7 Reasons Why Your Throat Feels So Dry (2024)

Your throat, or pharynx, is a tube that carries air to your windpipe and larynx (known as the voice box). It also transports food to your esophagus, the hollow tube that runs from the throat to the stomach. When internal or external problems lower saliva production in your mouth and throat, your throat can become dry because there's not enough saliva to keep it moist.

With a dry throat, you might develop a series of symptoms, including sore throat, excessive thirst, hoarse voice, loss of taste, or difficulty chewing or swallowing food. Several underlying causes, like infections, smoking, or dehydration, can all cause a dry throat.

Viral infections such as the common cold and influenza (the flu) are common culprits of a dry throat. These viruses affect the upper respiratory tract, which makes up the throat, nose, sinuses, and voice box. These infections can cause symptoms like coughing, congestion, and breathing through your mouth—all of which can contribute to your throat becoming dry.

Dehydration

Dehydration occurs when your body does not have enough fluids and water to function efficiently.Sweating too much, not drinking enough water, having a fever, peeing too much, or experiencing diarrhea or vomiting can cause dehydration.

When you're dehydrated, your body doesn't have enough fluid to keep your mouth and throat hydrated and moist, which can cause a dry throat to develop.

Living in a dry climate can often contribute to a dry throat. Research has found that indoor environments with higher humidity levels are associated with a lower risk of dryness or irritation in the throat.

To ensure an optimal environment for the throat and to prevent dryness from occurring, try keeping a humidifier in your home and limit traveling to extremely hot and dry places.

Allergic Rhinitis

Allergies are an immune system reaction to certain substances. A specific type of allergy known as allergic rhinitis (hay fever) can cause a dry throat. Several things can trigger allergic rhinitis, including pollen, dust mites, mold, and pet dander. If you have allergic rhinitis—which affects up to 60 million Americans—you may develop symptoms like a runny nose, congestion, and a dry or itchy throat.

Overusing your vocal cords causes inflammation in the voice box, which may lead to a condition called acute (short-term) laryngitis. Laryngitis can dry out the throat and cause many other symptoms, such as a change in voice, loss of voice, throat discomfort or pain, and dry cough.

Smoking

Studies have shown that the tobacco from cigarettes, vapes, or hookah can irritate the upper respiratory tract. Smoking can affect the tissues that line your throat and lungs, leading to symptoms like coughing and a dry throat.

Research suggests that more than 400 medications can cause dry throat as a side effect. Certain medications, such as medicines for depression and high blood pressure, can cause the salivary glands to produce less saliva.

If you receive a prescription medication for a health condition, ask your healthcare provider about any side effects to keep in mind before starting the treatment.

Is Dry Throat Hereditary?

Dry throat is not usually hereditary, as it is mainly caused by environmental, internal, or lifestyle factors. However, some hereditary health conditions may cause dry throat. For example, Sjögren's syndrome (SS) is a chronic autoimmune disorder that occurs when the immune system attacks the body's glands and affects how much moisture they can produce. These glands are located in the eyes, mouth, nose, and skin, among other body parts.

Genetic and environmental factors affect your likelihood of developing Sjögren's syndrome. That said, having a gene mutation that increases your risk of Sjögren's syndrome doesn't guarantee that you'll develop the condition.

Anyone can develop a dry throat, and chances are that you've probably experienced dryness in your throat at some point in your life. However, some people may have a higher risk of developing a dry throat than others. This includes people who:

  • Experience frequent viral infections
  • Have allergies
  • Smoke tobacco often
  • Breathe through their mouths
  • Take medications for underlying health conditions
  • Live with health conditions such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Work or live in dry climates

A Quick Review

Dry throat occurs when your salivary glands aren't producing enough saliva to keep your mouth and throat dry. Several underlying factors can cause a dry throat, such as infections, allergies, smoking, taking certain medications, and living in a dry area. As a result, you may experience symptoms like sore throat, loss of voice, extreme thirst, and trouble speaking or eating.

If your dry throat persists despite home remedies like staying hydrated or sucking on cough drops, talk to your healthcare provider about medical treatments and home remedies that can help improve symptoms.

7 Reasons Why Your Throat Feels So Dry (2024)
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