Laryngitis involves inflammation of the vocal cords and surrounding area. It can lead to hoarseness and can make it difficult to speak.
The condition can be categorized as acute or chronic. An acute case arises abruptly and lasts for only a few days. For the chronic type, the hoarseness in the throat lasts for at least 3 weeks.
What are the causes?
Laryngitis might be a sign of the flu, common cold, sinusitis, bronchitis or other respiratory infections or allergies. The acute form is typically brought about by a virus but can also result from a bacterial infection.
A chronic case of laryngitis can be triggered by:
- Heavy smoking and drinking
- Exposure to chemicals or dust
- Singing, shouting or excessively using the voice such as public speaking or teaching
- Forceful coughing
What are the signs?
The indications of both the acute and chronic laryngitis might include the following:
- Sore throat
- Low, raspy voice and hoarseness
- Weakening voice as the day progresses
- Dry cough
- Dry throat
In some cases, the individual might lose his/her voice entirely and can only whisper.
Management of laryngitis
In case another health condition is responsible for laryngitis such as acid reflux, thyroid disease or sinusitis, the treatment of these conditions can manage the condition. In most cases, medications are given.
If there is no specific cause, the main treatment is to allow the voice to rest as much as possible. In some cases, the doctor might suggest a steroid spray to promote faster healing of the larynx. In addition, those who smoke might stop.
If acute laryngitis is caused by a virus, it typically settles in a few days without treatment. If bacteria are the cause, it should settle a few days with treatment. For the chronic form, the condition is expected to improve in a week of resting the voice. In case the hoarseness lasts more than 3 weeks, a doctor must be seen. Further testing is necessary to check for other potential diseases.