Types and Treatment of Laryngitis
Laryngitis causes a swelling of the vocal cords which can affect your audibility, performance of day-to-day functions and overall health. While sufferers may exhibit the same symptoms, not all cases of Laryngitis are the same. There are different types of Laryngitis. Its causes, origins and level of discomfort will determine the proper treatment method.
Types of Laryngitis
- Acute Laryngitis – Most cases of Laryngitis only create mild discomfort and can be treated at home. Common causes of Acute Laryngitis are:
- Viral infections similar to the ones that cause the common cold.
- Vocal strain; overusing your voice.
- Bacterial infections such as diphtheria.
Acute Laryngitis can clear itself within 1 week with proper treatment.
- Chronic Laryngitis – If your Laryngitis takes more than 1 week to heal, you may have Chronic Laryngitis. Untreated, this type of Laryngitis can cause strain, injuries or growths of polyps or nodules on the vocal cords. Among the probable causes are:
- Inhalation of irritants such as smoke, chemicals and allergens.
- Acid reflux.
- Chronic sinusitis.
- Excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages.
- Frequent shouting or yelling; cheerleaders, coaches and singers.
- Habitual smoking.
On a lesser scale, Chronic Laryngitis may be caused by:
- Bacterial infections
- Fungal infections
- Parasitic infections
If you have sexual contact with a partner that has genital warts and engage in oral sex, the warts could manifest in your throat and cause Laryngitis.
More severe cases of Chronic Laryngitis may lead to the following conditions:
- Vocal cord paralysis
- Progressive deterioration of the vocal cords
Treatment of Laryngitis
As mentioned Acute Laryngitis can clear up on its own assuming proper treatment is regularly undertaken.
In its initial stages, gargling an antiseptic mouthwash every 1 to 2 hours in combination with prolonged rest of the vocal cords should suffice.
However, if symptoms persist or if there is no improvement in the condition, you could have Chronic Laryngitis. The telltale sign is if your condition or health starts to worsen. Your first course of action is to see your doctor.
After reviewing your history or running a diagnosis, your doctor may prescribed either of the 2 remedies:
- Antibiotics – If the doctor’s tests indicates the possibility of a bacterial infection, he or she may prescribe antibiotic medication. However, if the finding show source of Laryngitis is viral, an antibiotic will not work.
- Corticosteroids – A doctor may recommend corticosteroids if the swelling of the vocal cords is progressive and is causing great discomfort. A corticosteroid is used to bring down swelling. Doctors also prescribe corticosteroids if there is an urgent need to reduce the swelling. For example, if you are a singer or public speaker.
Healthful Tips and Home Remedies for the Treatment of Laryngitis
You can prevent Laryngitis before it happens simply by following these simple tips and home remedies in case you are already at risk:
- Maintain Moist Air Environment – Use a humidifier to keep air throughout your rooms moist. You should also use warm water when taking showers.
- Rest Your Voice – Even if your job requires you to talk or speak frequently, take some time to rest your vocal cords. Also, speak in modulated tones and avoid raising your voice whenever possible. If available, use a megaphone or microphone when addressing large crowds.
- Stay Hydrated – Whenever you feel your throat has gone dry, drink water. Minimize your intake of coffee and alcohol as these types of beverages can cause dehydration.
- Keep Your Throat Moist – Another trick is to use throat lozenges when speaking for extended periods of time. Some lozenges contain anti-bacterial substances which will protect your vocal cords from germ growth.
- Take Apple Cider Vinegar – Apple Cider Vinegar has many health benefits. It contains acetic acid which eliminates germs in your throat and contains anti-bacterial compounds. Gargle 1 teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar with warm water every 1 to 2 hours.
- Drink Ginger Tea – Ginger tea can soothe and cool agitated vocal cords.
- Minimize Use of Decongestants – These can actually dry out your throat.
- Avoid Whispering – Believe it or not, whispering causes greater strain on the vocal cords than talking!
Laryngitis can affect each and every one of us. But by carefully managing our lifestyle and setting the right conditions at home at work, we can successfully minimize the risk of acquiring it.