Symptoms of pharyngitis

Symptoms of pharyngitis is called the totality of its external manifestations that characterize the course of the disease. This picture of symptoms is the basis for the division of the disease into acute and chronic forms. In addition, knowing the characteristic symptoms of pharyngitis, the attending physician conducts a differential diagnosis of pharyngitis from tonsillitis, laryngitis and other inflammatory processes in the throat and upper respiratory tract.

First common symptoms

The main symptoms of the disease in acute and chronic form are the same for children and adults. The development of pharyngitis can be determined by the appearance of dryness and tickling in the throat, pain when swallowing saliva and during eating. There may be a general feeling of indisposition, with increased body temperature, and in rare cases, sore throat is so severe that it radiates to the ears. This picture of the disease is characteristic of the acute form, however, chronic pharyngitis can develop similarly.

The difference is only in the intensity of the symptoms - with a chronic course in the sore throat is not so clearly expressed, there is constant tickling and dryness, a feeling of coma in the throat. The patient feels the need to take fluid to soak over a dry throat. There is a dry cough.

Manifestation in chronic course

Chronic pharyngitis is a disease in a state of remission or exacerbation, when the main symptoms of the disease have a specific external manifestation. The chronic course, depending on the degree of intensity of the lesion, can be catarrhal, hypertrophic, atrophic or granular.


The first stage of development is catarrhal. The symptomatology at the same time not too obviously causes discomfort to the patient, but it is difficult not to notice it. Initially, the disease manifests itself with sore and unpleasant sensations in the throat - itching, burning, and dryness. When swallowing food or fluids, a characteristic pain of a symmetrical type is felt. The temperature usually remains within the normal range, but may rise to subfebrile values. When visually inspected, swelling of the tonsils and arches, posterior pharyngeal wall is noticeable. Mucosa becomes red.

The bacterial nature of the disease is manifested by the presence of white plaque on the back of the throat and tonsils. All the time there is a presence of a foreign body in the throat due to the fact that the inflamed glands produce mucus. Discharges are thick and viscous, and the patient tries to cough up her. Against the background of catarrhal pharyngitis, rhinitis and conjunctivitis may develop.


This type of pharyngitis is accompanied by constant and prolonged manifestations:

  • persistent sore throat, which is especially felt when swallowing;
  • the presence of coma and foreign body at the back of the pharynx;
  • sometimes urge to vomit due to the mucous discharge flowing down the back wall;
  • frequent dry cough;
  • unpleasant smell from the mouth;
  • enlarged submandibular and cervical lymph nodes;
  • dryness and itching, sore throat.

The main symptom of hypertrophic pharyngitis is the proliferation of epithelial tissue, due to which lymphoid thickening in the form of granules is formed on it. The mucous becomes uneven and bumpy, gets a red shade. The vascular mesh, located on the back of the pharynx, also increases in size and is clearly visible on the mucosal surface. The uvula looks thickened. The inner ear is compressed due to a general hypertrophy of the tissues, so there is a feeling of congestion in the ears, a decrease in hearing acuity.


The name of this stage of chronic pharyngitis reflects its main feature - the development of tissue atrophy. The signs of the disease are already quite disturbing the patient, and at this stage he usually seeks medical help. Without adequate treatment, atrophic pharyngitis leads to progressive sclerosis of the mucous tissue, lymphatic and glandular systems, and the submucosal layer of the throat.

Symptoms of atrophic pharyngitis:

  • the presence of a thick and viscous mucous discharge on the back of the throat;
  • constant discomfort, the presence of a lump in the throat;
  • drying out mucus forms crusts on the pharyngeal wall;
  • strong dry cough when trying to cough up crusts;
  • mucus and crusts are separated with difficulty, while the crusts have the appearance of casts from the inner surface of the throat;
  • worsening of general well-being, sleep disturbances due to cough;
  • increase in body temperature during the development of exacerbations;
  • pallor and dryness of the mucous tissue, its lacquered shine and well visible network of vessels under it;
  • extinction of pharyngeal reflexes due to atrophy of nerve endings.

