Laryngitis Causes & Risk Factors
Certain viruses or bacteria can infect the larynx and cause it to become inflamed and swollen. The most common cause of laryngitis symptoms is a virus that comes from another illness. These include the common cold or flu. Other possible causes include:
- overuse of your voice
- acid reflux or GERD
- exposure to irritants and toxins
- use of inhaled steroid medicines
When acid or other chemicals that come up from your stomach cause pain, it may be because of gastroesophageal reflux disease ,laryngopharyngeal reflux, acid reflux or chronic laryngitis. Estimates regarding acid reflux causing laryngitis vary widely, reaching up to 80 percent of cases in some studies.
Common symptoms of laryngitis caused by acid reflux include dry cough, foreign body sensation in the throat and throat clearing. ;There are many causes of acid reflux.;The main issue is that the esophageal valve that connects the esophagus and stomach is unable to shut properly and gastric juices end up sneaking up the pipe. This can be triggered by a hiatal hernia, pregnancy, smoking, too little stomach acid, eating before bed, excessive exercise, taking medications, being overweight and eating common acid reflux food triggers.
Another major cause of laryngitis is smoking. Research shows that heavy smokers were much;more likely to have a laryngeal disorder. Voice problems were also significantly more likely for heavy smokers.
Allergy Medicine For Singers
Antihistamines should be avoided at all costs if youre a singer. They can;actually prolong;and worsen;the dehydrating effects on your;vocal folds. But there are plenty of alternative allergy medicines musicians can use to alleviate;allergy;symptoms:;
- Nasal steroids and nasal antihistamines; these are a great allergy relief for singers and can help with nasal symptoms and with postnasal drip. They provide targeted relief that wont affect the voice and throat.;
- Medicative pills ;some pills such as;Singulair;and other leukotrienes are safe for singers to take at night as they dont have a drying effect on the vocal cords.;
- Natural antihistamines ;some natural plant extracts and foods can work as antihistamines;and;dont have a;drying effect on your voice.
Natural Antihistamines For Singers
- Vitamin C Found in citrus fruits, strawberries, tomatoes, broccoli, bell peppers,;and tomatoes.;
- Butterbur ;a plant extract that;can;be;bought in capsule form and relieves hay fever and migraines.;
- Probiotics ;these can be bought as supplements;or;capsules and have multiple health benefits. They maintain healthy bacteria in the gut and boost the immune system which can help tackle allergies.;
- Quercetin ;found naturally in many foods and herbs, including grapes, green tea, broccoli, berries, apples,;and red onions. Quercetin is thought to reduce;airway;inflammation;caused by allergens. Taking;higher doses from supplements are;more effective than from flavonoids;in food sources.;
- Bromelain; a natural remedy for sinus swelling and inflammation. It can be bought as a supplement or extracted from the core of pineapples.
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How Do I Get My Voice Back From Allergies
If youve lost your voice due to allergies, the;best;way to recover is by treating the allergy itself.;Decongestants and antihistamines are off the cards for singers as they dry out your voice. But there are lots of other trailed and tested ways to get back a lost voice:;
- Exercise for a few minutes to reduce nasal congestion;
- Suck;honey, menthol or ginger throat lozenges to soothe throat irritation;
- Take a hot shower to wash off any allergens and to get steam into your vocal folds;
- Use a saline sinus rinse;;
- Use a nasal spray to ease congestion and relieve your vocal cords;
- Gargle with warm salt water to;help your sore throat
The Effects Of Allergies Colds And Flu
When you push your voice through a cold, your vocal cords can swell, which can lead to a condition called laryngitis. When you develop laryngitis, pushing your voice is a very bad idea. Even if youve committed to singing in a recital or giving a three-hour lecture, its best to postpone or find a substitute, or you may end up in trouble. Treatment for laryngitis includes resting your voice using it too much can lead to long-term damage that may require surgery.
If your allergy, cold, or flu symptoms are causing you to cough and clear your throat a lot, or if youre concerned that youve developed laryngitis, check with a laryngologist . Throat clearing and coughing are traumatic events for your vocal cords that can cause damage if the symptoms are not resolved quickly. Your laryngologist can help to optimize your treatment and help protect your voice to avoid long-term damage.
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Can Winter Allergies Affect Singing
Some people suffer from allergies all year round, not just in the summer. Winter allergies are caused by indoor allergens, such as mould, dust mites and animals.;
Winters allergens trigger many of the same side effects as pollen allergies, including coughing, a stuffy nose, and postnasal drip.;;
These symptoms can impair your singing voice in the same way as pollen allergies. The vocal cords become irritated and inflamed by the excess phlegm and the pitch and tone of your voice can change.;
Fighting winter allergies starts at home, as this is where;most of;the allergens;are found. Hoovering regularly,;setting up a dehumidifier,;and;washing sheets once a week in hot water;will help reduce;the growth of;mould;spores.;;
How Do You Treat Your Covid
While you might not be able to do much to prevent a hoarse COVID-19 voice, Dr. Khabbaza says there are things you can do to treat it if youre sick.;
- Stay hydrated. Dry cough receptors promote more coughing which causes more irritation, Dr. Khabbaza says. So staying well-hydrated can keep those cough receptors from being activated.
