Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
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
- throat pain,
- pain when swallowing,
- runny nose,
- stuffy nose,
- nasal congestion,
- enlarged lymph nodes (swollen glands),
- a sensation of fullness in the throat,
- difficulty swallowing (dysphagia),
- regurgitation of food or stomach contents.
In the case of infection, the throat may appear reddened or there may be whitish deposits in the throat.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.
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Other Causes of Laryngitis
- Bacterial Infection
- Fungal Infection
- Nerve Damage (Vocal Cord Paralysis)
- Polyps of the Larynx
- Smoke or Irritant Inhalation
- Use of Inhaled Steroids
- Viral Infection
- Vocal Cord Nodules
- Voice Overuse
Examples of Medications for Laryngitis
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