Laryngitis is the inflammation of the larynx. The larynx or the voice box houses the vocal cords, which are pivotal in the talking and breathing process.
Most of the time, the inflammation may be a result of the overuse of the larynx or an irritation. Laryngitis can also be caused by environmental factors, viral infection, and bacterial infection.
A 2013 study shows that 3.47 in every 1000 people in the United States are diagnosed with the condition yearly. As pointed out in the study, 21% of the people in the US may develop the condition at some time in their life.
Types of Laryngitis
There are two types of Laryngitis- Chronic Laryngitis and acute Laryngitis. Below is an overview of each of them.
This is caused by long-term exposure to irritants. Its symptoms usually linger for weeks or months. Below are some factors that increase the risk of chronic laryngitis.
- Yeast infection (as a result of the constant use of asthma inhaler)
- Acid reflux
- Exposure to allergens
- Sinus infection
Acute laryngitis is caused by an infection or the overuse of the vocal cords. It usually lasts for two weeks or less. Below are a few other things that can cause the condition.
- Consuming huge amount of alcohol
- Straining the vocal cords (yelling and talking)
- Bacterial and viral infections
Symptoms and diagnosis of Laryngitis
Laryngitis has a host of symptoms. Below are some of them.
- Throat pain
- Dry cough
- Loss of voice
- Throat irritation
- Difficulty swallowing
- Difficulty speaking
- Pain while swallowing
Diagnosis of Laryngitis
To determine if a patient has laryngitis, a doctor will use a special type of mirror to examine the vocal cords. To get a clearer picture of the vocal cords, the health care practitioner may perform a laryngoscopy. During the procedure, a flexible tube with a camera is inserted into the mouth. Your doctor will look for the following signs.
A biopsy may be carried out if a lesion is seen in the area. During the biopsy, a small amount of tissue in the area will be collected and tested in a lab.
How to treat Laryngitis
Your doctor may recommend the following if you are diagnosed with laryngitis.
If the condition is caused by a viral infection, it will improve without any treatment after a couple of days. If it is caused by a bacterial infection, your doctor will prescribe medications like corticosteroids to help reduce the swelling and address some of the symptoms associated with the condition.
If a patient has chronic laryngitis, the doctor will have to find the underlining cause of the condition before recommending any treatment.
To prevent the condition from reoccurring, doctors may ask patients to make the following lifestyle changes.
Reduce intake or avoid tobacco and Alcohol
Since tobacco and alcohol can cause irritation which may lead to the condition, your doctor may ask you to avoid or reduce your intake of them.
Alter your Singing
If singling is the cause of the condition, your doctor may ask you to change your singing method.
A surgical procedure will be recommended if the vocal cords are severely damaged.
How to manage Laryngitis
Here are some alternative treatments that can help you manage the condition.
Drink lots of water
Increasing your water intake can help prevent your throat from drying out. What’s more, it can soothe your voice box. Be sure to avoid fluids like hot beverages and sodas that can cause irritation. It will be in your best interest to avoid dairy products like milk, as it can worsen the symptoms of the condition.
Ginger root has been used for years to address respiratory infections and sore throats. Studies have shown that ginger has antibacterial properties. Drinking ginger tea can reduce inflammation and relieve the pain associated with the condition.
As seen in this study, garlic has antibacterial properties. This makes it perfect for addressing laryngitis. If you can’t stand the taste and smell of garlic, you should take garlic supplements.
- What should I avoid if I Have Laryngitis? If you are diagnosed with laryngitis, you should avoid the following.
- Dry food (popcorn and potato chips)
- Spicy sauces
- Raw veggies
2. When should I seek medical attention? You should seek the attention of your doctor if the condition doesn’t improve after two weeks or if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms.
- Ear pain
- Dry cough
- Body aches
- Vocal cord paralysis
- Presence of nodules, ulcers, and cysts on the vocal cords
Healthier Me Today is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment, always consult with your healthcare professional. Stay healthy!