Sore throats are one of the most common symptoms people experience; however, they often accompany bacterial throat infections and colds. If you find yourself waking up in the morning with a dry, scratchy, or sore throat, then you may be wondering what’s going on. An ENT doctor who specializes in treating conditions of the ear, nose, and throat may be able to give you the answers you’re looking for.
What could be causing this problem?
It’s important to look to your environment and your lifestyle for clues as to what’s going on. For one, if you were out singing or talking in a loud club the night before you may have simply strained your vocal cords. If you have seasonal allergies such as hay fever, you may notice that you wake up with persistent scratchy or sore throats several months out of the year. If your bedroom is particularly dry, especially during the colder months, this could be another reason you wake up with sore throats.
There are a host of infections that also cause sore throats; however, they are often short-lived and don’t persist for more than 10 days. Viral infections are often to blame, and they will go away without treatment (antibiotics will not be effective against the common cold or influenza virus). People who deal with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) often complain of a scratchy or sore throat. If you are also dealing with heartburn or acid reflux two or more times a week, this could be the culprit.
Another possible cause of a sore or scratchy throat in the morning is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a common sleep disorder that causes obstructions in the airway while you sleep. It’s important to recognize the warning signs of OSA so that you know when to turn to an ENT for further evaluation.
These signs include,
- Waking up with a sore throat
- Persistent morning headaches
- Waking up tired despite a full night’s sleep
- Loud, chronic snoring
- Increased mood swings
- Trouble concentrating and poor memory
When to see a doctor?
If you experience recurring or persistent sore throats it’s always a good idea to see your ENT doctor for a proper diagnosis so you know how to best treat your symptoms. Since some infections such as strep can be dangerous to both kids and adults, it’s important to know when to come in for treatment.
- You should see an ENT doctor right away if:
- You are having trouble swallowing or breathing
- You have extremely painful or swollen lymph nodes
- Your sore throat is accompanied by a high fever
- Your sore throat persists for more than a week
- You have trouble sleeping due to swallowing or breathing issues
If you are dealing with a persistent or recurring scratchy or sore throat it’s important that you consult an ENT doctor to find out what’s going on. Many of the conditions above warrant treatment to prevent further complications, so don’t delay getting the treatment you need.