If the cause of the development of chronic atrophic pharyngitis is a problem with the gastrointestinal tract, there is heartburn and belching. Against this background, there is an unpleasant smell from the mouth and a constant feeling of thirst. The subatrophic type of the disease has similar manifestations, but not so strongly pronounced.


Granular pharyngitis begins with a feeling of discomfort in the throat due to chronic inflammation of the mucous membrane. Epithelial tissues become more loose and thickened, gradually expanding and increasing in size. On the back of the throat, granules form in the form of edematous follicles stuck together. The granules are colored dark red.

The granular stage of development of the disease is also accompanied by the expansion of blood and lymphatic vessels, increased secretion of glands and increased production of thick sputum mixed with pus.

Those affected by the disease complain of dryness and sore throat, constant attacks of dry cough, and a feeling of the presence of a foreign body in the throat. Severe coughing attacks can cause nausea and vomiting. The condition is accompanied by an unpleasant smell from the mouth. The pains are weak, felt when making the throat. There is no particular discomfort during eating or drinking.

The voice of the patient with pharyngitis eventually becomes hoarse, against the background of constant cough, hoarseness develops.

Increased body temperature is rarely present, mainly during exacerbations. In such cases, muscle pain, symptoms of intoxication, general weakness and a decrease in working capacity join the clinical picture. An enlarged lymph node in the neck is possible.

Symptoms of acute pharyngitis

The main symptom that determines the presence of acute pharyngitis in a patient is severe pain and discomfort in the throat. On increasing join other symptoms:

  • tickling, drying of the mucous membrane, feeling of rawness in the throat;
  • unpleasant sensation when swallowing;
  • dry cough, which makes the sore throat worse;
  • swelling and reddening of the palatine arches and posterior pharyngeal wall;
  • pain sensation radiating to the ears;
  • enlargement and tenderness of regional lymph nodes;
  • deterioration of general well-being, fever, headache, weakness.

Typically, the inflammation is symmetrical in nature, rarely edema is unilateral, lateral.

Manifestations with various pathogens

The development of pharyngitis is usually caused by 4 main groups of etiological factors - allergies, viruses, bacterial activity or fungal flora.

Signs characteristic of allergic pharyngitis have a specific character. The main symptom is a sharp and sharp pain in the pharynx along with a dry cough, which increases pain.

All manifestations are caused by allergic swelling of the mucous membrane of the throat. The patient wakes up in the morning, feeling mild discomfort in the throat, tickling and pain, as well as slight nasal congestion and hoarseness. By evening, the symptoms usually increase.

In addition, a feeling of strong dryness and heat, discomfort when swallowing appears in the throat. The timbre of the voice in allergic pharyngitis often changes. Increase in body temperature is not observed.

The viral type of the disease arises against the background of herpes, adenoviral, rhinovirus affections of the body, influenza viruses, parainfluenza or Coxsackie. In viral pharyngitis, the tonsils and soft palate are most intense - the patient begins to feel discomfort in these areas in the first place. In addition, the viral form is accompanied by a strong dry cough, in which the mucus that forms on the palate does not cough up. The transition from dry to wet cough occurs only through treatment, and means the beginning of the healing process. Submandibular, cervical lymph nodes are enlarged, sore on palpation.

Minor viral damage is limited to localization in the submandibular nodes, a slight increase in body temperature, pain in the throat of medium intensity.

In cases of generalized course, the patient fever, weakness, symptoms of intoxication, headache, muscle pain.

Bacterial pharyngitis is a disease that affects a person as a result of the intensive reproduction of bacteria on the mucous membrane. Depending on the type of microbes, the bacterial form is classified into: streptococcal, staphylococcal, gonococcal or gonorrheal, chlamydia, mycoplasma, ureaplasma.

The listed forms are most common, but the list is not exhaustive. In general, the symptoms of each type look similar to each other. The development of the disease is accompanied by a sore throat, sore throat, after a few days, a runny nose and bouts of dry cough. Sore throat radiating to the ears. Body temperature rises to subfebrile values, rarely - reaches 38 degrees and higher. In addition, bacterial pharyngitis enlarges the lymph nodes in the neck.

For a number of signs, bacterial pharyngitis can be distinguished from viral. So, with a viral lesion, the patient feels a general weakness and malaise, the lymph nodes at the same time greatly increase and hurt with pressure. However, for the most accurate differentiation, the patient must pass the appropriate tests.

