A bifid uvula is sometime’s called a cleft uvula or a split uvula. The uvula is the dangling portion of fibrous flesh right in front of your tonsils in the back of your mouth. It’s shaped like a bit of a punching bag or teardrop. The Latin word uvula means “small grape.”This Bifida vulva is a part of your soft palate, which is the roof of your mouth’s muscle and connective tissue.
The uvula has various functions, including lubricating the back of your mouth and facilitating nasal secretions to your throat. But it has four primary functions:
- Directing food and water into your throat
- Controlling part of your gag reflex
- Saliva production in the mouth, which helps in the lubrication of the mouth for easy swallowing
- Stopping the soft palate from being force into your mouth when you cough or sneeze
People with a bifid uvula will have more difficulty moving their soft palate when eating, drinking, and speaking. As a result, food may not be adequately digested, and speech may become distorted.
Bifid Uvula Classification
The bifid uvula is classified into four categories:
- Type A. A normal uvula, shaped like a grape
- Type B. The uvula is split up to fourth of its length
- Type C. The uvula is split from one quarter to three quarters of its length
- Type D. The uvula is split from three quarters to entirely split
The bifid uvula is a congenital condition, meaning it is an inherited condition you are born with. It could be one of several birth anomalies associated with other hereditary disorders, particularly those that result in a submucosal cleft palate.
- Trisomy conditions
- Loeys-Dietz syndrome
- Velocardiofacial syndrome
- Stickler’s syndrome
A bifid uvula is a congenital condition after birth your doctor examines your baby, but it is not always evident. The following are some symptoms that you or your child may have a bifid uvula:
- Trouble swallowing
- Nasal voice
- Ear infections
- A uvula with a fishtail appearance
- Leaking food or milk through the nose
Although there isn’t a strong link between ear infections and a bifid uvula, your doctor may want to look if you or your child keeps having them. This is because a bifid uvula can sometimes cause ear difficulties.
Many persons with a bifid uvula have no symptoms or complications. However, the condition can cause several health issues in some cases.
Cornelia de Lange syndrome. This syndrome is a hereditary disorder that manifests itself in several ways, including slower growth, developmental delays, and intellectual disabilities. In addition, a bifid uvula and submucosal cleft palate can occur in people with this syndrome, causing breathing issues.
Submucous cleft palate. A bifid uvula can be a sign of a submucous cleft palate. A thin membrane covers the opening in the roof of the mouth, making the problem less visible to medical professionals. However, it can produce the same digestion and speaking problems as a noticeable cleft palate.
Bifid Uvula Treatment
Surgery. Your doctor may recommend surgery to remove or correct the bifid uvula.
Feeding therapy. If you’re having trouble swallowing or eating, a speech pathologist can help. Following surgery, feeding treatment may be necessary.
Speech therapy. People with a bifid uvula sometimes have a nasal voice. A speech pathologist can assist you in learning how to pronounce words correctly. Following surgery, you may require speech therapy also.
- In most cases with a bifid uvula, the prognosis is good. Make an appointment with your doctor if you observe any changes in your mouth or if you have any health concerns.
- Your doctor may recomend you surgery in some situations to fix the uvula and any underlying issues, such as a submucous cleft palate, especially when speech is excessively nasal or feeding problems are severe. Ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialists are the finest professionals to examine and treat a bifid uvula.
- Shprintzen RJ, Schwartz RH, Daniller A, Hoch L. Morphologic significance of bifid uvula. Pediatrics. 1985;75:553-61.
- Calnan J. Submucous cleft palate. Br J Plast Surg. 1954;6:264-82.