Throat Lump Due to Infection

Q: I’ve just come back from doctor. Ho told me that I have a cyst in my throat and asked me to visit again in 2 weeks. He gave me penicillin. What happens the cyst doesn’t go away or if it grows in size?
-By Karina, female, 23 yrs old.


You have been given penicillin because the commonest cause of cyst in the throat is some kind of infective process. So an antibiotics course is worth trying.

Infective Causes for Throat Lumps

Throat area is very rich in lymphoid tissue. A lot of lymph nodes, tonsils and groups of scattered lymphoid tissues are present here. These swell up whenever some infection hits this area.

So a lump may be an enlargement of any of these lymphoid tissue in the neck.

Common Infections

Bacterial: Bacterial pharyngitis, strep throat, tonsillitis, chronic infection like tuberculosis.
Viral: HIV syndrome, Herpes infections, Infectious mononucleosis, Rubella, Viral pharyngitis.

Lymphoid tissue may also swell up in response to some allergic reaction in the body. These may include any allergy due to change of season, food or drug allergy or even an insect bite.

Apart from infections, there are other causes of having a cyst in the throat. You can read about other causes of cystic lumps in neck here.


The cyst needs to be observed for some time. Look for the following:

  • Is the cyst responding to antibiotics?
  • Is it growing or decreasing in size?
  • Any pain or difficulty in having food due to it?
  • Any other swelling else where in the body- in the armpits, groins, behind ears?
  • Any other bodily symptom?

If it stays even after taking antibiotics, or grows in size, you will require further evaluation to find out what it is.

It may be a thyroid nodule, a sebaceous cyst, tumorous growth or lump due to injury. Your doctor will have to investigate this.

A CT scan of the area would be done. If required, biopsy may be taken. Only then one can comment about what this cyst is.

Take Care,

Buddy M.D.

Medical Advice (Q&As) on “What Causes Infective Swelling in the Neck?

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