Pharyngitis is the swelling and inflammation of the pharynx. The pharynx is the back of the throat, including the back of the tongue. Tonsillopharyngitis is the swelling of the pharynx and the tonsils. The tonsils are soft tissue that make up part of the throat's immune defenses. Both pharyngitis and tonsillopharyngitis are commonly called a sore throat. Sore throats can easily be treated. If you have a sore throat for more than two days, contact your doctor.
Your symptoms depend on the cause of the condition. If you experience any of these symptoms, do not assume it is due to pharyngitis or tonsillopharyngitis. These symptoms may be caused by other health conditions. If you experience any one of them, see your doctor.
Pain or difficulty when swallowing
Enlarged lymph nodes in your neck
The doctor will perform a physical exam, looking closely at your mouth, throat, nose, ears, and the lymph nodes in your neck.
This physical exam may include:
Using a small instrument to look inside the nose, ears, and mouth
Gently touching the lymph nodes (glands) in your neck to check for swelling
Taking your temperature
Examining your ears
The doctor will ask questions about:
Your family and medical history
Recent exposure to someone with
or any other infection of the throat, nose, or ears
Other tests include:
Rapid strep test or throat culture—using a cotton swab to touch the back of the throat to check for strep throat
—to identify conditions that may be causing the sore throat
Mono spot test
(if mononucleosis is suspected)
Treatment depends on the cause of the sore throat. Treatment options include:
Antibiotics for strep throat
Drugs to reduce sore throat pain; these drugs include:
Brink AJ, Cotton MF, Feldman C, et al. Working Group of the Infectious Diseases Society of South Africa. Guideline for the management of upper respiratory tract infections.
S Afr Med J
Perkins A. An approach to diagnosing the acute sore throat.
Am Fam Physician
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a