Hoarseness or laryngitis is an inflammation of your voice box (larynx) from overuse, irritation, or infection. Laryngitis may be short-lived (acute) or long lasting (chronic). Most cases of laryngitis are triggered by vocal strain or viral infection, and typically aren’t serious. However, persistent hoarseness can sometimes be a signal of a more serious medical condition.
Acute laryngitis can be caused by a viral infection, vocal strain which is caused by overusing your voice or yelling, and bacterial infections. Chronic laryngitis is laryngitis or hoarseness that lasts longer than three weeks and is usually caused by habitual overuse of your voice or excessive exposure to irritants such as smoke or alcohol. Chronic sinusitis, acid reflux, throat cancer, excessive alcohol use, and smoking are just a few things that can cause Laryngitis or Hoarseness.
Acute laryngitis caused by a virus often gets better on its own within a week or so. Self-care measures such as warm tea and resting your voice can help improve symptoms. When treating chronic laryngitis, it is necessary to identify the underlying cause, such as heartburn, smoking, throat cancer, bacterial infection or excessive use of alcohol before a treatment can be recommended. If you have hoarseness that persists for longer than 3 weeks, see an ENT physician for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
Vocal Cord Nodules
A vocal cord nodule is also known as a callus of the vocal fold. These lesions usually form on both sides of the vocal cords and face each other. These lesions can cause hoarseness or the loss of your voice.
Vocal cord nodules are caused by overuse and abuse of your vocal cords.
Voice rest is the common treatment for vocal cord nodules. The lesions will lessen or disappear when the voice overuse is discontinued. Voice therapy is a good way to prevent future lesions from forming.
Symptoms of throat cancer are not always easy to detect as they can be attributed to many other things. Some common symptoms include painful or difficulty swallowing, hoarseness or changes in your voice, unexplainable weight loss, and a chronic cough. If you have any of the above symptoms and they persistent for more than 2 weeks, you should see one of our physicians for a proper diagnosis.
Excessive alcohol or tobacco use and the HPV (human papillomavirus) are all known to cause throat cancers. Your age and sex also contribute to the incidence of throat cancer. The incidence of throat cancer increases as you age. Men are twice as likely as women to be diagnosed with throat cancer.
We would use imaging, diagnostic testing and laboratory testing to determine the size of the tumor, type of tumor, origin of the tumor and the best course of treatment for your individual situation. Treatment options include Chemotherapy, Radiation Therapy, and Surgery.