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Expert’s Guide: The Secrets of Herpes in Throat (Herpes Esophagitis)

8 Mins read
Herpes Esophagitis
Herpes Esophagitis
  • The mean age of the patients diagnosed with herpes esophagitis was 62.04.
  • The overall mortality rate captured was 6.4%, accounting to 3 people out of 47 patients.
  • Herpes esophagitis causes inflammation of the food pipe.

In a clinical assessment of 1843 patients with esophageal ulcers, 47 patients histologically captured with Herpes in the throat, also termed as Herpes Esophagitis. The study performed between 2003 to 2013 in Taiwan. Personal and clinical history of the patients piled up, such as pathological finding, underlying health conditions, endoscopic characteristics, etc.


Out of the 47 patients, 39 were men, and the rest of them were women. Conclusive evidence based on the findings suggests that male is at higher risk of Herpes in Throat as compared to females.

The mean age of the patients diagnosed with herpes esophagitis was 62.04, and henceforth, the elderlies are more prone to throat herpes.

The overall mortality rate captured was 6.4%, accounting to 3 people out of 47 patients.

With the conclusion, if accepted, herpes esophagitis, for the most part, affects male with malignancy (Cancer) or sepsis. The mortality rate is comparably low to other forms of Herpes.

What is Herpes in throat or Herpes Esophagitis

Whatever you eat and drink has to pass through the esophagus, an 8-inch muscular tube. It begins at the back of the throat and connects to the stomach. Herpes in Throat or Herpes Esophagitis is a condition of the same food pipe caused by herpesvirus 1 or 2.

What is herpes in throat

The esophagus is the part of the digestive system and responsible for the transportation of food to stomach. When esophagus populated by viruses such as Herpes, it gets inflamed. It also become irritant in response to any food or beverage swallowed through the esophagus food pipe.

In other words, throat herpes is a viral infection of the esophagus.

It is responsible for the manifestation of the myriad of esophageal complications. The irritant response to any food or drink transported through the esophagus.

How common is Herpes in Throat (Herpes Esophagitis)?

Herpes Esophagitis is a rare occurrence in healthy people as compared to immunocompromised. Herpes Esophagitis itself is a rare infection, but those diagnosed with malignancy, HIV, AIDS, Autoimmune diseases are at significant risk of developing Throat Herpes.

Though herpes esophagitis is common in immunosuppressed patients, the instances of herpes esophagitis have also appeared in healthy people.

In a clinical study, 56 immunocompetent people examined out of which three people diagnosed with Herpes Esophagitis.

The herpes infection in the esophagus is usually self-manageable in those of healthy patients. The condition further improved if used acyclovir at the early onset of the disease. Though we strongly recommend use alternative options to eliminate herpes for longer run.

Types of Herpes Virus responsible for Herpes inside the mouth

There are many pathogens responsible for esophagitis such as bacteria, virus, and fungus. When your esophagus colonized by Herpes Virus, then the condition becomes herpes esophagitis.

Primarily, two types of herpes virus can be put on to responsible agents when it comes to infection of the food pipe.

Herpes Simplex Virus 1

It is the dominating virus across the population, with an estimated 67% of the total world population. You read it right. HSV 1 is one of the viruses ruling the herpes community.

Herpes Simplex Virus 2

HSV 2 is comparably low in causing infection of Herpes. Though the numbers are still frightening with almost 20-30%, people have Genital Herpes out of total herpes patients.

Out of the two viruses, Herpes Simplex Virus 1 is the most frequent predator of immunocompromised people. Herpes Simplex Virus 2 or Genital Herpes Virus is a non-indulging agent in Herpes inside the mouth.

Risk Factors of Herpes in throat or Mouth

The correlation between herpes esophagitis and other risk factors have examined in a clinical trial published on NCBI website. According to the site, the potential risk factors for Herpes in the mouth is intact for many years back in days.

There are several factors which may help in populating the virus inside your cells and give them favorable conditions to thrive and make millions of copies of their DNAs in your body.

Risk factors of herpes esophagitis

Risk Factors:

#1 Age

The aging immune system often gives a narrow sneak-in opportunity to hosts of pathogens and diseases. As you age, your immune system can’t fight to those foreign pathogens as robustly as younger people can.

The protective shields such as potent antibodies, healthy cells, lymphocytes, white blood cells, and many others are produced by your immune system in response to those invaders to fight off those harmful agents.

When you grow older, these shields somewhat produced but in limited amount. They often are not potent enough to fight off those pathogens. The same happens with the Herpes Virus. It creates a bed of roses for those viruses to destroy internal defense mechanisms.

#2 Sex

Sex is another factor concluded to be responsible for HSV esophagitis in the study mentioned above. While the reason is unknown for this disparity, we can only say that if you are male, you are at higher risk of catching one of the most stubborn viruses in the world.

#3 Underlying Health Conditions

If you have been diagnosed with incurable deadly diseases such as HIV AIDS or a severe health conditions such as cancer or have you had a bone marrow transplant, the likelihood of getting the infection may increase significantly.

If you are taking immunosuppressant drugs, well, be cognitive of the potential health risks, especially to Herpes in the throat.

#4 Smoking

Smoking is often associated with a myriad of diseases and health conditions. It even exacerbates your existing immunity to worse if you are affected with chronic diseases.

Hyperglycemia, hypertension, or any autoimmune condition may put you at risk. Smoking has the association with increased risks of certain infections.

#5 Alcohol Consumption

Excessive alcohol consumption may adversely impact your immune system and make you more prone to pneumonia, and other life-threatening infections and Herpes is one of them.

