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Cobblestone Throat: What Causes Bumps in Back of Throat?

Assist. Prof. Dr. Bakht Aziz

4 min read

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What is Cobblestone Throat?

Cobblestone throat is an unpleasant condition that causes pebble-shaped bumps in back of throat to appear. These bumps are due to enlarged lymphatic tissue in the adenoids or tonsils, which are small masses of tissue at the back of the throat.

If you have cobblestone throat you may notice visible red bumps in back of throat. Along with this, you may also have an irritated throat or sore throat. It is usually a harmless condition that can be treated easily and may go away on its own.

However, people affected by this condition may get unnecessarily worried that they are seriously ill. Some might even think they have cancer. Although bumps in the back of throat are not a sign of cancer, you can consult your oncologist about any noticeable lump, growth, or swelling on your body that isn’t going away.

Cobblestone throat can be caused due to various reasons which are discussed below. Keep reading to learn more about what those pesky bumps in the back of your throat are, and how you can get rid of them!

Causes of Cobblestone Throat (Bumps in Back of Throat)

Following are some of the causes of cobblestone throat or bumps in back of throat:

1. Postnasal Drip

A postnatal drip occurs when excess mucus is produced by the glands in your throat and nose. You may feel it trickle or drip down the back of your throat. Normal production of mucus is helpful as it keeps your nasal passage clean, traps irritants such as germs and dust, and prevents you from inhaling harmful foreign materials.

However, in post-nasal drip, the production of mucus exceeds the normal amount and it may also get thicker. Hence you may feel an urge to cough or clear your throat frequently. The extra mucus can also lead to the formation of bumps in the back of your throat along with an irritation in the throat. Common causes of postnatal drip include:

  • Common cold or flu
  • Allergies
  • Dust and other irritants
  • Cold and dry air
  • Spicy foods
  • Sinus infections
  • Pregnancy
  • Due to an object stuck inside the nose – (common in children)

2. Pharyngitis or Sore Throat

Cobblestone throat can be due to pharyngitis, a condition that causes the throat to become irritated and swollen commonly known as a sore throat. Viral and bacterial infections like cold or flu are the main culprits behind pharyngitis although it can be caused due to other conditions as well.

Almost 60-90% of pharyngitis cases are caused due to viral infections whereas 5-30% are caused due to bacterial infections.

Pharyngitis as the word suggests is an inflammation of the pharynx that can cause a sore throat. In pharyngitis, your lymph nodes become swollen and filled with fluid in response to infection, thereby making the cells under the skin appear bumpy. Other symptoms of pharyngitis include:

  • An irritated or sore throat
  • Pain when you speak
  • Scratchy throat
  • Difficulty swallowing

Pharyngitis can be acute or chronic. In acute pharyngitis, the symptoms last for about 10 days and it is more common of the two. If pharyngitis lingers on for more than a few weeks it is known as chronic pharyngitis.

In chronic pharyngitis, the symptoms recur after going away for a while or don’t go away. It can be caused by smoke and air pollution, allergies, acid reflux, infections, or in rare cases, throat cancer.

According to research, pharyngitis most commonly affects children under the age of 5.

Other Symptoms of Cobblestone Throat

Following are some other symptoms you may have along with noticeable bumps in the back of your throat:

  • Dry cough
  • Bad breath
  • Sore throat
  • Pain in the throat
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Nasal congestion
  • Nausea
  • Fever
  • You may feel an urge to clear your throat frequently
  • You may feel like something is stuck in your throat

Treatment for Cobblestone Throat

The treatment for cobblestone throat depends on what’s causing it:

  • Antibiotics: In case cobblestone throat is due to a bacterial infection.
  • Decongestants: Decongestants can be an effective treatment if you have nasal congestion along with cobblestone throat.
  • Antihistamines: If the condition is due to allergies
  • Nasal sprays: Nasal sprays or steriod nasal sprays may also be prescribed to you if your cobblestone throat is due to an allergy.

How to Get Rid of Cobblestone Throat

Following are some home remedies to get rid of cobblestone throat naturally:

  • Salt water gargling: Dissolve salt into warm water and then use it for gargling. It will help with your throat pain and stop the build up of mucus in your nasal passage and throat. It also helps expel the harmful germs, viruses, and bacteria present in your mouth.
  • Chicken soup: Or any other hot liquid can be effective in thinning down the extra mucus in the back of your throat and releving your symptoms.
  • Lozenges: Sucking on lozenges for example Strepsils, can be effective in releving the symptoms of cobblestone throat. They can reduce nasal congestion and throat pain and irritation caused by small bumps in back of throat.
  • Throat numbing sprays: Throat numbing sprays like Vicks VapoCOOL Sore Throat Spray can be good for sore throat. It can also have a cooling, numbing effect on your throat and helps combat throat irritation that is common in cobblestone throat.
  • Pain-relieving over the counter medications: Pain-relieving OTC medications can reduce itchiness, and throat pain. Consult your doctor about these medicines before using them. Some examples of such medications are; Ibuprofen, Acetaminophen, Naproxen.
  • Humidifier. Humidifiers are good to use in cold, dry weather conditions. They are especially useful in winters and can help reduce coughing at night by increasing the moisture in the air.
  • Honey: Honey is an effective remedy for a sore throat. It can also help reduce coughing. Both of these conditions can affect you if you are suffering from cobblestone throat.

Prevention of Cobblestone Throat

Following are some tips to prevent cobblestone throat or bumps in back of throat:

  • Take care of your hygiene and wash your hands regularly
  • Know and avoid your allergens
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick
  • Avoid breathing polluted air and smoke

When to Consult Your Doctor About Cobblestone Throat?

If you have cobblestone throat or bumps in the back of your throat you can try treating it with home remedies and the symptoms should lessen and disappear in a week or so.

You should however consult your doctor if:

  • You feel that your symptoms are worsening
  • Home remedies haven’t helped releive your symptoms
  • The pain is too much to endure
  • A newborn has cobblestone throat
  • You’re having breathing difficulties


Although bumps in the back of the throat can be bothersome, they are often not something you need to worry about. In most cases, your cobblestone throat will go away on its own without treatment.

You can also try home remedies to ease your symptoms and reduce your throat pain and irritation. However, if your condition worsens, you should consider booking an appointment with an ENT Specialist.

oladoc can help you book an appointment with the best ENT Specialists in Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, etc. You can book your appointments through the oladoc.com website, mobile app, or call 04238900939.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Assist. Prof. Dr. Bakht Aziz
Assist. Prof. Dr. Bakht Aziz - Author Dr. Bakht Aziz is a highly acclaimed ENT specialist, who has a massive reputation in the field of medical consultancy. He is among the best ENT Specialists & Surgeons in Lahore.
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