Can Alcohol Cause Throat Problems?

Alcohol and Cancer Risk Fact Sheet NCI


Drinking alcohol has become a common practice in many parts of the world. While some people consume alcohol in moderate amounts, others drink alcohol excessively, leading to various health problems. One of the health problems associated with excessive alcohol consumption is throat problems. In this article, we will discuss whether alcohol can cause throat problems.

What are Throat Problems?

Throat problems refer to a range of conditions that affect the throat, including the pharynx, larynx, and tonsils. Some of the common throat problems include sore throat, tonsillitis, pharyngitis, and laryngitis. These conditions can cause discomfort, pain, and difficulty swallowing.

How Alcohol Affects the Throat

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it dehydrates the body. When you drink alcohol, it can cause the tissues in your throat to become dry and irritated. This can lead to a sore throat, scratchy voice, and difficulty swallowing. Moreover, alcohol can relax the muscles in the throat, which can cause snoring and sleep apnea.

How Much Alcohol is Too Much?

The amount of alcohol that can cause throat problems varies from person to person. However, heavy and frequent alcohol consumption is more likely to cause throat problems than moderate drinking. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, heavy drinking is defined as consuming more than 4 drinks per day for men and more than 3 drinks per day for women.

Other Factors that Contribute to Throat Problems

While alcohol can cause throat problems, other factors can also contribute to these conditions. Smoking, allergies, and viral infections can all irritate the throat and cause inflammation. Moreover, environmental factors such as pollution and dry air can also contribute to throat problems.

Prevention of Throat Problems

To prevent throat problems, it is essential to limit alcohol consumption. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Moreover, avoid smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke, as smoking can irritate the throat. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can dehydrate the body.

Treatment of Throat Problems

If you experience throat problems, it is essential to seek medical attention. The treatment for throat problems depends on the underlying cause. For example, if you have a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. If the throat problem is due to allergies, your doctor may recommend antihistamines.


In conclusion, alcohol can cause throat problems by dehydrating the body and relaxing the muscles in the throat. While moderate alcohol consumption may not cause throat problems, heavy and frequent drinking can lead to various health problems, including throat problems. To prevent throat problems, limit alcohol consumption, stay hydrated, and avoid smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke. If you experience throat problems, seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment.