Throat dryness can be annoying, particularly if dryness makes swallowing uncomfortable. Dryness in the back of the throat can occur due to allergies, illnesses or reduced moisture in the air. Identifying the cause of your dry throat will allow you to find an appropriate treatment to restore moisture and resolve underlying issues causing the problem.
Pharyngitis, commonly called sore throat, occurs when a viral or bacterial infection affects the throat. If you have a sore throat, your throat may hurt and feel dry. Pain may increase when you swallow or talk, and you may find that it is difficult to swallow. Glands in your neck and jaw may feel sore and painful if you have a sore throat. You may notice pus or white patches on your tonsils, which may appear red. Doctors prescribe fluids and rest for patients with sore throats. If the sore throat occurred as a result of a bacterial infection, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic. Gargling with salt water and using lozenges can make your throat feel more moist.
Post-nasal drip can also cause a dry feeling in the back of the throat. Post-nasal drip occurs when mucus from the sinuses drips down the back of the throat. Post-nasal drip can occur due to allergies, upper respiratory illnesses, hormonal changes, gastroesophageal reflux disease, medications, bacterial sinus infections, cold temperatures and lack of moisture in the air. Other symptoms of post-nasal drip include coughing, hoarseness and difficulty swallowing. Treating the cause of post-nasal drip can alleviate the problem. In some cases, there may be no obvious cause. The American Academy of Otolaryngology reports that many people, especially older people, need more fluids to thin out mucus secretions. Increasing fluid intake with water and noncaffeinated beverages, irrigating the sinuses with a saline solution and avoiding medications that increase urination may help thin mucus.
Throat dryness can be a sign of Sjogren’s syndrome, a chronic disorder that affects the glands. Approximately 4 million people in the U.S. have the disorder, according to the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation. Sjogren’s syndrome normally affects the glands that produce saliva and tears, although the bowel, lung and other organs can be affected. In addition to dry throat, you may also notice that your eyes feel dry or are red. Dryness in the mouth and throat can cause make swallowing chewing and speaking more difficult. Dryness can also increase the number of cavities that develop in your teeth. Other symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome include hoarseness, cough, fatigue, muscle aches and pains and enlarged glands in the jaw. Although there is no cure for Sjogren’s syndrome, you can increase moisture by using prescription medications to increase saliva, drinking small amounts of water throughout the day, sucking on sugar-free candy or gum or using a saliva substitute.
Lack of Humidity
Low humidity, a common problem during the winter months in cold climates, can contribute to throat dryness. MayoClinic.com reports that humidity in your home should range between 30 to 50 percent. When humidity is too low, your skin and moist membranes become dry and itchy. Using a humidifier can help reduce the problem by increasing the moisture level in your home.