- Cough drops. Yes, these can help you out with COVID-19 just like other respiratory diseases. I recommend these with any kind of upper respiratory issue, he says, because cough drops, especially menthol ones, numb the nerves of the cough receptors and make your trigger a little less sensitive.;
- Speak less, speak softer. Its a more extreme approach, but avoid speaking and avoid speaking loudly, he suggests. The more you use your voice, especially often and at a loud volume, the more irritation that can occur.
- A healthy diet. A healthy diet is important across the board, Dr. Khabbaza says, but it also minimizes those acid reflux issues that can worsen the situation in your throat.;
Other medical treatments
As issues linger during your recovery, its important to keep track of whats happening and seek other medical attention as need.;
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Physical Exam And Tests
Your doctor will start with a physical exam. They’ll also ask some questions about the problems you’re having and your medical history. The next step may be a food diary. You’ll write down the foods you eat and when you have symptoms. Then you’ll share your notes with your doctor.
If they think it’s GERD, they’ll start to treat you for it. If that doesn’t work or you have other symptoms, they may send you to a specialist called a gastroenterologist who will perform tests to figure out what’s behind your issues:
Conventional Treatment Of Laryngitis
According to research published in Otolaryngology Clinics of North America, treatment of laryngitis depends on the cause, as well as the age, vocal demands and clinical characteristics of the individual.
Antibiotics are often;prescribed for acute laryngitis. However,;research shows that penicillin anderythromycin appear to have no benefit in treating the primary outcomes of this condition. Some studies have found that antibiotics can improve some laryngitis symptoms, such as cough and hoarseness of voice. But, these modest benefits may not outweigh the cost, adverse effects or negative consequences for antibiotic resistance patterns.
Many people take proton pump inhibitors for gastroesophageal reflux disease and GERD-related chronic laryngitis. By lowering stomach acid levels, proton pump inhibitors are taken to reduce acid reflux into the esophagus. However,;studies show that PPI therapy only offers modest and non-significant clinical benefits. PPIs dont work to reduce stomach acid because GI issues are connected to low stomach acid. Because people have low stomach acid, they are unable to digest their food fully.
Corticosteroids, or steroid hormones, may also be used to reduce vocal cord inflammation. These drugs are generally used when theres an urgent need to treat laryngitis symptoms like loss of voice. Side effects of corticosteroids may include high blood pressure, headache, muscle weakness and ulcers.
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Nodules Polyps And Cysts
Although experts aren’t sure why, non-cancerous growths can appear on your vocal cords. They believe that heavy overuse of the voice, such as too much yelling or speaking, can be a cause. There are three types:
Nodules. These -like formations usually grow in the middle of the vocal cord. They tend to go away if you give your voice enough rest.
Polyps. These typically appear on one side of the vocal cord. They have a variety of sizes and shapes. Unlike nodules, they often need to be removed surgically.
Cysts. They’re fluid-filled or semi-solidÃ masses of tissue that grow near or beneath the surface of your vocal cord. If they make serious changes to your voice, your doctor will likely recommend surgery to remove them.
Questions Your Doctor May Ask
When you visit your doctor, she will first take a careful history. Some of the questions they may ask include:
- When did your symptoms begin?
- Is your hoarseness continuous or do you notice it on and off?
- Have you had any symptoms of a “head cold,” such as a runny nose, fever, or a cough, or have you had an illness such as tonsillitis or mononucleosis?
- Have you strained your voice in any way, for example by cheering for your favorite football team or singing too long or too loudly?
- Do you, or have you ever, smoked?
- Do you drink alcohol?
- Do you have allergies or eczema?
- What other medical conditions do you have?
- Have you experienced any heartburn, unexplained weight loss, persistent cough, coughing up blood, difficulty swallowing, shortness of breath, weakness in any part of your body or felt a lump in your neck?
- Do you or any family members have a history of thyroid problems? Have you experienced any weight gain, constipation, or fatigue?
- What medical conditions run in your family?
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Can Hay Fever Affect Your Voice
Allergies can target your sinuses, leaving you feeling stuffy and congested and giving you a headache whenever you try to perform. Sinus problems can massively affect the quality of your voice.;;
Sinusitis can also make it hard to sing. The infection is usually caused by bacteria or viruses and can irritate your vocal cords. You may feel too hoarse and stuffy to get on stage but singing can actually help sinusitis.;;
Humming exercises can help relieve congested sinuses and clear your voice. Many vocal coaches recommend humming phonation to heal your voice.;;;
You can then progress to trying a vocal warm-up to clear your airways. If your voice is hoarse and strained, dont push it too hard as this can cause more permanent damage.;;
What Is A Hoarse Voice A Symptom Of
If your voice is hoarse, your range and pitch will change. Your voice;will either;sound weak and raspy,;or;deep and harsh.;Hoarseness is the abnormal change of;your voice and can be caused by a range of things:;
- Stress and anxiety;
- Overuse of your voice;
In most cases, hoarseness is caused by some type of irritation or cough;and;is easily;remedied with voice rest. If you have a hoarse voice for 3 weeks or more, consult your doctor to check it over.;;;
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What Happens At The Doctors Office
While hoarseness typically isnt an emergency, it may be linked to some serious medical conditions.
