Meaning of Uvula
What is the uvula:
The uvula is a small appendage that hangs from the back of the soft palate between the tonsils. It is conical in shape and is commonly known as a "bell". It comes from the Latin uvŭla (diminutive of the word grape). This name is due to its shape similar to a grape.
Functions of the uvula
The function of the uvula is to separate the oral cavity from the nasal cavity, controlling access to the nasal cavity as a valve and preventing solid or liquid food from reaching the nose when eating or during vomiting. This function is performed in coordination with the rest of the soft palate. The uvula also influences speech as it intervenes in the articulation of some phonemes. In some African countries the uvula is given a cultural value and is fully or partially sectioned as part of an ethnic ritual.
A bifid uvula or palatal uvula is when the uvula is divided into two parts in the center. The bifid uvula occurs during the gestation period when the tissues do not join together leaving a division in the central part. It can be due to genetic, environmental, or toxic factors.
In medicine, an inflamed or swollen uvula is known as uvulitis. It is normally inflamed along with other parts of the mouth, such as the roof of the mouth, tonsils or throat and can be one of the symptoms of pharyngitis. It can be due to various causes such as dehydration, inhalation of fumes, an allergic reaction, a bacterial infection or a virus. An inflamed uvula is sometimes red, elongated in shape and can cause pain especially when swallowing food. When the inflammation is severe, it can lead to gag reflex, snoring, difficulty swallowing and speaking. There are home remedies to alleviate this problem and also medications to eradicate the problem causing the inflammation. It should not be confused with epiglottitis, which is the inflammation of the epiglottis (on the back of the tongue) that occurs especially in children and is very dangerous because it can block the airways
The bladder uvula is a membrane of the bladder located just behind the internal opening of the urethra. Generally, the bladder uvula increases in size in causes of benign prostatic hyperplasia.