How to beat throat ulcers

Updated February 21, 2017

Throat ulcers are painful, open sores at the back of the throat that can make necessary actions like swallowing and eating virtually impossible. If you or your child has a throat ulcer, it is important that you see a doctor to properly diagnose and treat the problem. Here are some steps to follow to reduce your discomfort at home while you're waiting to see your physician.

Call your doctor and make an appointment. If you don't have a doctor, visit a local walk-in clinic. Throat ulcers are usually a symptom of a viral infection and often require drug therapy.

Avoid eating spicy food that will irritate the ulcer and intensify your pain. Stay away from citrus juices and alcohol too, as their acid content will aggravate your throat ulcer.

Gargle and rinse with warm salt water three times per day to soothe pain.

Use a medicated mouthwash twice each day. A pharmacist will be able to direct you to an over-the-counter mouthwash that will kill bacteria without adding to your throat ulcer pain. You may want to shelf your industrial strength mouthwash for a while, as it may trigger intense discomfort.

Monitor your symptoms closely. If you are unable to eat or drink anything, experience high fever or other dangerous symptoms, call your doctor's office immediately or visit the emergency room.


If your throat ulcer causes such pain that you are unable to swallow any liquids, call your doctor or visit an emergency room. Dehydration is a dangerous condition, especially in children and the elderly, and requires immediate medical attention. Some prescription drugs for osteoporosis can cause throat ulcers. If you are taking medication for osteoporosis, make sure to take as directed. Call your doctor or pharmacist with questions about your prescription medication.

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