Laryngitis

Laryngitis check up

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview

The larynx is a very essential organ of the body which contains all the vocal cords and is responsible for generation and modulation of sound (voice). It also prevents food from entering the windpipe (trachea) while swallowing. Any infection of the larynx may lead to inflammation and dysfunctions that is medically termed as “Laryngitis”. It is a very common condition in tropical, sub-tropical and temperate countries which have favorable climatic conditions for the growth and spread of different bacterial and viral pathogens. Serious cases of laryngitis may even progress to laryngeal cancer when left undiagnosed in the early stages. According to epidemiological studies by the American Cancer Society, about 13,430 new cases of laryngeal cancer were reported in the year 2016.

 

What is laryngitis?

Laryngitis treatmentIn medical terms, laryngitis is defined as the inflammation of the larynx, more correctly the vocal cords and the adjoining tissues due to rough treatment or overuse, irritation or infections of the respiratory tract. Laryngitis or associated complications may lead to impaired functionalities of the larynx such as problems in swallowing, straining, coughing, maintenance of pulmonary pressure, immunological balance, and few hormonal functions. The typical complications observed are difficulty in speaking (dysphonia), discomfort in the anterior portion of the neck, coughing, throat clearing, feeling of lump formation in the throat (globus pharyngeus) and excessive air wasting (due to the partially closed glottis).

 

What causes laryngitis?

Laryngitis is commonly caused by viral or bacterial infections. But there are numerous other etiological factors as well. These are described below-

  • Age: Natural degeneration of vocal cords occur with age which may cause bending of vocal cords or damage of adjoining tissues and nerves responsible for the functioning of vocal cords and eventually lead to laryngitis.
  • Infections: Viral infections caused by the common cold and flu virus or influenza virus can cause laryngitis. Bacterial infections caused by Streptococcus or Staphylococcus species may also contribute to laryngitis.
  • Phonotrauma: Laryngitis may be caused due to improper, rough or excessive use of the vocal cords, causing an excessive collision between vocal cords. This may happen during screaming, yelling, singing continuously or due to some other occupational requirements.
  • Electrolyte imbalance: Extremely low concentration of potassium in the body can lead to electrolyte imbalance causing muscle weakness. These conditions may trigger laryngitis.
  • Tumors: Presence of benign or malignant tumors in the throat can lead to partial obstruction, which may slowly progress to laryngitis.
  • Irritants: Inhalation of particulates and irritants (carbon particles, smoke, dust, fumes) on a regular basis may occur among inhabitants of industrial areas or factory workers and may lead to laryngitis.
  • Substance abuse: Excess alcoholism or tobacco smoking can cause irritation in the throat muscles and membrane causing laryngitis.
  • Acid reflux: Regurgitation of gastric acids (common in the morning) which are pushed up to the back of the throat (also in case of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) can cause throat irritation and affect the larynx, causing laryngitis.
  • Paralysis: Paralysis of vocal cords may occur due to mechanical injury, stroke, lung tumor (polyps or nodules) which may lead to laryngitis.
  • Diseases: Existing illnesses of the respiratory tract such as bronchitis, pneumonia or asthma can increase risks of laryngitis.
  • Weather: Continuous and prolonged exposure to cold weather conditions can cause laryngitis.

 

Symptoms of laryngitis

Laryngitis painLaryngitis is often neglected in the initial stages on assumptions of a minor sore throat or strep throat conditions. This may lead to serious complications in future. Hence the following symptoms must be recognized in the early stages

  • Throat pain and sore throat
  • Inflammation and tenderness of throat
  • Persistent dry (non-productive)  cough
  • Extreme dryness of throat
  • Tickling, itching, and irritation inside the throat
  • Unusual hoarseness
  • Swelling of vocal cords
  • Bouts of a cough with bleeding
  • Cracked and weakened voice
  • Production of wheezing sound while talking, coughing or even breathing (extra air loss due to an incomplete closing of glottis)
  • Breathlessness due to partial obstruction of the throat
  • Difficulty swallowing food (dysphagia)
  • Pain in throat muscles (myalgia)
  • Difficulty speaking (dysphonia)
  • Constant throat clearing due to feeling of a lump in the throat
  • Loss of voice in extreme cases
  • Mild fever
  • Loss of appetite resulting in weight loss
  • Extreme fatigue and general body weakness
  • Disturbed sleep due to a constant cough at night
  • Difficulty in jaw and tongue movements
  • Occasional discomfort and pain in the chest due to constant coughing

