Help this hypochondriac prepare for doctor visit
August 10, 2014 12:24 PM   Subscribe

Maybe more obsessive-over-thinker than hypochondriac. Woke up with an unexpectedly hoarse voice and bit of a sore throat. After eating today, I went to spit up some phlegm, and it *hurt*, and a fair amount of blood came up with the phlegm. All the non-gross stuff is behind the cut.

After a few attempts to reproduce the issue - yes, they all still hurt, yes, they all came up bloody - the bloodiness of what I was hacking up was reduced to "pinkish" from "obviously a bunch of blood."

When I got home, I called urgent care to set up an appointment, so I'll be heading over there in a few hours. The thing that surprised me was when the UC nurse asked if I had any sore throat. I hadn't connected how I felt in the morning with this, but obviously that's there, so the question made me think there's something pretty standard or well-defined about what might be going on.

I did some google image searches for "normal uvula" and "swollen uvula". Mine looks pretty darned inflamed, but the tonsils seem normal.

Any idea what I'm looking at? Strep, maybe?
posted by colin_l to Health & Fitness (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sounds like Strep to me, but a culture will clinch it. Just tell them what you're experiencing. Do you have a temperature?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:27 PM on August 10, 2014

Strep for me always felt like swallowing razor blades and was accompanied by a decent fever. You may just have a virus that was worsened by the rough throat clearing.
posted by cecic at 12:29 PM on August 10, 2014

It could be a lot of things--I've had what you're describing as the primary symptom of what turned out to be severe seasonal allergies. It just showed up overnight. Or it could be an infection of some sort, or any number of things.

It's fairly atypical for strep to show up without throat pain or fever, in my experience, but bodies are infinitely weird.
posted by MeghanC at 12:31 PM on August 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

You either have a virus or an infection, this is all indeed standard and well-defined. There's always an outside chance that the blood is coming from a nosebleed that ran down your throat, or from some sort of painless bleeding in your mouth*, but occam's razor suggests the blood is coming from near the pain. If you have a lot of phlegm, even in the absence of pain, you will see some swollen stuff in your throat.

*When I have a sufficiently bad sinus infection, my gums will in fact bleed enough to be very confusing. I also sometimes have bloody sinus drainage so the blood is coming from up higher but then I have a sore throat from having infected drainage running down it.

You will be examined, swabbed and cultured if it looks like strep, given instructions and prescriptions. If you still have a sore throat or pain on clearing your throat, you can take ibuprofen now if that is not contraindicated by a pre-existing condition.

You do not have anything weird. You'll be all sorted out in a day or two.
posted by Lyn Never at 1:15 PM on August 10, 2014

I had that exact same experience during a bad case of strep several years back, but only after I'd been ignoring it for cost reasons for a week or two, and it was accompanied by fever and severe fatigue. Good news is it took one big old shot of Penicillin to make me feel better (that and sleeping for a week). Better news is you're not as stupid as thepostcollegiateweasel and are getting it checked out right away. Whatever the diagnosis and treatment, you'll know a lot more soon. Just try and relax until then!
posted by theweasel at 1:37 PM on August 10, 2014

I think it is good you are getting it checked out, but try not to freak out. If you were a smoker, (you aren't, right?) I might be worried it was more serious, obviously. Your mind is probably going to all kinds of scary places. But the blood decreasing seems like a good sign! And you don't mention a nagging cough, pain in your chest, etc. to make me think you need to worry too much.

Despite the consensus, the sore throat without an accompanying fever or aches doesn't sound to me like strep, though. Usually you feel like total crap with strep and the seriously sore throat is the topper, not the only symptom.

You saying you had a surprisingly hoarse voice and sore throat this morning makes me feel like something more specific to your throat is going on--I wonder if maybe you had something bruise the inside of/get stuck in your throat last night? Fish bone, something like that, maybe? Do you remember swallowing anything that bothered you yesterday? Not to be too graphic, but are sure only phlegm and blood came up? Could have dislodged whatever it was with the coughing, explaining the decrease in blood since.

It could also be blood dripping down from a nasty sinus infection or bloody nose, like others have suggested. But again, I would think you'd have other symptoms along with that throat stuff to point you in that direction, and you don't mention so much as a headache (do you feel pressure around your cheekbones, or have any puffiness around your eyes?). Any issues with your teeth or gums that could have left your mouth bleeding, mouth sores or ulcers?
posted by misha at 2:23 PM on August 10, 2014

Welp, strep test negative. Diagnosed with uvulitis, so I'll take that as validation of my Google image search skills ;)
posted by colin_l at 3:44 PM on August 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

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