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What is Laryngitis?
Laryngitis is a condition that affects the vocal cords and results in the loss of voice and the inflammation of the surrounding tissues. This ailment is typically transient and does not cause any serious health complications. In cases of chronic laryngitis, the vocal cords may be permanently damaged prompting the voice to become permanently raspy and hoarse.
What are The Causes of Laryngitis?
Laryngitis is caused by an inflammation of the larynx (voice box) where the vocal cords are located. The inflammation may be triggered by overusing one’s voice such as yelling or screaming. It can also be initiated by viral or bacterial infections. Various medical conditions, such as Acid Reflux or Sinusitis, may also be the reason for Laryngitis. In addition, an excessive use of alcohol and smoking frequently causes chronic Laryngitis. Inhaling irritants, such as toxic fumes or allergens has been also recognized as triggers for this illness.
What are The Symptoms of Laryngitis?
Medical intervention is suggested when the patient experiences difficulty breathing, swallowing and talking. Excessive drooling and high fever are also the signs of an infected larynx. Additional symptoms may include the pain in the region of the throat, and it may be combined with irritating dry cough. Swollen lymph nodes and runny nose frequently accompanies this condition, especially in children. If the above symptoms are followed by bloody saliva, the patient should seek immediate medical help.
How is Laryngitis Diagnosed?
Laryngitis is diagnosed during the physical examination. The ears, nose and throat are fully examined. The physician may use the laryngoscope to inspect the movement of the vocal cords while in use. If any suspicious lesions are found, the biopsy may be recommended. The patient will be asked about their lifestyle and any detrimental habits such as smoking. A comprehensive exam will also include reviewing the patient’s medical history.
How is Laryngitis Treated?
The acute cases of Laryngitis are often treated with home remedies such as inhaling a steamed air in the shower and using the humidifier to keep the air evenly moist throughout the room. Resting the voice is the most effective method of curing a temporary inflammation of the vocal cords. If the condition becomes chronic, the antibiotics may be prescribed to curb the infection.
What are The Complications of Laryngitis?
Chronic Laryngitis often leads to the growth of nodules and polyps which may have to be removed surgically. Additionally, other medical conditions, such as cancer, may lead to paralysis of the vocal cords. In more complicated cases of this ailment, a condition called epiglottitis may develop, in which the flap of tissue in the back of the throat becomes swollen. The flow of oxygen is than restricted. Epiglottitis is perceived as an emergency as the condition develops rapidly and needs an immediate medical attention. Patients with polyp growths may require surgery. In most cases, lifestyle changes will be recommended, and they may include an avoidance of alcohol and smoking as well as speech therapy to alter the way the voice box is used.