 

 Types of laryngitis

According to the severity of the disease, laryngitis may be classified into two categories-

  • Acute Laryngitis: Acute laryngitis usually follows after certain viral and bacterial infections or common cold and cough. It may also be caused by vocal strain or temporary exposure to irritants such as industrial pollutants or seasonal allergens. Acute laryngitis normally resolves within 2-3 weeks.
  • Chronic Laryngitis: Chronic laryngitis usually results due to age (due to degeneration or curving of vocal cords), existing malignancies such as laryngeal cancer, diseases related to acid reflux (GERD), occupational exposure to irritants for a prolonged period, smoking and alcohol abuse on a regular basis. The symptoms are more severe in this case and tend to persist (more than 3 weeks) even after the causative agents are completely eliminated.

Another classification of laryngitis is made based on the causative agents-

  • Viral laryngitis: It is observed in immunosuppressed people and is usually mediated by the Rhinovirus, Adenovirus or Influenza virus.
  • Bacterial laryngitis: It normally follows after viral laryngitis and is caused by the Streptococcus, Staphylococcus or Moraxella species. The symptoms are usually severe and may include the production of serious casts, purulent discharge, and erythema.
  • Fungal laryngitis: It is observed in 10% of laryngitis cases and is mediated by the parasitic fungus “Candida” which results in Laryngeal Candidiasis.

 

Diagnosis

The following diagnostic tests are usually recommended-

  • Panendoscopy (for examination of larynx, pharynx, trachea, and esophagus)
  • Laryngoscopy (for examining the larynx)
  • Rapid Antigen Detection Test (to look for active viral or bacterial infections)

 

Treatment and prevention

Laryngitis check upTreatment 

  • Antibiotics – Since laryngitis is mostly a viral infection, antibiotics will not be prescribed. In case, laryngitis is caused by a bacterial infection, doctors will prescribe antibiotics. It is important to know the exact cause of the infection.
  • Corticosteroids – The minimum healing time for laryngitis is 3 weeks. Corticosteroids are only provided when there is an immediate need to treat the condition. These medications help in reducing the inflammation in the throat.

Prevention 

  • Do not smoke.
  • Do not consume alcohol.
  • Make sure to include high fiber, proteins, and beans in your diet.
  • Avoid irritants such as dust and pollution.
  • Do not consume spicy food.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Consume herbal remedies, such as tea. It helps in reducing the inflammation in the larynx.
  • Stay hydrated, as laryngitis can make your throat dry and cause irritation.
  • Gargle at least 2-3 times a day, with lukewarm water, this helps in soothing the throat and reducing inflammation.
Don'ts
  • Go near dust or any other irritants, as it tends to aggravate the symptoms of laryngitis.
  • Indulge in using tobacco or tobacco-based products; it can increase the chances of developing laryngitis.
  • Consume alcohol, as it can nullify the effects of the medication and increase the symptoms of laryngitis.

 

 

 

