Laryngitis is an inflammation of the vocal cords that can cause voice changes. In many cases, it’s an acute condition. However, if you have symptoms that last longer than three weeks, it’s considered chronic laryngitis.
Symptoms of Laryngitis
If you have laryngitis, you may notice that your voice is weak or hoarse when you’re speaking at work or placing an order at Lola Coffee. Other symptoms can include:
- Complete loss of voice
- Dry, scratchy throat
- Dry cough
- Minor throat irritation or a tickling sensation
Common Causes of Laryngitis
Acute laryngitis is often caused by a virus or by overusing your vocal cords. However, there are multiple other conditions and factors that can cause both acute and/or chronic laryngitis. These include:
- Regular voice abuse or misuse from yelling or talking in a way that strains your vocal cords
- Bacterial or fungal infections
- Acid reflux
- Regular sinus infections
- Smoking or being exposed to secondhand smoke
- Exposure to harmful chemicals
- Use of certain inhaled medications
Is It Something Else?
Other conditions can mimic the signs of laryngitis. These include lesions on your vocal cords, muscle tension dysphonia, vocal cord paralysis and cancer.
If you have noticed changes in your voice that don’t seem to resolve themselves quickly, make an appointment with your doctor to rule out more serious issues. Similarly, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible if you experience any of the following:
- Difficulty swallowing
- A fever that doesn’t go away
- Coughing up blood
- Severe pain in your throat
In rare cases, inflammation of the vocal cords can also lead to trouble breathing and respiratory distress. This requires immediate medical attention.
How To Treat Laryngitis
Your doctor will do a visual diagnosis using a mirror to view your vocal cords to look for redness, irritation and any swelling, among other things. If they find that you have laryngitis, several treatment options exist.
- If your laryngitis is caused by a virus, your doctor may just recommend resting your vocal cords until your symptoms improve.
- You can also use a humidifier and drink plenty of fluids to help relieve irritation.
- In some cases, corticosteroids may be used to relieve symptoms.
- If caused by a bacterial infection, they will prescribe antibiotics.
If you would like more information or laryngitis or need to schedule an appointment with one of our experts, call Arizona Desert Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists today.