Laryngitis is inflammation of your voice box (throat) or vocal cords due to overuse, irritation, or infection.
The vocal cords in your voice box move smoothly and create sounds through vibrations. However, when you experience inflammation, your voice box swells and your voice becomes hoarse. Even in some cases of laryngitis, the voice becomes undetectable. In addition, you complain of difficulty breathing, a sore throat, and a hoarse voice.
Laryngitis can be acute (short term) or chronic (long term). If it lasts less than three weeks, it is defined as acute laryngitis, if it lasts more than three weeks, it is defined as chronic laryngitis. Most cases of laryngitis are a transient viral infection and the condition is not serious. If your hoarseness continues for a long time, a more serious underlying medical problem is investigated.
In addition, along with bacterial infections, environmental factors such as breathing industrial fumes and harmful habits such as smoking can also cause laryngitis.
What are the symptoms of laryngitis?
Laryngitis is often associated with other diseases such as the common cold, flu, sinusitis, or bronchitis. Symptoms in children and adults are often similar. The symptoms are as follows:
Poor voice or loss of voice
* Tickling sensation in the throat
* Throat ache
Dry throat and dry cough
Low grade fever
* Difficulty swallowing
* The constant urge to clear the throat
What are the causes of laryngitis?
Most cases of laryngitis are short-lived and resolve once the underlying cause is found. The most common cause of acute laryngitis is a viral infection such as an upper respiratory tract infection.
Causes of acute laryngitis are as follows:
Viral infections similar to those that cause the common cold
* Bacterial infections
* Too much alcohol consumption
Excessive or abusive use of the voice, such as screaming, cheering, singing constantly
* Also babies or children cry constantly, changing their voices to imitate animals or cartoon characters
Reflux is the most common cause of chronic laryngitis. If the acids in your stomach go back to your throat and reach your throat, it irritates this area. In addition, other conditions that cause chronic laryngitis are:
Smoking or smoking electronic cigarettes
Throat irritation caused by inhaled medications such as asthma medications
A fungal infection such as thrush
* Injury due to blow to throat
* Inhaling chemical fumes
* Sinus disease
Other health problems, such as various damage to your vocal cords, also increase your chances of having chronic laryngitis.
Sometimes symptoms can be more serious than these due to other underlying health problems. For example; If your children between the ages of 6 months and 3 years have barking cough, breathing difficulty, mild fever, hoarseness and hoarseness, this may be croup disease. Croup is a blockage of the upper respiratory tract due to infection.
How is laryngitis diagnosed?
When you come to the examination, a full ear, nose and throat scan is performed first and the swelling in your neck, the presence of discharge from your nose or throat that may affect your vocal cords or the presence of infection in these areas.
The starting time of your hoarseness and whether you have had an upper respiratory tract infection in the recent past are among the important information for your treatment.
Although acute laryngitis usually resolves within a few weeks, if you need a doctor, your doctor will first perform a throat culture.
The culture allows you to grow the bacteria or virus causing the laryngitis and identify the problem. Your medication for this begins.
The most common symptom of laryngitis is hoarseness. If you have chronic hoarseness, your doctor will review your medical history and symptoms.
He wants to listen to your voice and examine your vocal cords. Some techniques used to help diagnose laryngitis include:
* Laryngoscopy: With a procedure called laryngoscopy, your doctor examines your vocal cords in detail and closely using a light and a tiny mirror to look at the back of your throat. You will not feel pain during this procedure.
Alternatively, your doctor may use fiber optic laryngoscopy. This is when a thin, flexible tube (endoscope) with a small camera and light is inserted through your nose or mouth into the back of your throat. After insertion, your doctor monitors the movement of your vocal cords as you speak and looks for signs of laryngitis, such as irritation, redness, lesions in the voice box, and swelling.
Biopsy: If your doctor sees a suspicious mass or nodule in the voice box area, he or she will take a tissue sample to be examined under a microscope. This procedure is called a biopsy. A pathologist examines the tissue sample taken to determine if the tissues are abnormal.
What are the treatment methods for laryngitis?
Acute laryngitis usually resolves spontaneously within a week. Personal care measures such as resting your voice, consuming fluids and humidifying your air also help reduce your complaints.
Chronic laryngitis treatments aim to identify and treat underlying causes such as smoking or excessive alcohol use.
Your doctor uses the following medications to treat laryngitis:
* Antibiotics: In almost all cases of laryngitis, antibiotics do not work as the cause is virus. However, if you have a bacterial infection, your doctor will recommend an antibiotic.
* Corticosteroids: These are man-made drugs that mimic hormones like cortisol your body naturally produces. Corticosteroids help reduce vocal cord inflammation and relieve swelling.
* Pain medications: If you have pain, your doctor will recommend a suitable pain reliever. You must follow the instructions for how often and how much your medication should be taken.
* Voice therapy: If you are experiencing hoarseness, especially for professional reasons (teacher, vocal artist, etc.), a language therapist will teach you how to take care of your voice and reduce distressing behaviors.
* If you have a mass, polyps or other disease in your voice box (larynx), you may need surgery for treatment.
* Drink plenty of fluids. It can be painful to swallow before, but the more fluid you drink, the better. Also avoid alcohol and caffeine.
* Use moisturizers and menthol inhalers (apparatus used to inhale medicines). Moisture is your friend during laryngitis treatment, and menthol has a soothing effect.
* Gargle with warm salt water. The salinity not only soothes the area but also reduces swelling.
* You can also suck throat lozenges containing herbs such as eucalyptus and peppermint, known for their sore throat healing effect.
* Avoid dry, smoky or dusty environments.
* Avoid movements such as whispering that make your vocal cords more tiring.
Some herbs, such as licorice root, marshmallow, and slippery elm, are known as sore throat relievers, but they do interact with some medications. Always consult your doctor before taking them.
How to prevent laryngitis?
Follow these steps to keep your voice healthy and prevent dryness and irritation that can cause laryngitis.
* Do not consume coffee, soda, or other caffeine-containing products that dry your throat.
* Do not be dehydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
* Do not smoke and stay away from second-hand smoking. Smoking is generally bad for your health, but it also damages the vocal cords.
* Avoid movements that trigger the irritation and swelling of your vocal cords, such as clearing your throat.
* The situation that you should pay more attention to, especially recently, is hand hygiene. To avoid a viral infection, you should keep your hands clean. Wash your hands often and properly.