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How to correctly perform nasal irrigation using a Neti Pot? Neti pot has been a part of Ayurveda since centuries. This ancient tool is extremely effective in treating…
Experts reveal the safest ways to perform an enema at home The idea of pushing some up your rectal area might make you queasy but an enema could actually…
What is the right way to take a pregnancy test? A pregnancy test is undertaken to determine if you have conceived. A home pregnancy test is the most…
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Heartburn: What are the exact symptoms and the best home remedies? There are easy home remedies for heartburn, which not only acts as a first aid when you experience…
The Cabbage Soup Diet: The healthiest way to instant weight loss Cabbage soup diet rapid weight loss diet for those who want to shed those extra pounds in less…
Barium-enema
Barium Enema Barium enema is also known as colon x-ray. Here, the patient is asked to consume small amount of…
GGt test
GGT – Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase Test GGT or gammaglutamyl transferase test is a liver function test that is used to detect the extent of…
fructosamine test
Fructosamine Test A fructosamine test measures blood sugar glucose content. Fructosamine level can indicate blood sugar level in past 2-3…
anoscopy
Anoscopy Anoscopy is an invasive diagnostic procedure where a small device known as anoscope will be inserted in the…
Diabetes blood test
Diabetic Profile The diabetic profile is a set of tests used for testing and monitoring the various kinds of Diabetes…
Hymenoplasty
Hymenoplasty Read on to find out all about hymenoplasty, the procedure, post-surgery care, the risks, and the benefits.
oral hygiene tips
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xylitol gum
Xylitol : Is this the right sugar substitute for you? Discovered during World War 2 owing to sugar shortage, xylitol has become a common name in pharamaceutical industry.…
avocado benefits
Avocado: 15 reasons why this fruit should be a staple in your diet Did you know that the word avocado literally means "testicles". Don't get grossed out as this power-packed fruit…
ashwagandha brain
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black seed oil benefits
Black Seed Oil: What secret benefits could it bestow on your health? Black seeds or nigella seeds are tiny packets of health brimming with amazing benefits. Find out why should…
Kava: Is it the healthy substitute for alcohol you have been waiting for? Native to the beautiful South Pacific islands, Kava is a famous beverage rooted in the local culture. It…
ANTIPHOSPHOLIPIDANTIBODY(APL)_IgG
Antiphospholipid (APL) antibody-IgG The Antiphospholipid Antibody testing is a blood test used to determine an autoimmune disorder called Antiphospholipid syndrome linked…
iron deficiency profile
Iron Deficiency Profile An iron deficiency profile is a battery of blood tests which are performed in order to determine the…
Okra: How can this nutrient-dense vegetable help you fight diabetes? Okra is a food which is rich in nutrients and minerals which are extremely essential for a healthy…
Hepatitis A virus infected liver
Hepatitis A Virus (HAV) Total Blood test to look for IgM antibodies to know if you are infected with Hepatitis A virus (HAV),…
stress depressed anxiety
Are you depressed or just stressed? Know when to see a doctor Why are some people more anxious than others? Is being depressed the same as feeling sad? Have you…
sugar toxic health
Sugar: 7 new shocking truths revealed about the sweet poison Can drinking soda bring you closer to death? Is sugar slowly poisoning you and your family? You would…
L-theanine attention
L-Theanine: Better sleep, higher focus, and many other benefits Did you know that L-theanine found in green tea can make you sleep better and be focused at…
aspartame or sugar
Aspartame – Hidden truths about this storm in a teacup Aspartame, the artificial sweetener, has gone under the scanner on several occasions for allegedly doing more harm than…
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…
DHEA wrinkles
DHEA: Now get unbelievable age defiance with this wonder hormone! DHEA is known popularly as the age-defying hormone. This supplement is widely used to slow down aging and…
Oil of Oregano: The one-stop essential oil you’ve been looking for Are you plagued by a weak immune system? High body inflammation accompanied by pain and infections? Why not…
Cayenne: The remarkable benefits of these red hot chili peppers These may make you rush for a glass of water, but cayenne pepper is actually a healthy additive…
Love tea, hate tannins? Rooibos tea is just what you need The market is brimming with a multitude of herbal teas. But what makes rooibos tea (or red bush)…
Pescatarian Diet 101: What are the inherent health advantages of this diet? People opt to become a pescatarian in order to enrich their bodies with the essential health benefits that…
shakeology woman
Meal replacement or protein drink? Learn all about Shakeology and its claims Shakeology from Beachbody claims to be the most suitable shake that can aid in weight loss, regulate blood…
vdrl test syphilis
VDRL Test The VDRL test is a blood test that is used to diagnose sexually transmitted or venereal diseases, primarily…
malarial antigen test
Malaria Antigen Test A malaria antigen test is a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) that can detect malarial antigens (proteins) in your…
cystatin C
Cystatin C Test Cystatin C is a specific single-chain protein that is found in body fluids and is a biomarker for…
liver detox facts
7 liver detox facts and why ignoring these could kill you! Are you taking care of this organ that handles over 500 different vital functions in your body? Your…
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Gallbladder surgery :Tips on post-operative care and diet What to eat post a gallbladder surgery? What are the key things to avoid if you had a…
gout diet purines
Gout Diet : Get relief from painful joints by eating these foods Are you a victim of this painful condition? Are medications providing only short relief? Find a list of…

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