Laryngitis refers to an inflammation of the larynx or the voice box that makes the voice get hoarse or raspy. This problem can be short term or long term depending on the duration it takes. In most cases, the problem lasts for no more than two weeks. Chronic symptoms are the ones that take more than 2 weeks. In case your symptoms take longer than this time, it is advisable to seek medical assistance from a doctor to avoid more severe problems.
What Are the Causes of Laryngitis?
The problem is mainly caused by:
- Overuse of your voice
- Flu or cold which is the major cause.
- Irritation caused by smoke or allergies
- Acid reflux also referred as gastroesophageal reflux.
Acid reflux is the major cause of laryngitis, but the chronic problem may be as a result of other severe problems such as polyps, sores, damage of the nerves or thick lumps of your vocal cords.
What Are the Symptoms of Laryngitis?
Hoarseness is the major symptom of this health condition. Your voice may get raspy, deeper than normal or break often. In some instances, the voice may be lost completely. Other symptoms include sore throat, dryness, coughing or trouble while swallowing. If you get other severe symptoms, it means that you may be suffering from another problem. A child with severe pain or have a lot of pain while breathing, may be suffering from epiglottis, a health condition that requires emergency attention.
What Is the Diagnosis?
Your doctor may identify laryngitis by conducting a physical exam. The physical exam may involve feeling your neck for lumps or sensitive areas, checking the nose, throat and mouth to check for any inflammation. Some issues that your doctor may like to know include:
- When the voice problem began.
- Whether it may be related to an illness.
- Check how your cords look and
- Listen to the sound of your voice.
There are times your doctor may refer you to a specialist if you have hoarseness and voice problems that do not seem to have an obvious cause.
Treatment for Laryngitis
Laryngitis can be treated effectively at home by drinking a lot of fluids, stop smoking or staying away from smoke. In case of chronic laryngitis, more treatment is required. There are also situations when surgery may be required especially if the vocal cords have been damaged. The vocal cords can be damaged as a result of polyps or sores that affect the throat.