where does this pain when swallowing come from?

Odynophagia is a discomfort in the throat when swallowing. Covid, monkey pox… It can be a sign of various conditions. What causes? What are the differences with dysphagia? What treatment to relieve it? Definition and answers with Dr Thierry Rousselet.

Acute odynophagia, this pain felt during the swallowingis known as one of the symptoms of Covid-19. It is also associated with monkey pox. Among the cases investigated [de Monkeypox], 14% experienced odynophagia” has indicated Public Health France in June. This disorder, already known to doctors, gives sore throat. What are the symptoms ? What causes ? What differences with the dysphagia ? How to relieve odynophagia? What treatments ? Definition and answers of Dr Thierry Rousselet, ENT.

Definition: what is odynophagia?

Odynophagia refers to a blockage felt in the passage of food through the upper digestive tract. It particularly affects the pharynx, connecting the mouth to the esophagus, when food is swallowed (swallowing) as well as the esophagus through which food passes to reach the stomach. “This is a symptom that is frequently found in ENT, it is difficulty swallowing” says Dr. Thierry Rousselet, ENT. “Patients tell me they smell like lump in the throat“he specifies.

What are the symptoms of odynophagia?

Odynophagia is characterized by discomfort when swallowing, in other words, the act of swallowing food or one’s own saliva. It also causes a sore throat and possibly fever. “It causes inflammation of the posterior pillars of the tonsillar compartments (redness) and gives the impression of having a anginaexplains our expert.

What are the causes of odynophagia?

Odynophagia can be a symptom of various diseases including pharyngitis or posterior rhinitis” indicates Dr. Rousselet. Odynophagia could also be caused by the contraction of the Covid-19. Odynophagia comes from sinuses that are cloggedexplains Dr. Rousselet.

Acute odynophagia has been added to the list of common Covid and Omicron variant symptoms in Sweden.

Is odynophagia a symptom of Covid?

Acute odynophagia would be a covid symptom-19 according to the Swedish study published on February 15, 2022.”Previous variants of SARS-CoV-2 infection primarily affected the lower respiratory tract and were associated with loss of smell and taste in many patients. The Omicron variant appears to primarily affect the upper respiratory tract and cause a laryngitis acute without olfactory dysfunction. In some patients, the clinical manifestation is similar to the symptoms ofepiglottitis (a rapidly progressive infection of the epiglottis and surrounding tissues)”, say the Swedish scientists. The researchers observed “cases of patients diagnosed with coronavirus who were referred to the ENT emergency department between January 1 and January 23, 2022 with clinical symptoms such as acute odynophagia, severe sore throat and fever“. In fact, acute odynophagia has been added to the list of common symptoms of Covid and Omicron variant in Sweden. Among the patients analysed:

  • 20 cases of odynophagia were identified
  • Among them, 15 were fully vaccinated against Covid-19
  • 4 needed a short hospitalization for their symptoms
  • 6 patients showed signs of secondary bacterial infection and were put on antibiotic therapy.

What are the differences between odynophagia and dysphagia?

Odynophagia is a difficulty when swallowing., or at the level of the esophagus during the progression of food. There is no feeling of blockage. The dysphagia refers to pain when swallowing. When swallowing, the person feels discomfort or blockage in case of odynophagia“says Dr. Rousselet.

The treatment targets the nasal passage. “The nose wash essentially is beneficial because it carries the secretions: we take a container in which we put heated tap water and salt. You can prescribe corticosteroids to decrease inflammation of the ENT sphere in nasal drops for example” recommends Dr. Rousselet.

Thanks to Dr Thierry Rousselet, ENT and cervico-odonto-facial surgery.

Source : “Acute odynophagia – a new symptom of COVID-19 during the wave of SARS-CoV-2 Omicron variant in Sweden”, J Interne Med. February 15, 2022.

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