Candida pharyngitis - a common form of fungal infection of the throat, appears as a result of the defeat of the mucous fungus of the genus Candida. External signs of the disease resemble signs of other types of pharyngitis. Main symptoms:

  • sore throat;
  • feeling of presence of a foreign object, lump in the throat;
  • discomfort when swallowing;
  • bouts of dry cough;
  • decrease in working capacity, problems with a dream;
  • headaches, muscle pain.

An increase in body temperature of up to 38 degrees indicates the accession of a secondary bacterial infection, and is not characteristic of a pure fungal infection. In the absence of antifungal therapy, pharyngitis enters fungal otitis and rhinitis.

A visual inspection shows patches of redness on the back of the throat, typical fungal patches of the cheesy type on the mucous throat, on the palate. The deposit is easily separated with a wooden spatula, but after a while it appears again.

What does a neglected disease look like?

Launched type of pharyngitis develops from the acute form, which was left without attention and proper treatment. Some doctors call neglected chronic pharyngitis in adults and children. This type of course can last from several months to a year, with alternating acute periods of illness and remission.

A characteristic sign of running pharyngitis is pathological changes in the tissues in which inflammation affects the deep layers of the mucous membrane, the submucosal layer.

The first stage of the launched pharyngitis is granulose pharyngitis, in which granules in the form of follicles appear on the back of the pharynx. Mucous becomes hyperemic, reddened. The patient, in addition to pain and sore throat, there are constant bouts of dry cough. Rarely when coughing out dried crusts of mucus.

Further, as the disease progresses, tissues undergo atrophy, pharyngeal reflexes die out. Inflammation in a running form goes to the middle ear, causing otitis, rises in the sinuses and spreads below to the respiratory tract. Together with the neglected form of pharyngitis, the affected person develops laryngitis, tracheitis, bronchitis.

Some doctors refer to the advanced forms of chronic pharyngitis of the smoker. It is known that smoking in general has a very negative effect on the state of the mucous membrane of the human oral cavity, on the respiratory organs, causing smoker's bronchitis, pulmonary emphysema, and tumors. However, it is the pharynx that comes first under the smoke Inflammation in the mucosa, aggravated by smoking, leads to structural changes in the tissues and the functioning of the respiratory system.

Inflammation in a smoker's pharyngitis is accompanied by fever, an increase in the tonsils and pain when swallowing. In addition, intoxication develops in the body with a headache and a general deterioration of well-being.

In advanced cases, the smoker often has an allergic reaction against the background of constant irritation of the mucous with smoke.

Are there any special symptoms during pregnancy?

Like other categories of cases, pregnant women pharyngitis occurs in two forms - acute or chronic. Acute pharyngitis during pregnancy is accompanied by dryness and sore throat. After 1-2 days, the woman begins to feel severe pain in the throat, which is aggravated in the morning, as well as after eating. It is pregnant women, because of their weakened immunity, often suffer from pharyngitis with high fever, while other patients usually complain only of low-grade fever. In addition, in pregnant women, the lymph nodes are enlarged and the back wall of the throat is strongly swollen. By evening, there is a strong hoarseness.

In chronic form, the pregnant woman is also accompanied by frequent dry cough, and the rest of the symptoms are less pronounced. Because of the danger to the unborn child, at high temperatures and intense coughing, the attending physician may decide on the hospitalization of the woman.

Symptoms of pharyngitis are usually so clearly expressed that physicians easily differentiate it from sore throat, laryngitis and other pathological processes in the pharynx. However, to establish the nature of the occurrence of pharyngitis, its pathogens, it is often not enough just to externally examine the symptoms of the disease upon examination, therefore, we must additionally pass the appropriate tests.

Article author:
Izvozchikova Nina Vladislavovna

Specialty: infectious diseases specialist, gastroenterologist, pulmonologist.

Total experience: 35 years.

Education: 1975-1982, 1MMI, San gig, high qualification, infectious diseases doctor.

Science degree: doctor of the highest category, PhD.


  1. Infectious diseases.
  2. Parasitic diseases.
  3. Emergency conditions.
  4. Hiv
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