Laryngitis is inflammation of the larynx and voice box. It causes hoarseness and, in some cases, voice loss. It can be acute or chronic but is usually the result of a temporary viral infection or vocal strain. Laryngitis that lasts longer than two weeks could signify a serious condition—you should seek prompt care from a doctor.
What Causes Laryngitis?
Causes include colds and viral infections, allergies, misuse of the voice, bacterial infections, acid reflux, sinus infections, vocal cord lesions and smoking.
What Are the Symptoms of Laryngitis?
Your voice can take on a raspy or breathy quality, which may be more profound than usual and can break or crack. Some people lose their voice altogether. In addition to hoarseness, you may experience a dry or sore throat, coughing and difficulty swallowing.
How Is Laryngitis Treated?
Treatment for laryngitis depends on what is causing your symptoms. To find this out, your ENT doctor may do a thorough head and neck exam that will likely include a flexible laryngoscopy.
Treatment may include voice rest (minimizing speaking) and improved hydration. You should also drink plenty of fluids and avoid alcohol, caffeine and smoking. A warm saltwater gargle several times a day can help relieve discomfort.