Speak with your doctor if your hoarseness becomes a persistent issue, lasting more than one week for a child and 10 days for an adult.
A sudden inability to speak or put together coherent sentences may indicate a serious underlying medical condition.
Can Allergies Cause My Voice To Be Hoarse
Yes. Allergies can cause voice hoarseness. Over time, mucus from an allergic reaction to pollen and dust in the air can cause a buildup of mucus . This mucus may cause a runny nose or post nasal drip in which it drips onto the back of the throat, causing irritation and inflammation. Over time, this can cause a sore throat and a hoarse voice.
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Singing With Hay Fever
Fighting hay fever can feel like an endless battle especially if youre a singer and its impacting your voice. But hay fever doesnt have to stop you singing. You;can keep hoarse, congested tones at bay during allergy season with a few simple techniques:;
- Detox ;clean living can boost your whole bodys immunity, and help your system stay strong against allergens. Try drinking 8 glasses of water a day and a diet of whole foods and vegetables to give your;body;a fighting chance.;;
- Warmup ;preparing your vocal cords for singing is always important, but;its;especially;vital;when youre suffering from allergies. A good vocal warmup can help relax and prepare your vocal cords.;
- Steam ;set up your own steamer at home by filling a bowl with hot water, putting your face over it and covering your head with a towel. Inhale deeply for 5 10 minutes and youll feel your;nasal passages clear. You may feel silly,;but your voice will thank you!;
- Nasal cleansing ;if you rinse out your sinuses every day, you can stop congestion in your airways building up.;;
- Air purifiers ;filters can be a lifesaver if you suffer;from;pollen allergies. HEPA filters and other air purifiers will keep your home free from allergens and help you sleep at night.;
Why Is My Voice Constantly Hoarse
Chronic hoarse voice may be caused by chronic laryngitis defined as a hoarse voice and sore throat that lasts longer than three weeks. Chronic laryngitis can be caused by inhalation of chemical fumes , gastroesophageal reflux or causing some stomach acid to affect the vocal cords, chronic alcohol use, or post nasal drip from allergies.
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Baylor College Of Medicine Blog Network
Spring is here! Arent we so glad to be out of winter?
With seasonal changes, people often experience upper respiratory infections, allergies or a cold, which may result in voice changes that can last up to two weeks.
You may ask yourself, If I have a cold or allergy, how can this affect my voice?
The same allergies that affect your nose can affect your voice. The upper respiratory tract or sinus system is connected to your larynx by postnasal drip.
Postnasal drip is the collection of secretions that drip down the back of your nose.
These secretions can drip directly onto your vocal cords and cause irritation, pitch changes , altered vocal range , decreased resonance, throat pain, cough and increased risk of hemorrhage of vocal folds.
What can you do to protect your voice when colds, allergies or sinusitis arise? Try to:
Preventative care can make you healthy year round. If your voice has not improved two weeks after suffering a cold or allergy, you may want to consider a visit an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist.
When To Call Your Doctor
Its important to see your doctor if you are experiencing a hoarse voice that lasts beyond a few days. While most causes of hoarseness are benign and are due to transient causes such as a cold, it may also be a symptom of something more serious.
If your symptom persists, its important to make an appointment with your doctoreven if you think there’s a reasonable cause. Doctors vary on what they call “persistent.” In general, if your symptoms last more than two weeks, progressively worsen, or are associated with other symptoms, you should make an appointment.
If you notice the sudden loss of voice or have other concerning symptoms, such as weakness in a part of your body, visual changes, or lightheadedness, call your doctor or 911 immediately.
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If My Voice Is Hoarse When Should I See My Doctor
You should see your doctor if your voice has been hoarse for more than three weeks, especially if you haven’t had a cold or the flu. You should also see a doctor if you are coughing up blood or if you have difficulty swallowing, feel a lump in your neck, experience pain when speaking or swallowing, have difficulty breathing, or lose your voice completely for more than a few days.
Treating And Avoiding Long
Most of us dont really think about our voice as a tangible thing that requires care until we cant use it because of illness. When you get sick and lose your voice, you may think its just a normal part of being sick.
Hydration is huge for voice care because water helps thin the mucus that then lubricates the vocal cords as they vibrate. The vocal cords dry out quickly. And it takes a long time to rehydrate them. The best way to keep your hydration at an optimal level is by drinking plenty of water. Not tea, not coffee, not soda water. Drinks that contain caffeine may seem like theyre hydrating you, but theyre really drying you out more. Unfortunately, your decongestant cold medicine may contribute to dehydration of the vocal cords. Of course, we always stress the importance of nicotine cessation. Not only because of the cancers associated, but also the heat is damaging to the vocal cord tissues.
Over time, your vocal cords can develop abnormal growths, which are often considered a wear and tear injury from constant use and abuse of the voice. These lesions can continue to enlarge and make the voice worse and worse until surgical removal may be required.
Our team tries to keep people out of the operating room. But sometimes vocal cord surgery is necessary because of irreversible damage.
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