Healthy Living

What is Chronic Laryngitis?

What is Chronic Laryngitis?

Key Takeaways

  • Difficulties producing sound is the most common symptom of chronic laryngitis
  • You should seek medical attention if the hoarseness in your voice lasts for more than 10 days
  • If you are a smoker and you are showing laryngitis symptoms for more than 30 days, you should consult a nose, ear and throat physician

Laryngitis is caused by the inflammation or irritation of the larynx, voice box, and vocal cords.  The infection is common and results in a difficulty to produce sound when speaking.

Laryngitis can be caused by several conditions such as:

  • Smoking for a long period
  • Regurgitation of gastric fluid into the gullet
  • Voice misuse
  • Illnesses caused by viruses

 

Pneumonia, allergies and constant contact with harmful chemicals make one more vulnerable to laryngitis infection.

 

Causes of chronic laryngitis

Chronic laryngitis can be a result of numerous factors. Your vocal cords can be irritated, leading to inflammation of your throat, especially in chronic smokers. Gastroesophageal reflux (GERD) can cause irritation in your throat when it food or fluid moves from your stomach to your gullet.

Other possible causes of chronic laryngitis are:

  • Bronchitis
  • Allergic reactions
  • Vocal cord growths or cysts
  • Pneumonia
  • Overexposure to harmful chemicals
  • Flu or chronic cold 

 

Symptoms of chronic laryngitis

Difficulty in making sounds when speaking is the most popular chronic laryngitis symptom. The condition is termed chronic if the patient persistently shows hoarseness of the voice for no less than 14 days.  Other possible chronic laryngitis symptoms (dependent on the cause) are:

  • A hoarse, low voice
  • Breaking, cracking or easily tiring voice
  • Presence of a lump or dryness in the throat 
  • Urge to clear the throat frequently
  • A lot of mucus in the throat
  • A persistent cough or upper airway cough syndrome
  • Swallowing difficulties

 

Diagnosis of Chronic Laryngitis

You should seek medical attention if the hoarseness in your voice lasts for more than 10 days. Take your child to the hospital if they show symptoms for seven days. Seek immediate medical attention if your child has breathing or swallowing problems and is below 3 months of age. Consult your pediatrician if your baby’s vocal cords are inflamed and show any of the following symptoms:

  • Dry cough
  • Extremely high body temperatures
  • Breathing problems
  • Swallowing problems

 

The signs may be an indication of swelling around the vocal cords (croup). Infants and children are mostly the victims of this condition.

 

Chronic Laryngitis Treatment

Your physician will determine the cause of your laryngitis after a check-up. The causality determines the treatment.

An infected respiratory tract can provoke these symptoms. If you have a smoking habit, and you are showing laryngitis symptoms for more than 30 days, you need to consult a nose, ear and throat physician.

Professional singers and speakers should avoid use of their vocal cords until swelling is reduced. To prevent the condition from recurring, you must reduce your voice usage.

Regardless of your profession, rest enables your body to heal.

Humidification

Additionally, your doctor can ask you to humidify your surroundings, use lozenges, or drink plenty of fluid to reduce irritation in your throat. Caffeine and alcohol cause more swelling, so you should avoid them.  Avoid throat irritants such as menthol cough drops.

 

Medicines

Infectious laryngitis is mainly caused by viruses. Antibiotics can be recommended if a bacterial infection leads to laryngitis.

Your physician can advise you to use decongestants, antibiotics, or steroid injection, depending on the cause of chronic laryngitis.

 

Surgery

Your doctor can recommend surgery if either vocal cord polyps or damaged vocal cords are the cause of the chronic laryngitis, both of which are extremely dangerous. Vocal cord surgery isn’t an in-patient operation. Weak or disabled vocal cords may require collagen injections or surgery.

 

From acute to chronic:

Chronic laryngitis, as the name suggests, is a chronic condition of the larynx or vocal cords, causing inflammation and irritation. It happens due to excessive strain or stress to the cords over a long span of time. A number of irritants and external and internal factors could cause the chronic problem. These include but are not confined to smoke, allergens, chemical agents, acidic refluxes and strain of the cords. Since it is a rather chronic condition, and is here to stay, managing it becomes imperative. It may not be easy to handle at first, but a routine formed around it can help to simmer the ill effects of chronic laryngitis. Acute cases of laryngitis if left untreated or unattended, like ignoring the symptoms, avoiding medication and repeated over straining of the vocal cords, could damage the larynx to a more chronic level. Handling the ailment at the initial stages before it transcends into something sever is important. For this, consult a doctor, take the treatment and follow all the specifications prompted by the doctor and his team.

 

Managing chronic laryngitis:

Managing a condition means finding out what causes it followed by thorough diagnosis and medication. If you notice the obvious symptoms like swallowing difficulties, pain in the throat, change in voice, dry coughs, swelling of lymphatic glands etc., please get it checked as soon as possible. What follows is care and support to your own self. Following a strict medication regime, constant follow ups with the treating doctor, giving your vocal cords some rest from time to time and avoiding foods that cause acidic refluxes can help in dealing with the most chronic cases. Some of the best ways of curbing the condition are to quit smoking with immediate effect, treating cold and other allergies that can trigger an outburst, preventing secondary infections, and eating a well balanced diet. Having the right amounts of fruits and vegetables in a day and drinking lots of water is the simplest way towards good health in general. Yes, it helps to prevent a lot of infections or conditions from brewing at its very initial stages. Besides this, following a holistic approach to health helps in keeping yourself healthy and strong. Treatment of laryngitis at the chronic stage may not be possible completely. The patient must be made to understand that, along with counseling of the lifestyle choices that he has to keep in mind, the changes to be made to his diet and the regular dosage of medication to be taken.

 

In order to be able to live a happy and peaceful life, a person suffering from Laryngitis must make regular visits to the doctor. A proper and timely medical advice might make a huge difference in the treatment process.