Alcohol may interfere with the immune pathway in complex ways, and these disruptions may impair your immunity to fight against certain infections and may aid to organ impairment and damage to other essential organs of your body.

As you know, if your immune system gets compromised, the higher the chances of being infected with infections such as Herpes.

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Herpes Esophagitis Symptoms and Signs

Symptoms of herpes esophagitis are as identical as to other forms of esophagitis with a high probability of chances of recurrence throughout the lifetime. In the event of herpes esophagitis, a person may hit through the infection concurrently with several symptoms manifestation.

Herpes esophagitis causes inflammation of the food pipe, which further may irritate. If not put into account, this may give complications as mentioned below:

Some of the Herpes Esophagitis symptoms are listed below:

#1 Odynophagia (Painful Swallowing)

Eating or drinking is more like a nightmare for you if the condition is severe. Well, in this condition some of you may swallow any given food while on the other side of the coin, some of you can’t even have liquids.

#2 Pain while eating

If the infection has radiated to the mouth, well, in the scenario, chewing and swallowing could be troublesome for you.

#4 Food Impaction

Food impaction is a condition of your esophagus where any spiky food gets stuck into esophagus tubes such as meat or fish bones.

#5 Weight Loss

It is certain that if you do not have the necessary nutrients to nourish your organs, your body will start enjoying the fat accumulated in your body. This process will result in weight loss.

#6 Fever

Raised level of your body temperature could be another sign of throat herpes.

#7 Retrosternal Chest Pain

It is a pain originates inside your chest and may radiate to the upper gastrointestinal tract.

#8 Upper Gastrointestinal Bleeding

There could be many causes of upper gastrointestinal bleeding, and one of them could be oral Herpes in throat symptoms. Cold sore back of the throat may give you an unrelenting set of complications in forms of bleeding in the upper gastrointestinal tract.

Herpes in Mouth (Herpes Esophagitis) Diagnosis

The diagnosis of  HSV-induced esophagitis taken into practice in many ways. Before the diagnosis, your GP may ask some of the pre-diagnosis installments of questions, and you are supposed to answer those with sincerity.

Herpes Esophagitis Diagnosis
Herpes Esophagitis Diagnosis

Whether you drink or not, smoke, any underlying health standings, diabetes, hypertension history, and many more of these could be in the pipeline. So before going for Throat herpes diagnosis, think before answering the questions.

Here are some of the diagnosis options that will help your GP to find out whether or not your body has antibodies to the response of herpes infection.

#1 Upper Endoscopy

An endoscopy is a procedure through which a thin light and camera inserted inside your organs such as esophagus, stomach, and intestines to look for any ulcers, lesions or any unwanted clinical stains.

This procedure may help your doctor to see any swelling or sores in your esophagus and act accordingly.

#2 Biopsy

Biopsy is a clinical procedure to see viral cytopathic action. Viral cytopathic action is a structural change in the cells of host caused by a viral infection. In this procedure, your GP may take a small amount of tissue sample for the clinical assessment and looked deep into the tissues for any virus colonization.

 #3 Blood Test

Blood test is another form of examination for the quest of the presence of the herpes virus in your blood. A blood test may also assess any of the underlying health conditions.

#4 Immunohistochemical examination

It is a test which identifies the growth of abnormal cells in response to an infection in the body.

Treatment of oral herpes throat

Anyone of you could be in a tight corner, and managing the situation could be a daunting task. Oral Herpes in Throat is such an infection which may take longer to heal depending wholly on your age and the potential of your immune system.

If you are a younger person with a healthy immune system free of any chronic disease or severe disease, you are more likely to heal on your own within 1 to two weeks.

For older person with hosts of conditions, the chances are, you will be getting the Herpes in throat symptoms again and again.

The person with weak immune system, GP may prescribe the suitable medication. Putting the best foot forward at the initial stage of Herpes in the throat could be an elixir for the conation to heal Herpes.

Below are some of the medicines that your doctor may prescribe.

  1. Acyclovir
  2. Valacyclovir
  3. Famciclovir

You may also need some over-the-counter pain relievers if you are finding it like hell to swallow food or beverages intakes.

If any of these medicines are not working, the chances are you may have developed resistant throat herpes. Well, in this scenario, intravenous antiviral drugs may do the trick for you. Foscarnet is one such medicine that your doctor may recommend.

Note: we do not recommend taking antivirals for long period of time.

Lifestyle Changes to ease Herpes inside the mouth.

  • Eat easy to digest soft food. Small piece of food may help to chew comfortably.
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking.
  • Take adequate sleep and rest.
  • If possible, avoid caffeine as well.
  • Correct position of the head while sleeping is one of the prerequisites if you want yourself in a comfortable condition.

Preventive measures against Herpes in the throat

  • Avoid accidental touch to the body part exposed to herpes infection.
  • When there is an outbreak, avoid kissing and any form of contact.
  • Use Condoms while having sex, especially if the visible signs and symptoms are there. It is the best way of Herpes Prevention.
  • Avoid mouth to mouth contact.


Herpes Esophagitis also termed as herpetic esophagitis is an infection of your esophagus tube caused by herpesvirus 1 and 2. Herpes in Throat is more common in immunocompetent people and in those who are fighting with severe chronic diseases such as cancer and HIV.

People with healthy immunity are at meager chances of developing these kinds of infection.

Above we have described some of the diagnosis options and biopsy is one of the effective methods which may help in identifying the cause of infection.

Acyclovir, Famciclovir, and Valacyclovir are some of the usual medication your GP may prescribe to heal herpes esophagitis.

Smoking and alcoholism may aid your complications; therefore, it would be better for you to quit these habits.

We recommend using condoms while having sex if your partner has a herpes infection.

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