Laryngitis: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Laryngitis is inflammation of the voice box, or larynx, resulting in voice changes such as hoarseness or loss of the voice completely in some cases. It is most commonly due to an infection such as the common cold or flu and typically follows a period of experiencing a cough or sore throat. However, laryngitis can also develop in response to chronic irritation of the larynx. For example, some conditions like gastroesophageal reflux (GERD), some cancers, chronic tonsillitis, and other conditions can lead to inflammation. Voice overuse and irritants like cigarette smoke can also lead to irritation of the voice box and laryngitis.

Other symptoms that might be present, depending on the cause of the laryngitis, include

In the case of infection, the throat may appear reddened or there may be whitish deposits in the throat.

REFERENCE:

Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/21/2016

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