Throat Abscess

Symptoms and Treatments of Throat Abscess

Sometimes it can be hard to tell that you have a throat abscess. Yes, a sore throat is sometimes present, but this is not always the case. While a visit to your doctor is the only way to know for sure that you have a throat abscess, there are some symptoms that can help to tip you off.

Before looking at symptoms, let’s take a brief look at the causes of a throat abscess. This is a complication resulting from another problem. For example, a Peritonsillar abscess may occur after a bout with tonsillitis. It most commonly happens when there was also some type of infection along with the tonsillitis. Acute retropharyngeal abscess may come as the result of a respiratory infection.

Here are some possible symptoms of a throat abscess.

Throat and Ear Pain

This can be tricky, especially when the abscess comes on the heels of a case of tonsillitis. Of course your throat would be sore. However, if that soreness is accompanied by ear pain, that is a sign that you may have an abscess. The ear pain will typically occur only on the side on which the abscess is present.


A throat abscess can cause drooling by making swallowing difficult. Because drooling is not a normal symptom of the conditions that precede an abscess, if drooling is present you should definitely see your doctor as soon as possible.


Of course, most bad breath is not a sign of a throat abscess. If you have had one of the conditions that can cause a throat abscess you should pay attention to this symptom. If you notice any change in your breath, see your doctor.

Speech Problems

This is another of the possible signs of throat abscess that should not be ignored. If you have trouble speaking it is certainly a sign of a medical problem. Even if it not a throat abscess, it requires medical attention right away.

Treatment for a throat abscess will usually depend on how early it was caught. If discovered soon enough, it can usually be treated with a simple course of antibiotics. If it is not found until it has had a chance to progress, the treatment is more invasive and may include making an incision and draining the abscess followed by a course of antibiotics.

If prescribed antibiotics, it is very important that you finish the entire prescription, even if you start to feel better. Because the treatment for a throat abscess that is caught earlier is much easier than for one that has progressed, it is very important that you not ignore the signs and symptoms.

To deal with the pain, the doctor may recommend over the counter or prescription pain relievers and suggest gargling with warm salt water, which will also help to stimulate healing.

Of course, some of the above symptoms could be attributed to any number of problems. If, however, you have experienced a condition that is known to precede a throat abscess, and you experience any of the above symptoms, a visit to your doctor is in order.