Laryngitis is an acute or chronic inflammation of the larynx, or voice box, at the front of the throat. If you hear changes in how your voice sounds and have other accompanying symptoms, you may have this common throat condition.
Here’s how to recognize the signs of laryngitis and what you should do to feel better.
What Is The Larynx?
The larynx is a hollow and muscular structure in the throat. As air passes through it and the dual vocal cords it contains, you are able to audibly speak with the assistance of the lips, tongue, and teeth.
Like so many bodily organs and structures, the larynx is prone to injury and infection from viruses and bacteria. When this happens, people develop laryngitis, an inflammatory condition which irritates the voice box and causes hoarseness and even loss of voice.
What Are The Signs And Symptoms of Laryngitis?
The signs and symptoms of laryngitis are fairly easy to spot. Along with hoarseness and some degree of voice loss, laryngitis is characterized by:
- A dry, hacking cough
- A raw, irritated, tickling feeling in the throat
- The desire to keep clearing the throat
Laryngitis can last a few days to a week. If symptoms persist longer than this, it may be time to see an otolaryngologist for an in–office examination and treatment.
What Causes Laryngitis, And What Are My Treatment Options?
Understanding the root cause of your laryngitis can help you and your doctor plan your treatment. Viruses and bacteria can cause acute laryngitis, which often doesn’t result in frequent occurrences. However, chronic laryngitis may stem from:
- Drinking too much alcohol
- Acid reflux disease (GERD), in which acidic stomach contents back up into the esophagus or food pipe
- Too much caffeine intake
- Overuse of the vocal cords from yelling, singing, or public speaking
- Exposure to smoke, chemical irritants, and other sources of indoor and outdoor pollution
Treatment includes simply resting your throat and voice box and drinking plenty of fluids. You can also:
- Gargle with mild salt water
- Suck on non-menthol throat lozenges
- Take antacids, steroidal medications, or antibiotics if prescribed by your ENT doctor
- Use a humidifier
Also, avoid clearing your throat, and do not whisper. Whispering actually irritates the vocal cords and voice box. Instead, rest your voice by speaking as little as possible. Refrain from smoking and excessive alcohol usage.
Severe cases of chronic laryngitis may require surgery. Chronic laryngitis can cause the development of nodules from overuse, and as time goes on, these benign growths can affect the quality of your vocalizations and may interfere with your breathing.
Treatment For Laryngitis in Georgetown, Texas
At Georgetown ENT, we offer comprehensive ear, nose, and throat care for people of all ages in Williamson County. Dr. Scott William Franklin is our dual-certified otolaryngologist, and Dr. AbedaMueed works with people who have hearing loss and balance issues.
Call us today to arrange your in-office consultation about laryngitis or any other ear, nose, or throat problem: (512) 869-0604. Or, request your visit online. We look forward to seeing you in our office soon.