What was the cause of your laryngitis? Have you ever lost your voice from talking too much or singing?
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What causes laryngitis?
Laryngitis is an inflammation of the vocal cords. Most commonly, acute laryngitis is
caused by an infection that inflames the vocal cords.
Laryngitis may also be caused by voice overuse with excess talking, singing,
Chronic laryngitis, often described as lasting for more than three weeks may
be caused by prolonged alcohol use,
constant exposure to secondhand smoke, exposure to polluted air, and
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) may cause
reflux laryngitis and
chronic cough, if acid and digestive juices from the
stomach reflux up into the esophagus and back of the throat. Sometimes people
are aware of the presence of the acid and experience waterbrash, a sour taste in their mouth. Repeat spills
of acid onto the vocal cords will cause a chemical irritation and result in
inflammation and swelling of the cords that hinders appropriate vibration and
generation of sound.
Chronic irritation of the vocal cords may also cause
polyps or nodules to form on the vocal cords, which may affect the ability of
the vocal cords to vibrate, which causes chronic
Stroke may also cause vocal cord muscle paralysis and lead to a weak, hoarse
voice and swallowing problems.
Damage to the muscles or to the nerves that
control them may lead to hoarseness. These nerves may be damaged if there has
been trauma to the neck or
if surgery has been performed and the nerves inadvertently irritated or severed.
Tumors in the neck and chest may compress the nerves and cause them to function
Thyroid inflammation and
enlargement can also cause irritation of nerves that supply the vocal cord
Not all individuals who have lost their voice have an infection. Not all
hoarseness is due to a primary inflammation of the vocal cords.
Diphtheria is rarely
a cause of laryngitis-like symptoms because most people in the United States
have been immunizxed and are
protected against this infection. However, with primary immunization
decreasing, and people failing to keep their immunizations up to date, there
exists a potential for new outbreaks. Recent outbreaks of diphtheria have
been documented in Russia and Thialand.