Infections such as cold and flu, acid reflux, sinusitis, allergies, yelling or vocal strain, etc., are some of the common contributing factors for laryngitis. The following article provides information on this condition.
Laryngitis is a medical condition that is characterized by the inflammation of the larynx (voice box). It could be acute or chronic. While the former develops suddenly and is more severe, the latter develops slowly and has a long-lasting effect. Since the vocal cords (either of the two pairs of folds of mucous membrane that vibrate to produce voice) lie inside the larynx, the quality of the voice is adversely affected in people affected by this condition. The voice becomes raspy and hoarse.
In some cases, the voice becomes so weak that it can hardly be heard. The affected person may also suffer from rawness in the throat and dry cough. Children who are affected may have difficulty in breathing. Congestion, ticklish sensation in the throat, sore throat, dry throat, and the urge to constantly clear the throat are the other common symptoms.
Here are some of the common causes of this condition:
- Viral infections such as cold and flu
- Acid reflux disease (regurgitation of the gastric juices or the contents of the stomach towards the esophagus)
- Vocal strain (shouting or singing for long periods)
- Inhalation of chemical fumes or irritants
- Alcohol abuse
- Bacterial/fungal/parasitic infections
Vocal cord paralysis, cancer, nerve damage, polyps or growths on vocal cords, or bowing of vocal cords in old age could also cause this condition.
The treatment will vary, depending on the underlying cause. Most cases which are brought upon by any viral infections are self-resolving, and resolve within a week or so. For other conditions, medications which are prescribed by the doctor may include antibiotics (for bacterial infection), corticosteroids (for reducing inflammation), and acid reflux medications (if acid reflux is the underlying cause).
Apart from taking medications, you can follow some simple self-care measures at home to keep yourself more comfortable. Inhaling the steam from a bowl of hot water is recommended. While you are recuperating from laryngitis, talk only when needed so as to rest your vocal cords. Drink eight glasses of water daily. Every morning or whenever you feel throat irritation, gargle with warm saline water or chew raw cloves of ginger root. It is important that you refrain from smoking and drinking alcohol, as these might aggravate the symptoms further. Avoid clearing your throat every now and then, as it may increase the swelling.
Take appropriate measures to prevent upper respiratory infections. Do not overlook the need to drink plenty of water. Keeping the body well hydrated will certainly prove beneficial. Lastly, using a humidifier at home also helps reduce the risks.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.