Pharyngitis or Sore Throat

Throat | Gastroenterology | Pharyngitis or Sore Throat (Symptom)


Pharyngitis is an inflammation of the throat, usually caused by an infection. The infection can sometimes cause inflammation of the tonsils as well. Pharyngitis can be acute or chronic.

The throat starts at the back of the mouth and nose and connects to the oesophagus, trachea and larynx. A sore throat is felt as a painful burning or scratching sensation in the back of the throat, pain when swallowing, and sometimes tenderness in the neck. Most sore throats are caused by viruses or mechanical causes (such as mouth breathing) and can be treated successfully at home. A sore throat, depending on the cause, should last for no longer 7 to 10 days.

The symptoms of pharyngitis vary, depending on how inflamed the throat is. Symptoms can include: a sore throat – pain at the back of the mouth, which may be mild or severe, difficulty and pain when swallowing, earache, a fever – a temperature higher than 37. 5°C, feeling generally unwell, muscle aches, cough, enlarged and tender glands in your neck, enlarged and tender tonsils (tonsillitis).


Pharyngitis is usually caused by an infection with a virus or bacterium. Most people with acute pharyngitis have a viral infection such as the common cold. The most common type of bacterial infection is Streptococcus (known as strep throat). Irritants (airborne allergens such as grass and tree pollen, smoke and air pollution. sprays containing chemicals, alcohol) and allergens can also inflame the linings of your throat and cause a persistent sore throat (chronic pharyngitis).

It is more likely for someone to have a persistent sore throat if he or she smokes or have a medical condition affecting the mouth, nose or upper respiratory system (such as hay fever, sinusitis or a chronic cough). Pharyngitis will usually get better on its own.