In chronic inflammation of the throat (so-called pharyngitis) it is a long-lasting or permanent inflammation of the pharynx. A chronic pharyngitis is only spoken of after a period of more than 3 months.
Chronic pharyngitis is characterized by fluctuating symptoms and presents itself quite differently.

Forms of chronic pharyngitis

Depending on the presentation, a distinction is made between three main forms: A simple sore throat (Pharyngitis simplex) in which the mucous membrane of the throat is not changed or is slightly inflamed. With hyperplastic pharyngitis (Pharyngitis chronica hyperplastica) the lining of the throat is thickened. Atrophic pharyngitis (Pharyngitis sicca) shows the mucous membrane rather thin and shiny.

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Chronic pharyngitis is relatively common and usually occurs in middle age, with men more often affected than women.

Read more on the topic: Inflammation in the throat

Causes of chronic sore throat

There are various causes that can trigger a chronic throat infection. Chronic pharyngitis is called differently depending on the cause.

Pharyngitis chronica respiratoria, for example, is triggered by various environmental noxae. For example, this also includes obstructed nasal breathing, which allows those affected to breathe through the mouth. This leads to the fact that the mucous membrane dries out more quickly and becomes inflamed as a result. This form of chronic pharyngitis can also be triggered by dry, dusty air, cigarette smoke or other noxious substances such as radiation or environmental toxins.
It is also possible to develop a chronic inflammation of the throat through medication such as cortisone sprays, antidepressants or neuroleptics.
Previous tonsillitis (so-called. Tonsillitis) or chronic sinus infections (so-called. Sinusitis) can also be responsible for a chronic inflammation of the throat.

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Another form of chronic pharyngitis is pharyngitis chronica digestiva, which is triggered by alcohol or too spicy or hot food.
Pharyngitis chronica allergica occurs due to allergic diseases.
Metabolic disorders such as diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism or gastrointestinal diseases are considered to be the triggers of the so-called pharyngitis chronica metabolica.

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What is the cause of the thyroid gland?

If the thyroid gland is underactive (so-called hypothyroidism), the thyroid hormones in the blood are decreased. These are not only important for growth, the heart and cell differentiation, but also for healthy hair, skin and mucous membranes.

If too few thyroid hormones are formed, the mucous membrane can no longer regenerate sufficiently. This can lead to dryness, especially in the throat, which is exposed to constant environmental pollution through breathing. This can promote inflammation in the throat and, if the hypothyroidism is not treated, lead to chronic inflammation of the throat.

Read more about the topic here: Underactive thyroid.

What is the cause of reflux?

If the stomach makes too much acid it can cause heartburn and acidic belching (so-called reflux) get into the esophagus up to the lining of the throat. Since the mucous membrane of the throat is not designed for the acidic pH of the stomach acid, it is attacked and inflamed.

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Chronic inflammation of the throat can develop, especially if the reflux is severe and persistent.

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more on the subject Reflux read on here.

HIV as a possible cause?

HIV is an immunodeficiency caused by viruses. Therefore, especially in the early stages, sore throat can occur in addition to other symptoms such as fever.
Due to the immune deficiency, the body is generally more susceptible to infections from bacteria, fungi and viruses. This can lead to recurring infections and sore throat, some of which can be chronic.

However, chronic inflammation of the throat as a sign of an underlying HIV disease is very unspecific and therefore not to be seen as a sure sign of an infection with the HI virus.

Find out more about the here Symptoms of HIV.

Characteristic symptoms of chronic pharyngitis

In general, symptoms of throat inflammation last for more than 3 months or reappear within a short time. Often the general well-being is reduced with a chronic pharyngitis.

There are two main symptoms of chronic inflammation of the throat: The inflammation of the lining of the throat often leads to scratching or sore throat. Pain, for example when swallowing, may also occur. In some cases, those affected feel a so-called globe feeling. Those affected describe this feeling as if there was a foreign body in the throat.
In addition there is the dryness of the throat, which can lead to a throat clearing. If this dryness increases at night from breathing through the mouth, this can also lead to insomnia. Furthermore, mucus can form, which triggers an urge to cough.
In addition, infections with other cold symptoms such as fever, runny nose, stuffy nose or headaches occur more often. Bad breath can also occur.

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In pharyngitis chronica sicca, the damaged mucous membrane forms secretions. As a result of the dryness in the throat, these secretions form lumps that can not only be felt by the person concerned but can also be seen when looking at the throat.

Find out what you can do here against sore throat can do.

Formation of mucus

In pharyngitis chronica hyperplastica there is a thickening of the pharynx which produces more mucus.
The mucus is usually tough and causes an urge to cough. This form of throat inflammation is often preceded by pharygitis chronica simplex. With this form of pharyngitis, there is initially only a slightly inflamed pharynx with few symptoms.

