Laryngitis (inflammation of the throat) is usually caused by bacterial or viral infection of the throat which is located at the top of the trachea. Infection usually occurs after a cold or sore throat, and cause general inflammation and swelling of mucous membranes of the larynx with vocal cords. Since the opening of the larynx in young children is very narrow, swollen mucous membranes sometimes interferes with breathing, but such problems do not occur with laryngitis in adults. Sometimes, laryngitis is the result of irritation and inflammation of the larynx without infection – for example, cigarette smoke, alcohol or excessive use of voice.
The main symptom is hoarseness, which in the course of two to three days can lead to loss of voice; even speaking can be painful. There may be a fever or other symptoms similar to flu symptoms. Most patients heal after a few days, but laryngitis can sometimes become permanent, especially in patients who suffer from sinusitis or chronic bronchitis.
The main risk of seemingly obvious laryngitis is that it can be a symptom of the tumor. In rare cases, when the painful swallowing and ear pain are associated with hoarseness, it may be a tuberculosis.
What to do?
If it is obvious that you have laryngitis, but otherwise you are healthy, stay home, rest your voice, do not smoke and do not drink alcohol until inflammation and hoarseness go away It should take no longer than four to five days. If you are hoarse for more than a week, consult your doctor who will ask about your general health and examine your larynx to see if your throat is sore. If there are no signs of inflammation, it is probably not a laryngitis, but will require other diagnostic procedures, possibly in a hospital.
If it turns out that you suffer from chronic bronchitis, sinusitis, or tuberculosis, with a treatment of the underlying disease, laryngitis will cure, too. If it is necessary, your doctor may advise you to stop smoking, to drink moderately, and perhaps to change the workplace.