The location of the larynx is between the mouth and trachea, where the air enters the lungs. The junction consists of a flap covering which helps in preventing saliva and food entering into the larynx while swallowing the food. In this article we will look into the causes of laryngitis and what to take for it.
How Do You Get Laryngitis?
Laryngitis is an inflammation that occurs to the vocal cords located in the voice box. The larynx is responsible for allowing a human being to shout, speak, sing, and whisper. Cartilage skeleton protects the larynx along with the vocal cords, which has a mucus lining. The muscles surrounding this region adjust the shape, tension, and position to bring out variations to the sounds like singing, shouting, and whispering.
Laryngitis occurrence to the voice box and vocal cords causes the person to lose their ability to speak freely. The voice grows hoarse, and in some cases, it becomes soft that the other person cannot hear it. Because there is inflammation, the person experiences pain associated with several symptoms.
There are several reasons behind the cause for acute and chronic laryngitis in a human being. The following points will be helpful in understanding the causes in both the cases.
Causes of Acute Laryngitis
Acute laryngitis occurrence is due to a viral infection that creates inflammation to the vocal cords. The occurrence could also be due to excessive use of voice such as singing, shouting, and talking.
Causes of Chronic Laryngitis
You can term laryngitis as chronic when the symptoms last for more than three weeks. The following are the common factors for prolonged occurrence of laryngitis:
- Exposure to secondhand smoke
- Exposure to polluted air
- Excessive coughing can also cause laryngitis.
Other Possible Causes of Laryngitis
Apart from the factors above for the occurrence of laryngitis, the other possible reason for its existence is due to gastroesophageal reflux disease. People suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease tend to have acid reflux symptoms, where they experience a sour taste in the mouth, which is nothing but the acids released by the stomach.
Repetitive spilling of acids back into the esophagus damages the lining that protects the food pipe. The continual chemical irritation results in swelling of the cords apart from inflammation, creating symptoms such as a persistent cough. In a few cases, the chronic irritation to the vocal cords develops nodules that affect the vocal cords causing chronic hoarseness.
Damage to the muscles can lead to the development of hoarseness. The damage could be due to trauma or due to surgery, which resulted in the development of nerve irritation. Tumors are also other factors that compress the nerves passing through the neck and chest, making it difficult to speak properly. An enlargement of thyroid gland also causes inflammation and compression of nerves, which further results in the development of laryngitis.
Signs and Symptoms of Laryngitis
Understanding the signs and symptoms of laryngitis will be helpful in attending to it in its initial stage. Pain in the throat, loss of voice, and hoarseness are the common symptoms of laryngitis. If it is infectious, the symptoms include a dry cough, fever, pain while swallowing food, feeling of fullness in the neck, and loss of voice.
Laryngitis has limitation and recedes after seven days. However, if an individual is suffering from the signs and symptoms for more than three weeks, it could be due to bacterial or viral infection. In such cases, seeking medical attention is of utmost importance.
The health care physician will carry out the diagnosis of laryngitis using a swab. They will collect the sample and carry out the tests to specify the occurrence as bacterial or viral. The examination is brief and limited to throat, nose, and ears. If it is a chronic ailment, the health care professional will conduct a detailed history to learn about the occurrence of the larynx.
What To Take For Laryngitis?
As with any other infection in the body, offering rest is helpful in moving on with inflammation produced by laryngitis. In this case, the patient should rest his/her voice with a reduced amount of talking. Avoiding whispering is important, as the surrounding muscles stretch causing a delay in recovery time. Other factors that help in treating laryngitis include:
- Taking ibuprofen or Tylenol pain control
- Dexamethasone as a single dose given orally or as an intramuscular injection.
- Keeping hydrated by drinking plenty of water
- Avoiding alcohol and smoking
- Breathing humidified air.
Treatment of chronic laryngitis requires understanding the cause of the inflammation. Meanwhile, avoiding alcohol and smoking will have a significant effect in relieving pain suffered by an individual. With all the bits of the puzzle in place, the health care professional will offer the right treatment to cure laryngitis.
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