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Laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx. The larynx, or voice box, is the structure between the pharynx and trachea that contains the vocal chords.
Causes of laryngitis include:
And more rarely:
Some of the most common symptoms of laryngitis are:
The signs and symptoms associated with laryngitis generally disappear on their own and do not require any specific treatment. However, if any of the following conditions occur, it is recommended that you see your doctor:
A simple physical examination is usually enough to diagnose laryngitis. However, patients with chronic hoarseness, especially smokers, should see an ear, nose and throat doctor (otorhinolaryngologist or ENT specialist). To rule out cancer, the specialist will conduct a throat examination called a laryngoscopy. This involves inserting a tiny mirror or flexible scope through the nose to take a closer look at the larynx.
Resting your voice will, first and foremost, help reduce inflammation. Avoid clearing your throat and whispering as this can increase the swelling. A humidifier may help alleviate the pain of a sore throat. It is also important to treat the underlying causes. Pain medication may be useful in helping relieve symptoms caused by an inflamed larynx. In some cases, corticosteroids can reduce swelling of the vocal chords. If the laryngitis is caused by a bacterial infection, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic.
To prevent irritating your larynx, drink plenty of water and avoid clearing your throat. Also, quitting smoking would be ideal. Frequent hand washing is recommended to avoid upper respiratory infections that could lead to laryngitis.
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The patient information leaflets are provided by Vigilance Santé Inc. This content is for information purposes only and does not in any manner whatsoever replace the opinion or advice of your health care professional. Always consult a health care professional before making a decision about your medication or treatment.