Do you need your uvula?
As you sit there, reading this article, have you ever stopped to think about the purpose of your uvula? That little punching bag dangling in the back of your throat might seem insignificant, but it actually serves a crucial role in our everyday lives. Well, maybe not crucial, per se – but it’s still pretty important.
What is a Uvula?
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page. The uvula (pronounced yoo-vyoo-luh) is that fleshy bit of tissue that hangs down from the soft palate at the back of your throat. It usually looks like a tiny version of Jabba the Hutt from Star Wars.
A Bit About Anatomy
Here’s a quick anatomy lesson for those who slept through biology class: The uvula contains muscle fibers and connective tissue covered by mucous membrane. Its nerves come from both the glossopharyngeal nerve and vagus nerve.
So…Do I Really Need It?
That’s probably what you’ve been wondering since clicking on this article with such intrigue! In short – nope! Removing your uvula won’t kill you or make life all that harder!
For those who suffer from sleep apnea or snoring issues, are recommended tonsillectomy with or without removal of adenoids and uvulopalatopharyngoplasty procedure which involve removing tissues at rear as well other parts including some part to whole tonsils depending upon severity.Now know one really want these procedure if he can go with CPAP device (Continuous positive airway pressure)I mean come on! Which person doesn’t dream about sleeping while wearing Darth Vader mask?!
Did You Know These Things About The Uvula?
- Overactive gag reflexes could be blamed on the uvula.
- The uvula actually produces more saliva than any other part of the mouth. Guess it does get a workout after all!
- Infection can cause swelling, leading to sleep apnea or choking sensations.
So, what else does your uvula do?
Oh hey there! You know that thing you’re doing right now – talking? Yeah, your little pinata lookin’ friend at the back of your throat has a huge hand in that process. By altering its position and contour depending which vowel sound needs to be made like aah, ooh etc.
Wait but did I say its role ends just up there (like many removed during tonsillectomy)? Oops my bad! While drinking fluid have you ever felt lurch went down wrong pipe and coughing started? That’s when something wrongly travels down trachea instead esophagus causing brief moment of suffocation.Now mostly this process is accompanied by helpful thrusts from muscles present on either side.But sometimes when collapsed,this small muscle helps preventing water or food getting mistakenly into windhole hence minimizing chances for our instinctive response with immediate chocking as soon as we realize about incorrect passage being taken!
What If It’s Removed?
Since we already talked about sleep issues , let’s discuss how common procedure looks like.How would one find day-to-day life without his own personal punching bag below soft palate ?
- Reduced snoring – No more waking everyone up within earshot whenever you crash at a party.
- Sleeping Disorders – Although people often undergo palatine uvuloplasty after prior treatments haven’t worked out well.The benefits however are not significant enough to convince anyone for expensive surgery removal specially if person have gone through severe pathologies such cancers ,sleep disorders due to obesity are very likely going reoccur.(Again CPAP support who knew breathing aid device with popular recommendation in sick club would have help regain their sleep and overall health!)
- Minimized gagging – Good news for those who find it particularly uncomfortable while dental check-up.
- Slight speech changes – Although not everyone experiences this, speaking could be slightly different post-surgery according several patients since uvula did play a role in articulation.
At the end of the day, you don’t necessarily need your uvula to survive. But like most things inside our body; they do serve a purpose.Though then again if chance presents itself just go for it ? You’ll feel lighter sans your throat friend!
In short, at some point maybe during tonsillectomy either due medical reasons or pure fashion,if you ever happen to decide removing frenemy from backstabber list leading him into surgery removal ,just keep benefits/risks factors of routine procedure into consideration instead relying on myths.(two thumbs up)