Suffering from a sore throat that just won’t go away? Here are 10 possible causes
03/11/2020 // Divina Ramirez // Views

A sore throat often occurs as a result of the immune system responding to pathogens. It is marked by a burning, scratchy sensation in the throat that can make the act of swallowing painful and difficult. Sore throats are very common and are relatively harmless. In most cases,a sore throat can be treated by increasing your water intake and getting plenty of rest.

However, a frequently recurring sore throat may be a symptom of an underlying health complication or a serious infection. If you suffer from a chronic sore throat, it is important to determine its cause as soon as possible to prevent further complications. You may also need to re-evaluate certain habits and lifestyle choices that may be causing the infection.

Here are some common reasons behind a chronic sore throat:


The toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke, like carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide and nitrogen oxide, can drastically irritate the throat. People who smoke regularly may suffer from a chronic sore throat due to constant exposure to these irritants, which can also significantly increase a person's risk of throat cancer. Moreover, people who smoke are more at risk of respiratory tract infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia.


Airborne allergens like dust, pollen, fur and mildew, may trigger an allergic reaction in individuals with hypersensitive immune systems. Some common symptoms associated with airborne allergies include a runny nose, a sore throat and watery eyes. In most cases, allergic reactions are normal and typically do not require professional help. However, some individuals with seasonal allergies may suffer from persistent nose and throat irritation when there is an abundance of pollen.


Air pollution

Smog poses certain health risks to people living in large cities or near industrial areas. Smog is comprised of many harmful chemicals, like sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide, that can irritate the nose, throat and lungs. People who are constantly exposed to polluted air may experience persistent sore throats, a hacking cough and difficulty breathing.


Sore throats can also be caused by viral and bacterial infections. For instance, the common cold is a viral respiratory illness that primarily affects your nose and throat. For this reason, common cold symptoms typically include a sore throat and a runny nose.


Sore throats can also develop when the tonsils become infected and swollen—a contagious condition known as tonsillitis. Common symptoms of tonsillitis include chills and difficulty swallowing. (Related: Use herbal and homeopathic treatments for tonsillitis.)


Gonorrhea is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STI) in the U.S. It is caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which can infect the throat as a result of oral sex. Signs you may be suffering from gonorrhea include a painful, swollen throat and severe difficulty swallowing.

Acid reflux

Acid reflux is a condition marked by heartburn in the lower chest area. It occurs when the contents of the stomach flow back up into the esophagus as a result of weakened throat muscles. In most cases, acid reflux causes a sore throat due to the presence of corrosive stomach acid in the esophagus.

Postnasal drip

Postnasal drip is a condition that can be triggered by dry air, weather changes and certain foods. When these allergens irritate the nose, it can result in excess mucus production. This excess mucus then drains from the sinuses and into the throat, which causes irritation.


Mononucleosis or “mono” is a type of fever, causes by a virus, that produces flu-like symptoms, including a sore throat, swollen tonsils, headaches and fatigue. Most cases of mono are mild. However, it can last up to two months in individuals with weak immune systems, thereby prolonging the symptoms as well.

Peritonsillar abscess

A peritonsillar abscess is a bacterial infection that affects the tonsils. It is often caused by tonsillitis that did not completely go away. If the infected tonsil remains untreated, an abscess eventually forms on the surface of the tonsil, causing severe pain and swelling in the throat, jaw, ears and neck.

In most cases, a sore throat can disappear on its own after a few days, depending on the cause. However, chronic throat infections may take a while to heal and may require a change in eating habits or lifestyle choices.

Sources include:

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