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What Is Mucosal Inflammation?

Mucosal inflammation is the body's natural response to irritants or infections affecting the delicate lining of our internal organs. This process can cause discomfort and various symptoms, depending on the affected area. Imagine the protective layers inside you, like a fortress wall, becoming inflamed when under siege. Intrigued? Discover how this reaction impacts your health and ways to soothe the siege within.
Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill

Mucosal inflammation typically refers to swelling or irritation of the mucus membranes. These are areas of the body which produce mucus in an effort to filter out bacteria, viruses, and other invaders. This includes the nasal cavities, mouth, throat, eyes, vagina, lungs, and intestines. Inflammation may occur if bacteria or viruses cause an infection, if the area is irritated by allergens or other foreign bodies, or due to fungal infection. Other symptoms are often present along with mucosal inflammation.

The mucus membranes are designed to catch and rid the body of invaders such as bacteria, dust, pollen, and viruses. While they are successful in many cases, they can become bogged down with these pathogens and become infected. Common illnesses involving the mucus membranes include the common cold and influenza. Although external mucus membranes are most commonly known, there are also interior membranes. The lungs, for instance, produce mucus to remove harmful invaders.

Mucus membranes are designed to catch and rid the body of invaders such as pollen.
Mucus membranes are designed to catch and rid the body of invaders such as pollen.

Mucosal inflammation refers to the swelling and irritation common with many illnesses. For instance, the throat can swell and become red if it is invaded by bacteria. The tissues inside the nose may also swell during a cold, or the vaginal tissues can swell during a yeast infection. This is a common response to illness and is often one of the first signs that one is ill. Additional symptoms are also common, including pain to the inflamed area.

Treatment for mucosal inflammation may include medication.
Treatment for mucosal inflammation may include medication.

The symptoms that may occur will depend heavily on the condition one has. For instance, symptoms of a cold or flu may include sneezing, stuffy nose, runny nose, sore throat, fever, and coughing. A vaginal infection can cause redness, itching, discharge, pain, or odor. In most cases of illness, symptoms aside from mucosal inflammation will occur at some point. Many times, inflammation will occur at the same time as, or after, other symptoms have begun to appear.

Nasal sprays may help relieve mucosal inflammation.
Nasal sprays may help relieve mucosal inflammation.

Treatment for mucosal inflammation will depend on the underlying condition. Medication is a common treatment method for most conditions, but there are other treatments which can be used to bring down swelling until the medications kick in. Nasal cavities can often be soothed with a saline spray, or by inhaling menthol vapors or steam. Vaginal irritation can often be remedied by using an over the counter cream in combination with medication prescribed by a doctor to treat the underlying infection.

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Discussion Comments

Talentryto

As the article points out Rundocuri, the use of saline spray or vapor steam is also helpful, though these options don't do much to put moisture into the air.

Rundocuri

Mucosal inflammation, especially when it occurs in the sinus passages, is also helped by keeping moisture in the air. Though this is difficult during the dry, winter months, a humidifier is helpful in moisturizing the air in your home.

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    • Mucus membranes are designed to catch and rid the body of invaders such as pollen.
      By: marcel
      Mucus membranes are designed to catch and rid the body of invaders such as pollen.
    • Treatment for mucosal inflammation may include medication.
      By: ZIQUIU
      Treatment for mucosal inflammation may include medication.
    • Nasal sprays may help relieve mucosal inflammation.
      By: Kirill Kurashov
      Nasal sprays may help relieve mucosal inflammation.
    • Mucosal inflammation typically refers to irritation of the mucus membranes in areas such as the mouth, throat and intestines.
      By: ancroft
      Mucosal inflammation typically refers to irritation of the mucus membranes in areas such as the mouth, throat and intestines.
    • Symptoms of a cold or flu may include sneezing, stuffy nose or runny nose.
      By: CandyBox Images
      Symptoms of a cold or flu may include sneezing, stuffy nose or runny nose.
    • Inhalating menthol vapor or steam is a good way to reduce mucosal inflammation.
      By: drubig-photo
      Inhalating menthol vapor or steam is a good way to reduce mucosal inflammation.