Dry throat: causes and therapy

Dry throat: causes and therapy

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A dry throat can have a variety of causes. It arises, for example, from illnesses, an overload of the vocal cords or is noticeable due to a lack of fluids or dry air. The complaints can also be the result of psychological stress. In addition to conventional medical measures, a variety of natural home remedies can be used for treatment. Best practices are gargling with sage tea, oil pulling or soothing neck wraps with curd cheese.

Causes of a dry throat

The so-called dryness of the throat is often the first symptom of an impending cold. There are also burning, scratching and a strong feeling of thirst. The mucous membranes in the throat and / or throat are affected by inflammation, which results in dryness.

Especially in the cold season, many people are affected. The triggers are the heated rooms, where the climate is often dry and the air humidity is too low. In many cases, this is also due to artificially air-conditioned rooms using air conditioning systems.

People who have to talk a lot (e.g. teachers or lecturers) and as a result of which the vocal cords are repeatedly overused usually know the feeling of a dry throat. This is reinforced especially in the colder months by heating air in the rooms.

In old age, when chronic diseases increasingly occur, medication is taken and the appetite decreases, and fluid intake decreases, the mucous membranes in the mouth and throat are often drier.

The symptoms often occur in connection with a lump in the throat (feeling of the globe). The patient feels as if there is a foreign body in the throat that cannot be removed by swallowing or clearing the throat. Drinking and eating only temporarily improves the situation.

Cause inflammation of the throat

Inflammation of the throat, known as pharyngitis in the technical language, can spread and subsequently result in tracheitis (inflammation of the trachea) and possibly even laryngitis (inflammation of the larynx). In these clinical pictures, a dry feeling in the throat is repeatedly reported, among other symptoms. Here, too, the inflammatory stimulus is the cause of the dryness.

If the pharyngitis chronica is chronic or chronic for more than three months, those affected also suffer from a dry throat, accompanied by a constant clearing of the throat and a dry cough. This chronic illness is triggered by various stimuli such as nicotine, alcohol, dust or chemicals. One of the many side effects of radiation therapy, such as that used in cancer treatment, is pharyngitis chronica with a dry throat.

Problems with breathing and saliva production

Constant mouth breathing, especially at night, triggered by a disabled nose breathing also leads to a dry feeling in the throat and throat. Inflammatory swelling, proliferation of the tonsils or curved nasal septum can be considered as causes of the breathing difficulties.

Accompanying symptoms like dry mouth, swallowing problems, burning on the tongue or mouth burning, chapped lips, bad breath and a metallic taste in the mouth can occur. In this case, problems with the salivary glands or the production of saliva are often mentioned as causes.

Hormonal changes and psychological stress

Women who are in the menopause (menopause) suffer more or less from dry mucous membranes, which also affects the area of ​​the nasopharynx. As a result, dryness often occurs in this phase of life. The lack of estrogen is responsible because the hormone normally contains water in the body and thus also supplies the mucous membranes. If the production of estrogen decreases, dryness is the consequence.

The psyche has a huge impact on the human body. Psychological problems and stress can also lead to a feeling of dryness in the throat, often in connection with a feeling of lump.

Dry throat due to illness

Sjögren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease, is known to attack salivary and lacrimal glands, causing dry mucous membranes. However, other diseases such as diabetes mellitus, Parkinson's disease and AIDS can also lead to the symptoms.

Throat dryness and / or a dry mouth also occur in connection with a variety of medications. The chemotherapy drugs used in cancer therapy lead to dryness in the mouth and throat in many cases.

Treatment of dryness in the throat

Of course, the focus is on treating the cause. If the patient has been suffering from a dry throat for a long period of time, clarification from the doctor is necessary. The main focus is on the therapy of the possible underlying disease.

Expectorants are administered to loosen any stuck mucus. Inhalations with salt work against inflammatory swellings and moisturize the dry mucous membranes. Oily nose drops that run down the throat also provide relief.

If you have thyroid problems, you need to consider whether iodine may be necessary. However, this should never be arbitrarily decided, but a doctor should be consulted.

Chronic sore throat, which is accompanied by a dry throat and occurs as a result of radiation, is often treated with synthetic saliva.

If mouth breathing is the cause of the constantly dry throat due to a bent nasal septum, surgery can also be considered.

Naturopathy and home remedies for a dry throat

In addition to conventional medical treatment measures, there are a variety of natural means available to relieve the symptoms. If you have a dry throat, you should make sure that you have adequate hydration. If the dryness occurs in connection with an infection, medicated therapy helps to loosen throat lozenges and regular gurgling. For example, sage tea or special gargle solutions that are anti-inflammatory and disinfectant are suitable for this. Neck wraps with curd, lemon or salt support healing.

