Did You Wake Up with a Hoarse Voice?
Have you ever opened your mouth to say something and nothing but a painful whisper rasped its way out? Talking and swallowing are two things everyone takes for granted—unless you suddenly sound like you’ve swallowed a bucket of gravel. Those symptoms are often followed by a sore throat and swallowing problems, which can make it hard to enjoy your pizza. If you feel any of these symptoms, don’t just suffer in silence; call ENT Specialists of Alaska.
Problems with Voice and Swallowing: Symptoms and Possible Causes
Voice and swallowing difficulties often stem from problems within the larynx or “voice box” in your throat. The larynx organ includes your vocal cords, which produce sounds as they vibrate when air passes over them. It also acts as a valve that prevents you from aspirating food. It’s also situated right under the thyroid gland. With so much going on every day in and around the larynx, stuff can happen.
How Do You Heal Laryngitis?
Laryngitis is inflammation in your larynx; this can happen for any number of reasons. An inflamed larynx can, indeed, make you lose your voice, or at least give you a raspy and weak voice. The most common irritants that cause laryngitis’ pain and hoarseness include bacterial infections and viruses. While antibiotics can knock out bacterial infections, they are helpless against viruses. Your ENT can suggest ways to get through the virus and make it easier on your throat. Allergies, smoking, and exposure to noxious fumes can also cause laryngitis and the hoarseness associated with it. Beating laryngitis symptoms requires finding and treating the source of the problem.
What Causes a Burning Sensation in Your Throat or Esophagus?
Burning sensations in the throat are most commonly associated with Laryngo-Pharyngeal Reflux Disease (LPRD). In LPRD, acid reflux issues don’t stop in the esophagus (Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease or GERD); the acid actually works its way up into your voice box and causes burning and inflammation. It can also feel like you have a lump or excess phlegm in your throat, neither of which are comfortable.
What Causes Food to Get Stuck in Your Throat?
If food often gets stuck in your throat, there are several things you can do. Chew food thoroughly, swallow mindfully, and drink plenty of liquids. If it feels like food is stuck, but it isn’t actually food, this feeling is called “dysphagia.” The feeling is usually lower down, centered in your esophagus, where the food travels down to your stomach. If you have this feeling, it may also be accompanied by heartburn sensations, a feeling of pressure and pain in the center of your chest, as well as difficulty swallowing. Children and infants with cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy often have this symptom, while in adults this can point towards anything from GERD to a stroke or tumors (benign or otherwise). If you have this feeling, it’s important to see your ENT for an official diagnosis as soon as possible.
I Have a Lump or Ball in the Throat–What’s That?
If you feel a persistent lump in your throat, there could be several causes, so it is important to have it checked by an ENT. Acid reflux can irritate the vocal cords, making them swell so that you feel a lump in your throat. If you have allergies or a cold that causes post-nasal drip (where excess mucus from your sinuses and nasal passages goes down the back of your throat), this can also cause a lump-in-the-throat sensation. Persistent lumps or swelling can also be due to an enlarged thyroid or a tumor.
How Do You Cure Voice Fatigue?
This condition is the bane of singers and people who speak a lot in their vocations such as teachers, actors, customer service representatives, restaurant workers, and salespeople. The vocal cords are actually quite sensitive and overuse and misuse can strain them to the point of injury, leading to hoarseness, a weak, raspy voice, or pain when trying to talk or sing.
What Causes Constant Coughing and Throat Clearing?
Clearing your throat and coughing can cause strain and damage to the voice box, but they are not always avoidable, particularly when chronic allergies, colds, bacterial infections, and other irritations take them to reflex status. If you have allergies or chronic infections, you should come see us.
Treatments for Voice and Swallowing Problems
Because there are so many possible causes behind the voice and swallowing problems listed above, it is important to visit ENT Specialists of Alaska for a proper diagnosis. While self-care can be helpful, just treating to alleviate the symptoms temporarily will not be able to resolve the underlying problem if there is a chronic or serious illness underway. Generally speaking, if your symptoms of hoarseness, a lump in the throat, voice weakness, difficulty swallowing, or sore throat do not resolve within a week, give us a call.
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