What Causes Itchy Throat & How is it Treated?

What is Itchy Throat?

Itchy Throat is an extremely irritating sensation that everybody has once in a while and makes you want to cough. It may be accompanied by pain, problems with eating, problems with speaking, runny nose, and itchy eyes depending on what is actually causing the itchy throat. The inner walls of the throat are covered with mucosal membranes which have nerves that tend to get irritated by common irritants like certain gasses which an individual may inhale while in the line of work, common allergens found in the atmosphere which can easily get inside the body through the mouth and the throat, or certain foods may also irritate the nerves causing itchy throat. The mucosal glands secrete mucous which keeps the throat wet and allows things to pass easily but due to irritation of the nerves not cough mucous is produced thus making the throat dry and causes itching in throat.

What is Itchy Throat?

What Causes Itchy Throat?

Some of the common causes of itchy throat are:

Dry Throat: This is quite a common condition, especially in the summer months when there is excess loss of water from the body due to perspiration which leads to the throat becoming dry resulting in itchy throat. This may be accompanied by dry eyes, dry mouth and dry skin as well. Some of the other causes of dry throat are:

  • Excessive heat
  • Stuffed nose resulting in breathing through the mouth
  • Throat inflammation
  • Dehydration
  • Use of tobacco
  • Using caffeinated products
  • Using Alcohol
  • Certain medications such as those given for depression and to treat urinary incontinence can also cause the throat to become dry causing itchy throat.

Shouting and Yelling: This is yet another cause for an individual to have an itchy throat. Excessive shouting and yelling usually during a rock concert or at a construction site where there is a lot of noise and communicating with one another is difficult one needs to shout at the top of the voice in order to be heard. This results in the throat getting dry and ultimately resulting in itchy throat.

Foreign Body: Sometimes while eating, we tend to ingest certain substances that get stuck in the throat like a fish bone or a seed. This causes obstruction within the throat resulting in itchy throat.

Chemical Gasses: People working in certain chemical plants that give out sulfur dioxide and other metal fumes tend to inhale these gases and when it goes inside the throat it irritates the nerves resulting in the individual having an itchy throat. Smoke from cigarette or marijuana also has the same effect on the throat and causes itchy throat.

Psychological: There are also certain psychological causes for an itchy throat. An individual who wants to attract attention tends to deliberately cough which results in the irritation of the nerves in the throat and causes itching in the throat.

Infections: Certain viral, bacterial, and fungal infections can cause itchy throat.

Some of the Common Viral Infections That Can Cause Itchy Throat are:

Some of the Bacteria Infections That Can Cause Itchy Throat are:

  • Haemophilus influenzae
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Diphtheria

Fungal Infection That Tends to Cause Itchy Throat is Candida Infection

Medical Conditions: Medical condition like Croup is also one of the common reasons for someone to have an itchy throat, especially children in this case.

How is Itchy Throat Treated?

Drinking water is the best possible treatment for immediate relief from itchy throat. Other treatments for itchy throat depend on the cause of the condition. In case if excessive heat is causing itchy throat then staying hydrated by drinking lots of water and other drinks would suffice to get rid of itchy feeling in throat. In case if yelling and shouting has led to the feeling of itchy throat then giving the throat some time to rest and staying quiet will calm down the symptoms.

For cases, where chemical gasses are responsible for causing itchy feeling in throat then staying away from these gasses is the best way to get rid of the problem and if that is not possible then wearing a protective mask to prevent the offending gasses from entering the body is a good treatment for itchy throat. In cases where bacterial, viral, or fungal infections are the cause for itchy throat then treatment with an antiviral, antibiotic, and antifungal is good enough to get rid of the symptoms of itchy throat. In some cases corticosteroids and antihistamines are also quite helpful in getting rid of itchy feeling in throat.

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:May 17, 2022

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