Instructions for curd wrap:
  1. Spread thick curd on a wet linen or cotton cloth
  2. Place the curd side of the cloth on the skin
  3. Wrap a wool scarf over it
  4. Let the edition work for several hours (preferably overnight)

Milk with honey helps against the symptoms, as do warm soups or drinking herbal tea. In particular, thyme and sage should be mentioned as ingredients, as these have a positive effect on the mucous membrane in the throat.

If sore throat is the cause of the symptoms, inhalations with chamomile, oregano and thyme have proven effective. These have anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant effects.

Soothing inhalation with medicinal herbs:
  • Mix 20 g of chamomile flowers, thyme and oregano together
  • Place 2 tablespoons of the mixture in a heat-resistant bowl
  • Pour a liter of boiling water over the herbs
  • Hold your head over the bowl
  • The head, the vessel and the upper body are covered with a towel so that the steam cannot escape
  • Inhale the vapors alternately through your mouth and nose
  • Inhale twice a day for about eight to ten minutes each

Danger: If you feel unwell or in pain, the procedure must be stopped immediately. Keep a certain distance from the water to avoid scalding. After inhalation, rest and warmth are important.

Another effective home remedy for irritable cough and dry throat is inhalation with sea salt or Himalayan salt. Because this has a moisturizing, disinfecting and calming effect on the mucous membranes. To do this, mix hot water with salt in a bowl (9 grams of salt per liter of water). Inhale as described, with your head covered over the steaming vessel.

Oil pulling is a good way to cope with dryness in the mouth and throat. For this purpose, about a teaspoonful of good, cold-pressed sunflower or sesame oil is chewed in the mouth before brushing your teeth in the morning and pressed between your teeth with your tongue.

It is best to do this for a few minutes, then spit the oil into a cloth. The longer the yellowish oil gets, the longer it stays in the mouth, a white color. In this way, pathogens are removed from the oral cavity and a healthy environment is ensured. After the oil pulling, the daily oral hygiene can be carried out as usual.

If there is a psychological cause, the treatment should be approached here. Relaxation exercises to relieve stress such as yoga or autogenic training, soothing herbs from naturopathy to conventional medical treatment by a psychotherapist should be considered.

Natural remedies for dryness in the menopause

In the case of a dry throat, which occurs in connection with the menopause, the drinking amount must first be reconsidered. Schüssler salts provide effective support. Salt # 4 (potassium chloratum), which has a great influence on the mucous membranes, and salt # 8 (sodium chloratum), which ensures a healthy fluid balance, are particularly suitable here.

In the menopause, when the estrogen level has already dropped significantly, naturopathy uses remedies such as red clover, soybeans, cimicifuga or Siberian rhubarb. If the dryness arises due to external stimuli, these should be switched off if possible. Hanging up damp cloths or installing an evaporator can improve the indoor climate here.

Dry throat: tips and prevention

Sufficient fluid throughout the day, drunk in small portions, can help. The sugar-free drinks, preferably water, should be given preference. The amount of coffee should be reduced, as this could possibly increase the dryness in the throat.

To stimulate the flow of saliva and to combat the uncomfortable feeling in the throat, chewing sugar-free chewing gum or sucking sugar-free candy helps. Tobacco and alcohol dry out the mouth and throat, so both should be avoided.

Moist air must be provided in the bedroom. This can be done by hanging wet towels or installing a humidifier. Expressed onions, which are placed near the sleeping area, are said to provide relief when the throat is dry. (sw, nr)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Susanne Waschke, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


  • German professional association of ear, nose and throat specialists: (accessed: 22.08.2019), pharyngitis - signs and course
  • Norbert Schwenzer; Michael Ehrenfeld: Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine: Dental Surgery, Thieme, 2009
  • A.J.M. Ligenberg; E.C.I Veerman: "Xerostomia", in: Saliva: Secretion and Functions Monographs in Oral Science Volume 24, Karger
  • Jillian W. Millsop; Elizabeth A. Wang; Nasim Fazel: "Etiology, evaluation, and management of xerostomia", in: Clinics in Dermatology, Volume 35 Issue 5, 2017,
  • Michaal Reiss: Specialist knowledge ENT medicine: Differentiated diagnostics and therapy, Springer, 2009

Video: How To Treat a Dry Throat And Top 10 Home Remedies For Dry Throat (October 2022).