Mucositis of the oro-pharyngeal

What is Oro-Pharyngeal Mucositis?

Oro-pharyngeal mucositis is a painful condition that occurs when tissue in the back of the throat, including the tonsils, become swollen and irritated. It is most common in people who have had radiation therapy to the neck and head, but can also be caused by some chemotherapy and/or biological therapies.

The symptoms of oro-pharyngeal mucositis can include pain when swallowing, swelling of the tonsils and throat, difficulty speaking and eating, and a feeling of dryness or sticky saliva in the back of the throat.

How is Oro-Pharyngeal Mucositis treated?

There are a number of treatments available for oro-pharyngeal mucositis, and the best course of action will depend on the individual case. Possible treatments include:

  • Pain management: This can include using narcotic or non-narcotic pain medications as well as topical anesthetics such as lidocaine.
  • Hydration: Drinking lots of fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Nutritional support: Eating a soft or pureed diet may help to relieve symptoms of oro-pharyngeal mucositis.
  • Nasogastric tubes: These tubes are inserted through the nose into the stomach to provide nutrition and remove saliva.
  • Antibiotics: To help prevent or treat infections related to oro-pharyngeal mucositis.
  • Antioxidants: Antioxidants may help to protect the oral mucosa from damage caused by radiation or chemotherapy.
  • Local rinses: Rinsing with mouthwashes containing lidocaine, steroids, and antifungal agents may help to reduce symptoms of oro-pharyngeal mucositis.
  • Oral care: Regular brushing, flossing, and other oral care may help to prevent infections and irritation.
  • Topical treatments: Applying pastes or creams that contain steroids, lidocaine, or antifungal agents may help to reduce pain and swelling.

In some cases, surgical treatments may be needed to treat oro-pharyngeal mucositis. These treatments may include the removal of the tonsils, the draining of abscesses, or the repair of tissue damage caused by the condition.

Preventing Oro-Pharyngeal Mucositis

In addition to the treatments mentioned above, there are several things you can do to help prevent oro-pharyngeal mucositis from occurring or worsening. These include:

  • Practicing good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly, and using a soft toothbrush.
  • Rinsing your mouth with warm salty water or an antiseptic rinse.
  • Using a humidifier to keep the air in your environment moist.
  • Avoiding foods that are acidic, spicy, or that contain high levels of sugar.
  • Avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol.
  • Maintaining good nutrition and hydration.

If you have been diagnosed with oro-pharyngeal mucositis, it is important to follow your doctor's instructions for care and to be aware of any potential side-effects or complications. Working with your doctor or other healthcare professionals in order to develop the best treatment plan can help to reduce symptoms and decrease the risk of infection.