Suffering From Sore Throat On One Side? 8 Common Causes

We all are well aware of sore throats. The very first symptom that your body shows if you are suffering from a cold or cough or there are some slight changes in the weather is the aching throat. But what about a sore throat on one side only? Is it due to simple cold or cough as you think or is it some symptom of some underlying ailment? 

Continue reading the article then to know more about sore throats on one side to know more.

Causes of sore throat

Sore throat on only one side can be a common occurrence but we do admit that it is extremely unpleasant and causes severe discomfort and uneasiness.

The most common symptoms encountered during such a condition are :

  1. Sore throat on one side when swallowing 
  2. The side of the throat getting scratchy and you can notice redness at that side in the back of the mouth.
  3. A mild cough and bad breath
  4. Swollen neck glands on the side of the neck.

Sore throat on one side can be caused due to a variety of reasons ranging from simple allergies to some serious underlying maladies. 

So let us learn about each of the causes in detail.

1.Swollen lymph nodes

The primary function of lymph nodes is to filter the lymph to identify and fight against infections. The lymph nodes present in our throat also do a similar function and trap microbes that have entered into our system. 

It is for the very same reason, lymph nodes on one side can get swollen due to infection by some potentially strong microbes. These swollen lymph nodes then lead to soreness in that affected side. 

Apart from getting infected by microbes, swollen lymph nodes can also be caused due to ear, tooth or skin infections.

2.Postnasal drip

Sore Throat On One Side?

We already know microbial infections can cause soreness of the throat. 

Microbial infections, especially viral infections like cold or flu, can cause extreme discomfort for the throat. Viral infections cause nasal congestion which causes mucus and fluid drain down back to the throat. 

This is known as postnasal drip. Continual drainage of mucus and fluid leads to irritation of the throat which then further leads to soreness and scratchiness. The condition can affect the whole throat but it is generally observed that only one side is becoming raw and inflamed due to postnasal drip. 


Tonsils are round ball-like lymphatic structures that are located at the back of the throat and tonsillitis is a condition in which inflammation of the tonsils occurs due to viral or bacterial infections. We have two tonsils on each side of the throat and although uncommon, tonsillitis can sometimes affect only one tonsil causing sore throat on one side only. 

The symptoms to diagnose tonsillitis generally are nasal congestion or runny nose and swollen lymph nodes. You will also be able to notice red, swollen bleeding patches on the tonsils covered with patches with pus. Tonsillitis causes fever, painful swallowing and noisy breathing.

4.Peritonsillar abscess

Continuation to the above tonsillitis point, the peritonsillar abscess is a condition in which walled-off collection of pus formation takes place often adjacent or behind your one of the tonsils. It is generally considered as a complication of bacterial tonsillitis and occurs when tonsillitis becomes severe or is left untreated. It is a common occurrence in children and young adults. 

Peritonsillar abscess causes fever, fatigue, trouble in talking and extreme pain on the affected side of the throat. 

If a person suffers from peritonsillar abscess, immediate treatment is required as in some extreme cases it interferes with breathing and may also lead to death.

5.Injury to throat

One of the most common causes of soreness in one side of the throat is any injury caused to the throat. These injuries can be caused due to various reasons ranging from burns due to hot liquid or food having sharp edges such as chips or crackers. It can also be caused due to endotracheal intubation and excessive screaming or shouting.

6.Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Wondering how a stomach ailment can cause throat soreness? Well, GERD is a condition in which the stomach contents including the stomach acids rise back into the food pipe and throat. It worsens during the night or when lying down. It causes soreness on the affected side of the throat. 

According to studies, pain or burning in the middle of the chest or the feeling of the lump or object in the throat is the symptoms of GERD. If the GERD ailment is left untreated for long, it can cause serious damage to the throat and food pipe.

7.Vocal cord lesions

Overusing or misusing voice can lead to a condition known as lesions and sores on the vocal cords. It generally occurs only on one side of the throat and leads to scratchiness and soreness on the affected side of the throat. It leads to hoarseness or noticeable changes in your voice texture. 

Overusing voice can also lead to a condition known as laryngitis, the inflammation of the voice box. The symptoms produced are similar to vocal cord lesions.


One of the most uncommon causes of soreness on one side of the throat is tumours. It can generally be benign or cancerous and affects the throat and it’s surrounding areas. 

To diagnose a tumour, look out for symptoms like a lump in the neck, hoarse voice, noisy breathing and unexplained weight loss or when blood is noticed in the saliva or bloody phlegm.

Apart from the above-mentioned causes, one side of throat sore can also be caused due to glossopharyngeal neuralgia, trigeminal neuralgia, tooth infection or canker sores.

Home remedies for soar throat

As it is quite evident except for some causes, sore throat on one side is generally caused by some curable factors. Therefore, if you suffer from throat soreness, follow some of the tips that can provide an effective remedy for your throat pain.

  1. Saltwater gargle is one of the most effective remedies that can be used against sore throat.
  1. You can mix honey with lukewarm water or tea and consume it as honey is an effective decongestant.
  1. Lemons are great at breaking up mucus and therefore act as active throat relievers.
  1. Nothing better than the good old tea. Consume ginger, hibiscus or chamomile tea for the best result.
  1. Avoid spicy foods and places with lots of dust and pollution so that aggravation of the condition does not occur.

Now, that being said, sore throat can be easily curable within a day or two however if the soreness persists or worsening of the conditions takes place, immediately consult a doctor for proper medications and treatments.

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