At some point in your life, chances are you’ve experienced your voice becoming squeaky or hoarse. You may even have been unable to speak for a brief period of time. Laryngitis is the common culprit behind these telltale symptoms.
The symptoms of laryngitis – hoarseness, voice loss, and a painful cough – occur when the voice box (larynx) in the throat becomes inflamed, generally as the result of overuse, irritation, or infection.
Inside the voice box are vocal cords, two folds of tissue covering muscle and cartilage. When air passes over the vocal cords, sound waves reverberate in the throat, nose, and mouth. In addition to producing the sound of your voice, your voice box is involved in swallowing and breathing.
A variety of factors can irritate and inflame the larynx, including acid reflux, allergies, and smoking. Viral infections, however, are most often to blame for laryngitis.
Laryngitis typically comes on suddenly, lasts a short while, and heals on its own with rest. However, laryngitis can become chronic and last 2 weeks or longer. In this case, you should seek medical attention by a properly qualified ear, nose, and throat (ENT) physician like Dr. Scott W. Franklin at Georgetown ENT.
Dr. Franklin will thoroughly examine you and may use special equipment to visually inspect the condition of your vocal cords.
Treatment for laryngitis will depend on the underlying cause of your condition. For example, medications like antibiotics may be used to treat a bacterial infection and corticosteroids may be used if there is an urgent need to reduce the inflammation. Antacids or stronger prescription drugs may be needed to get acid reflux under control.
In most cases, self-care can help relieve your symptoms and help your voice box heal. These remedies include:
- Try not to speak or make sounds; rest your vocal cords as much as possible
- Drink plenty of fluids but avoid alcohol and caffeine, which can further irritate your voice box
- Suck on lozenges but avoid those containing menthol, which can irritate your throat
- Gargle with saltwater to soothe your throat
- Use a humidifier to breathe moist air
- Avoid whispering, which can actually strain your vocal cords worse than regular talking
ENT Doctor in Georgetown, Texas
Do you suffer from chronic or recurring laryngitis? Get a thorough exam from double-board-certified ENT physician Dr. Scott W. Franklin in Georgetown, Texas. You may have an underlying condition that requires specific treatment. Call Georgetown ENT at (512) 869-0604 or request your appointment now.