laryngitis

laryngitis

[lar-uhn-jahy-tis]
laryngitis, inflammation of the mucous membrane of the voice box, or larynx, usually accompanied by hoarseness, sore throat, and coughing. Acute laryngitis is often a secondary bacterial infection triggered by infecting agents causing such illnesses as colds, measles, whooping cough, or influenza. It may also result from straining the voice, drinking hot liquids, or exposure to irritating gases. In chronic laryngitis, inflammation of the mucous membrane of the larynx persists. When such a condition continues for long periods, the membrane becomes irreversibly thickened and the voice permanently changed. Laryngitis resulting from weakened laryngeal muscles is common in singers, teachers, and others who use the voice professionally.

Inflammation of the larynx, causing hoarseness. Simple laryngitis usually occurs with infections such as the common cold. Other causes include inhalation of irritants. The larynx's lining becomes swollen and secretes mucus. In chronic laryngitis, caused by excessive smoking, drinking, or vocal-cord use, the larynx is dry and has polyps. Other types are caused by diphtheria spreading from the upper throat, tuberculosis bacteria spreading from the lungs, and advanced syphilis. The last can produce severe scarring and permanent hoarseness.

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Laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx. It causes hoarse voice or the complete loss of the voice because of irritation to the vocal folds (vocal cords).

Laryngitis is categorized as acute if it lasts less than a few days. Otherwise it is categorized as chronic, and may last over 3 weeks.

Causes

Causes of Laryngitis

  • viral infection
  • bacterial or fungal infection
  • inflammation due to overuse of the vocal cords
  • excessive coughing
  • excessive alcohol consumption
  • excessive smoking

Symptoms

Symptoms of laryngitis vary, depending on the severity and also the cause. The most common, and obvious, symptom is impaired speech, ranging from a raspy hoarseness to the total loss of ability to speak, except at a whisper. Other symptoms can include:

  • Dry, sore throat
  • Coughing, which can be a symptom of, or a factor in causing laryngitis;
  • Difficulty swallowing;
  • Sensation of swelling in the area of the larynx;
  • Cold or flu-like symptoms (which, like a cough, may also be the causing factor for laryngitis;)
  • Swollen lymph glands in the throat, chest, or face;
  • Fever

Treatment

In most instances, the symptoms accompanying laryngitis are more directly linked to the causative factor, such as infection. In cases caused by overuse of the voice, symptoms other than vocal impairment may be absent. Laryngitis, hoarseness or breathiness that lasts for more than two weeks may signal a voice disorder and should be followed up with a voice pathologist. This is typically a vocology certified SLP (speech language pathologist) or a laryngologist (voice specialized ENT).

If laryngitis is due to gastroesophageal reflux:

  • The patient may be instructed to take a medication such as Zantac or Prilosec for a period of 4-6 weeks.

If laryngitis is due to a bacterial or fungal infection:

  • The patient may be prescribed a course of antibiotics or anti-fungal medication.

If persistent hoarseness or loss of voice (sometimes called "laryngitis") is a result of vocal cord nodules:

  • Physicians may recommend a course of treatment that may include a surgical procedure and/or speech therapy.
  • Reduction of high-impact stress to the vocal cords caused by loud, frequent, and high pitched voicing is recommended.
  • These may vary

References

External links

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