What is laryngitis?
Laryngitis is the inflammation of the voice box (larynx). If caused by a virus or bacteria, laryngitis may be contagious. Generally, laryngitis isn’t a severe condition and should resolve in barely three weeks with proper treatment, but in some cases, laryngitis lasts longer and develops into a chronic stage. The larynx is a voice box that has control over our voice. The vocal cord is located inside the larynx and is covered by the mucus lining. The muscles present inside the larynx are responsible for the movement of vocal cords, which helps you to speak.
What are the symptoms of laryngitis?
Laryngitis is the inflammation of the voice box (larynx) that causes changes in the voice. It mainly occurs as a result of viral infection and typically manifests cough or a sore throat. Symptoms of laryngitis include:
- Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)
- Throat pain
- Swollen glands in the neck
- Nasal congestion
- Stuffy nose
- Runny nose
- Tightness in throat
- Pain when you swallow
- Constant urge to clear the throat
- Regurgitation of food and stomach content
- Loss of voice
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble speaking
Complications of laryngitis from a gastroesophageal reflux disease include:
What causes laryngitis?
Causes of acute laryngitis include:
- Viral infection
- Voice overuse due to excess talking, singing, or shouting
Causes of chronic laryngitis include:
- Prolonged alcohol use
- Exposed to polluted air
- Constant exposure to secondhand smoke
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease that may cause reflux laryngitis and chronic cough
- Chronic irritation of the vocal cords that may cause polyps
- Repetitive use of an inhaler
- Excess coughing
- Fungal infection such as thrush
- Sinus disease
- Certain cancer
These symptoms may last for more than three months.
How is laryngitis diagnosed?
Usually, patients with chronic laryngitis need to seek medical assistance. Hence, the physician is likely to do the following tests:
- Take a throat swab to identify the cause of laryngitis
- Pass an endoscope (a narrow lighted tube attached to a camera) that helps the physician to get a closer look at the vocal cord
- Take a sample of tissue for examination (biopsy) if the physician suspects of a lump or nodule
- Take an X-ray or skin allergy test to rule out other issues
What is the treatment for laryngitis?
More than any other treatment, voice rest is an ultimate option to treat laryngitis. Medications that may be prescribed for treating the symptoms of laryngitis involve:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Anti-reflux medications
- Mucolytics (medicines that may reduce the viscosity of the mucus)
A speech therapist may teach how to take care of the voice and how to prevent straining of voice.
Numerous home remedies may aid healing, which include:
- Drink ample amounts of lukewarm water. Better hydration may help in resolving laryngitis.
- Gargle with warm saltwater because salinity soothes the area and alleviates swelling.
- Sucking a throat lozenge inclusive of eucalyptus and mint can soothe sore throats.
- Steam inhalation with menthol may relieve the pain and soreness.
- Avoid dry, smoky, or dusty rooms
- Avoid whispering to prevent straining
- Stay away from decongestants because it may dry out the throat.
- Avoid coffee or tea
- Refrain from cigarette smoking
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