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The reason why a sore throat won’t go away

A sore throat occurs when there is inflammation, making it difficult and painful to swallow or talk. If the pain persists for more than 2 weeks and you find it difficult to breathe, you should see your doctor.

Understanding what’s causing your recurrent sore throat is key to finding the best treatment.

The reason why sore throat won't go away - 1

A sore throat occurs when there is inflammation, making it difficult and painful to swallow or talk. (Illustration)


Allergies lead to a stuffy nose that turns into a runny nose after the mucus gets into the throat, leading to irritation and soreness. Allergies sometimes cause a cough, which then irritates your throat.

People with allergies often clear their throats to try to get rid of excess mucus. This can cause or worsen throat irritation.

If you are experiencing other symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose and itchy throat, that indicates that allergies are causing your sore throat.


Both viral and bacterial infections can cause a sore throat. A person is likely to contract influenza viruses, common cold, SARS-CoV-2 or bacterial infections that cause sore throat, pneumonia.

Viral infections cause sore throats more often than bacterial infections. Other signs of an infection are fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, and chills.


Smoking doesn’t usually cause a recurring sore throat from time to time, but things change if the habit persists. Smoking regularly causes dry, sore throat.

Toxins in tobacco slow down the movement of cilia, cells that absorb mucus and foreign particles. This leads to a build-up of mucus in the nasal passages and eventually causes a cough and sore throat.

Exposure to secondhand smoke can also cause irritation leading to a sore or itchy throat.

Acid reflux

When it comes to severe acid reflux, GERD is probably the most common. However, the disease is not likely to cause chronic sore throat like laryngospasm.

With laryngopharyngeal reflux, the acid in the stomach travels up the esophagus and into the throat, causing irritation and inflammation. This condition is accompanied by hoarseness, a chronic cough, and a feeling like a lump is stuck in the throat.

Risk factors for GERD include being overweight or obese, overeating, lying down right after eating, eating foods that are too spicy or acidic, and wearing clothes that are too tight around the waist.

Throat cancer

A sore throat is one of the most common symptoms of throat cancer.

A 2019 study found that a persistent sore throat combined with difficulty breathing, swallowing, or ear pain was a stronger predictor of nasopharyngeal cancer than hoarseness alone.

Paul Walker, an otolaryngologist at Loma Linda University School of Medicine (USA), said that when nasopharyngeal cancer is the culprit, chronic sore throat pain is not only persistent but also more painful over time, especially if the mass is you develop.

It can be a sharp or dull, aching pain that sometimes spreads to the jaw, neck, or ears as the cancer spreads. Some other common signs of nasopharyngeal cancer to look out for include stiff jaw, difficulty swallowing, lump in the neck, persistent bad breath, nosebleeds, and coughing up blood.

However, nasopharyngeal cancer is not very common, accounting for only 0.7% of cancers diagnosed in the US.

The biggest risk factors for oropharyngeal cancer include smoking and heavy drinking. People with Epstein-Barr virus, HPV, or poor oral hygiene can also get the disease.

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