Since chronic sore throat infections are often susceptible to infection, bacteria can cause the mucus to form. The slime can then turn out green, white or yellowish.

Here is a detailed description of the symptoms of a sore throat: Symptoms of a sore throat

Swollen lymph nodes

Swollen lymph nodes are a sign of a working immune system.
As a result, cervical lymph nodes are often swollen in acute throat infections. However, they can also be swollen with chronic inflammation of the throat, as this is also an inflammation that is fought by the immune system.

If the chronic inflammation of the throat is exposed to a fresh infection with bacteria or viruses, the lymph nodes can also swell and even be painful. In some cases, the lymph nodes can also be reddened.

Bad breath

Bad breath can be associated with a sore throat when the tissues in the throat decompose.
This tissue degradation can be caused by gram-negative and anaerobic bacteria. Chronic tonsillitis can also trigger bad breath.The inflamed tonsils secrete a secretion that creates the bad breath.
A dry throat associated with chronic pharyngitis can also cause bad breath. In rare cases, throat cancer (so-called pharyngeal carcinoma) be responsible for sore throats with difficulty swallowing and bad breath.

Read more on the subject here: Bad breath.


To identify the cause of the sore throat and make a diagnosis, a detailed medical history is recovered at the beginning. This should not only include the beginning, duration and symptoms but also the question of possible exposure to noxious substances, such as jobs with chemicals, nicotine or alcohol abuse.
Furthermore, the different forms of chronic pharyngitis can often be differentiated through the clinical picture.

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A blood sample can rule out an underactive thyroid. Endoscopic reflections of the nose and throat as well as pictures of the paranasal sinuses can also be made. Changes in the mucous membrane can be observed in detail and samples that indicate possible cell changes in the pharyngeal mucosa can be taken.
Sinus diagnostics, such as a CT scan, can identify chronic sinus infections as the cause of the pharynx. Smears from the back of the throat can provide information about bacterial or mycotic infections of the throat caused by fungi

The treatment

The therapy for chronic pharyngitis depends on the triggering cause. Since a complete cure cannot be achieved in this case, the aim of treatment is primarily to improve the symptoms.
If the chronic inflammation of the throat is triggered by toxic substances, these should be avoided. For example, when working with chemicals that trigger inflammation, it may be necessary to change jobs.
If chronic inflammation of the tonsils leads to inflammation of the throat, surgical removal of the tonsils should be considered. If nasal breathing is constantly impeded, only breathing with an open mouth is possible, the cause of the nasal obstruction must be eliminated. For example, enlarged turbinates or tonsils can impede breathing through the nose, which should then also be surgically removed.

If the cause of the chronic inflammation of the throat is caused by an underlying disease, it must be treated. For example, heartburn as a cause should be treated with proton pump inhibitors. The proton pump inhibitors reduce gastric acid production and thus acidic belching.
If the thyroid is underactive, however, thyroid hormones should be taken.

Symptomatic therapy can be used to reduce the symptoms of chronic pharyngitis in the early stages or if they are not completely eliminated. This should include moistening the mucous membranes with, for example, inhalation of Emser Sole® and drinking sufficient amounts throughout the day.
Sucking sweets with sage, for example, can also keep the mucous membranes moist. To reduce the inflammation from the mouth and throat, you can gargle with solutions.

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Treatment by home remedies

Chronic pharyngitis is often accompanied by dry mucous membranes.

For example, ventilating rooms, for example in winter with dry heating air, can help counteract chronic inflammation of the throat. In addition, it is important to drink a lot and often. Teas such as sage or other herbal teas and milk with honey are ideal can relieve discomfort in the throat.
Lollipops with Icelandic moss and gargle solutions, for example, can moisten the throat and mucous membrane and also provide relief. Inhalations with sage, salt water or chamomile can also improve the existing symptoms.

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More information on this topic: Home remedies for a sore throat

Treatment through homeopathy

Homeopathic remedies can be used to support the therapy.

On the one hand, Mercurius solubilis is suitable for chronic pharyngitis. It works against pain and inflammation in the throat and throat area. For chronic diseases, higher potencies should be used. However, it should be taken in consultation with a therapist. Aesculus Globuli can be taken when the throat is dry and inflamed.

Duration of a chronic inflammation of the throat

Chronic pharyngitis can last for months to years before it is even diagnosed. Often there is an improvement or a disappearance of the symptoms until the inflammation occurs again.
Therapy is very important for improving or alleviating the symptoms. For an improvement, regardless of the cause, avoiding noxious substances such as alcohol or nicotine is generally very important.
Sometimes the symptoms no longer go away. This is especially the case when there is a systemic disease such as diabetes mellitus, which weakens the immune system.

Read more on this topic at: Duration of a sore throat

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