What are the most frequent causes of hoarseness
As mentioned, although the voice is an extremely complex function, it can be traced back mainly to alterations, inflammation and pathology affecting the larynx .
As we will see, it is often a transient inflammatory phenomenon, mostly linked to infections typical of the cold seasons, but sometimes it represents a sign of a more serious clinical condition.
This is an inflammatory process affecting the laryngeal mucosa, usually due to a viral or bacterial infection. It is mostly linked to infections typical of cold seasons, therefore it is associated with colds, sore throats and red throats as well aslowering of the voice ( hoarseness ).
But why hoarseness occurs
In the event of inflammation, a condition of edema occurs in the vocal cords, the vibration of which will therefore be limited or altered.
The state of inflammation of the laryngeal mucosa can also be linked to gastroesophageal reflux , a condition in which gastric acids rise, which have a damaging effect on the mucosa. The rise of gastric juices is promoted by some inflammatory pathologies, by very abundant meals or by the intake of foods such as chocolate, foods rich in fats, alcohol or even assuming a lying position after meals.
In the event that the inflammation of the laryngeal mucosa is caused by reflux, a typical symptom is felt which is the so-called “pharyngeal globe”, ie the sensation of having a foreign body in the throat, which can sometimes be associated with a chronic cough due to rising of gastric acids up to the respiratory tract, and hyperemia (ie redness) of the laryngeal mucosa.
In any case, the most relevant symptom of laryngitis is the lowering of the voice , therefore dysphonia which is associated with dryness of the mucosa, cough and sputum.
In this case the lesions that cause the disorder are established and act in the long term. The most predisposing factors to chronic mucosal lesions are mostly of an irritating nature such as smoking, alcohol, gastroesophageal reflux protracted over time and again, having to speak loudly for several hours a day for work-related reasons. or personal hobbies (singing, dubbing, teaching, acting, working in noisy environments).
Vocal cord hypotonia
This can frequently be an occupational disease, therefore linked to those categories of workers who have to speak loudly for many hours a day. These are mostly teachers, call center workers, singers or voice actors.
The effort made by the vocal cordsit leads to a progressive lowering of the voice which is also associated with a fatigue of the neck muscles and in the long term can be a promoting factor for the formation of laryngeal nodules.
Nodules of the vocal cords
These are thickenings of the mucous membrane that lines the vocal cords that create an impediment to the approach of the cords, a phenomenon that causes alterations to the normal vibration and therefore hoarseness . As we have seen among the triggering causes there is the prolonged use of the voice for several hours during the day, so it can be considered as a professional pathology.
The nodule of the vocal cordsit can regress if the cause that triggered it is missing or diminishes with time, but sometimes, depending on the position and size, surgery is required to remove it.
Polyp of the vocal cords
Polyps constitute a degeneration of the nodules, and unlike them, they do not regress by themselves when the stimulus that caused them disappears. However, it is necessary to clarify that the polyp is not a lesion that runs the risk of turning into a tumor. The removal takes place only through surgery and the voice will remain irremediably altered.
Paralysis of the vocal cords
These are paralysis affecting the vagus nerve, which is responsible for the innervation of the larynx. They can be unilateral or bilateral, causing in any case an alteration of the movement of the vocal cords and therefore an alteration in the quality of the voice which can sound hoarse. In some cases the subject is unable to produce any sound ( aphonia ).
Cancer of the larynx
The risk factors are quite well known: smoking and alcohol, but to these are added also the exposure to harmful substances such as asbestos. Tumors of the larynx are the most common of all those of otolaryngological interest, and it is good to say that very often they are preceded by the formation of precancerous lesions, in which thickening of the mucosa and consequent keratinization occurs.
The presence of lesions to the larynx is not necessarily an indication of danger to life or death, in fact in many cases these are benign manifestations that can be successfully treated if taken in the early stages.
What are the most common lesions
One is leukoplakia, the most common, which has a whitish color and a hard-elastic consistency. It causes dysphonia, therefore alteration of the quality of the voice. The other condition, to be taken in more serious consideration than the previous one, is erythroplakia, a bright red lesion, often bleeding, which has a high probability of transforming into a malignant sense and therefore into a tumor.
Let’s now go into how the doctor makes the diagnosis and what are the most common remedies to get the voice back. Let’s turn the page to read more.