Laryngitis

Medical Author:
Medical Editor:

Laryngitis facts

  • Laryngitis is an inflammation of the voice box (larynx).
  • Causes of laryngitis include upper respiratory infection or cold; overuse of the voice box by talking, singing, or shouting; gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), reflux laryngitis; chronic irritation of the vocal cords; smoking; exposure to secondhand smoke; or exposure to polluted air.
  • Laryngitis is contagious only if it is caused by an infection.
  • The most common symptoms of laryngitis are hoarseness, loss of voice, and throat pain.
  • Symptoms of laryngitis in adults include dry, sore throat, pain with swallowing, and a feeling of fullness in the throat or neck. If the laryngitis is caused by an infection additional symptoms of fever, swollen lymph nodes, may be experienced.
  • Symptoms of laryngitis in infants in children include croup, hoarse barky cough, and fever.
  • Chronic laryngitis, in which the symptoms last for weeks may be caused by by gastroesophageal reflux disease, smoking, constant exposure to secondhand smoke, air pollution, or alcohol use.
  • Chronic inflammation due to laryngitis may cause the formation of nodules or polyps on the vocal cords.
  • Treatment of laryngitis is usually symptomatic with voice rest, humidified air, and certain home remedies for symptom relief.
  • If symptoms of laryngitis persist for more than three weeks or continue to recur, contact your health care professional for further evaluation.
  • Complications of laryngitis from GERD include pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, and vocal cord paralysis.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 10/31/2013

Patient Comments

Viewers share their comments

Laryngitis - Describe Your Experience Question: Please describe your experience with Laryngitis.
Laryngitis - Causes Question: What was the cause of your laryngitis? Have you ever lost your voice from talking too much or singing?
Laryngitis - Symptoms in Adults Question: What were your symptoms associated with laryngitis?
Laryngitis - Symptoms in Children Question: What were the symptoms associated with laryngitis in your baby or child?
Laryngitis - Treatment Question: What types of treatment, including medication, did you receive for your laryngitis?
Laryngitis - Home Remedies Question: Please share tips and home remedies for treating the hoarseness of laryngitis.

Reflux Laryngitis

Reflux is caused by weakness in the muscle at the junction of the esophagus with the stomach. Normally, this muscular valve, or sphincter, functions to keep food and stomach acid from moving upward from the stomach to the esophagus and larynx. This valve opens to allow food into the stomach and closes to keep the stomach's contents from coming back up. The backward movement of stomach contents (gastric contents) up into the esophagus is referred to as gastroesophageal reflux.

Stomach acid can cause irritation of the lining of the esophagus, larynx, and throat, which can lead to...