June 16, 2016

Laryngitis

The larynx (“voice box”) is the upper portion of the windpipe (trachea) located in the middle of the neck around the Adam’s apple. The larynx is where sound/voice is created by the vocal cords. The larynx is also responsible for controlling airflow in and out of the lungs while preventing food and liquids from entering the lungs. Laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx characterized by hoarseness, cough, difficulty in breathing and, sometimes a sore throat. Viral infections are more common than bacterial. Non-infectious causes that have similar symptoms include acid reflux, chronic post-nasal drip from sinus and allergy problems, vocal cord masses (nodules, cysts or polyps), or nerve injury to the vocal cords (vocal cord paralysis).

Laryngitis from viral infections usually resolves by itself within one to two weeks with the help of voice rest and staying well hydrated. Because there are many possible causes of hoarseness, persistent symptoms should prompt further evaluation with your doctor. Dr. King specializes in diseases of the larynx and has specialized equipment that can help determine the root cause.

This patient has hoarseness due to a viral infection around the vocal folds resulting in swelling and poor vibration.