a scratch in the throat resulting in Throat Bleeding. This condition also causes continuous coughing spells, dysphagia, spitting blood, and painful swallowing. The person will always feel as if something is stuck in the throat.[1,2]

What Can Cause Throat Bleeding & How Is It Treated?

Treatment: Consuming soft liquids and fluids and avoiding solid foods is the mainstay of treatment for pharyngeal abrasion or throat scratch. This will allow faster healing and prevent further damage to the throat. Additionally, over the counter pain medication helps to deal with the pain caused due to the injury.[1,2]

Salt water gargle is also very effective in treating Pharyngeal Abrasion or Throat Scratch. A physical assault such as a knife injury to the throat may injure the area causing Throat Bleeding. These need to be treated in an emergency room.[1,2]

Medication Side Effects: Throat Bleeding may also occur as a result of side effects of certain medications, especially blood thinners. People on chronic blood thinners may also have frequent nosebleeds or hematuria aside from hemoptysis. The medications most likely to cause these symptoms include Eliquis, Pradaxa, Coumadin, and Xarelto.

Treatment: If medications are believed to be the cause of Throat Bleeding then it is best to consult with the physicians to look for an alternative medication or devise a new treatment plan.[2]

Gum Disease: In some cases, bleeding that seems to be coming from the throat may actually be stemming from the gums. This is mostly caused in people with poor dental hygiene. These people will often at times notice blood after brushing the teeth. Other symptoms that may accompany the bleeding may include bad odor from the mouth, gum inflammation, pain when chewing food, and extremely sensitive teeth.[2]

Treatment: The best way to treat gum disease is by maintaining good oral hygiene. It is vital to brush the teeth two times a day. Flossing also is extremely important for good dental hygiene.[2]

Infections: Bacterial and viral infections are also one of the causes of Throat Bleeding. Bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis and tonsillitis are some of the common infections that cause Throat Bleeding.[2]

Treatment: The treatment depends on the type of infection. The patient may be given antibiotics or infection-specific medication. Other than that, the physician will recommend regular intake of fluids, taking NSAIDs, and abundant amount of rest.[2]

Stomatitis: This is a medical condition that is caused as a result of inflammation along the throat, check, or tongue. This inflammation results in the growth of painful sores with white patches which at times can bleed.[2]

Treatment: Oral and dental hygiene is a must when it comes to treatment of oral sores caused due to stomatitis. Over the counter pain medications are also quite effective.

Esophageal Ulcer: This is yet another cause of Throat Bleeding. An esophageal ulcer occurs as a result of GERD or inflammation of the esophagus, a condition called as esophagitis. The primary cause for it is repeated bouts of vomiting, infections, certain forms of antibiotics or NSAIDs, and chronic intake of acidic foods and alcohol. An esophageal ulcer also causes heartburn, chest pain, painful swallowing, vomiting, nausea and hemoptysis.[2]

Treatment: The treatment for esophageal ulcer normally depends on the cause of it. For people with GERD, antacids, H2 blockers, and PPI are quite effective in dealing with the condition. For people with esophagitis, the patient will require IV fluids, H2 blockers, and antibiotics.[2]

Cystic Fibrosis: This is also one of the causes of throat bleeding leading to a person spitting or coughing up blood. It is a genetic condition and also causes problems with breathing, frequent respiratory infections, chronic coughing spells which may have blood in it.[2]

Treatment: Since cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition, it does not have a cure. However, there are ways to manage the symptoms of the condition including Throat Bleeding. Drugs to thin out the mucous, antibiotics, anti inflammatories, and therapies to clear the airways are some of the treatment options to manage the symptoms of cystic fibrosis.[2]

Pulmonary Embolism: This is also one of the causes of Throat Bleeding resulting in coughing up blood. Pulmonary Embolism is a serious medical condition that is caused when a blood travels from some other area of the body to the lungs and blocking an artery. It requires prompt medical attention. Other symptoms for pulmonary embolism include problems breathing, chest pain, and coughing up blood.[2]

Treatment: Thrombolytics and anticoagulants are the frontline treatment for pulmonary embolism. This is done to dissolve the clot and free the artery from the blockage.

Lung Cancer: Throat Bleeding and coughing up blood is the primary symptom of lung cancer. This is followed by chest pain, difficulty breathing, persistent cough, poor appetite, unintentional weight loss, and constant fatigue.[2]

Treatment: The primary treatment for any form of cancer including lung cancer is radiation therapy followed by chemotherapy and surgery to remove the malignant tumor.
To summarize, Throat Bleeding can be caused due to a minute injury to the throat or can also occur due to potentially serious medical condition. Throat Bleeding almost always leads to the person spitting or coughing up blood. This can be quite scary for the person.[1, 2]

It is always recommended for people with throat bleeding or hemoptysis to consult with a physician to come up with an accurate cause of the bleeding to formulate a treatment plan for Throat Bleeding. It is also recommended to go to the nearest emergency room if shortness of breath or chest pain follows the episodes of hemoptysis or Throat Bleeding.[1,2]


Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 15, 2021

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