Laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx, the voice box that contains the vocal cords. This inflammation results in changes to the voice, often making it sound hoarse, weak, or causing loss of voice. The common causes of laryngitis include viral infections, vocal strain, or bacterial infections. The issue often resolves itself within a week or two, but may require medical attention if it persists longer. Symptoms can include a sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and a dry cough. Treatment generally involves rest, voice care to prevent further strain, and potentially medication if it is caused by a bacterial infection.


Causes of Laryngitis

Laryngitis, an inflammation of the larynx, may be caused by several factors:

1. Viral Infections: The most common cause of laryngitis is a viral infection, similar to the ones that cause a common cold or the flu.

2. Vocal Strain: Overuse or misuse of the voice can lead to laryngitis. Shouting, singing loudly, or talking for a long period without rest can put much strain on your voice causing inflammation.

3. Bacterial Infections: While less common than viral infections, bacteria can also infect the larynx and cause inflammation.

4. Fungal infections: Although quite rare, certain fungal infections can also cause laryngitis. This type of laryngitis is more common in individuals with weakened immune system.

5. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): GERD involves stomach acid regularly flowing back into the tube connecting your mouth and stomach (esophagus). This acid can irritate the throat and may lead to laryngitis.

6. Inhaled irritants: Substances like alcohol, smoking, chemicals, and excessive amounts of dust can irritate the larynx and lead to laryngitis.

7. Chronic sinusitis: Chronic inflammation in the sinuses can drip down and irritate the throat, causing laryngitis.

Please consult with a healthcare provider if you suspect that you have laryngitis, especially if it’s chronic or causing significant discomfort, so they can come up with correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Risk Factors of Laryngitis

Laryngitis is the inflammation of your voice box (larynx) from overuse, irritation or infection. The risk factors for laryngitis include:

1. Overuse of Voice: People who use their voices excessively or improperly such as singers or teachers, are at higher risk of laryngitis. Yelling or speaking for a long period can strain or injure the vocal cords, leading to laryngitis.

2. Exposure to Irritating Substances: People who are exposed to chemical fumes, smoke, and dust can develop laryngitis.

3. Smoking and Alcohol: Both can dry out your throat and irritate your voice box, increasing your risk of laryngitis. Alcohol can also cause acid reflux which irritates the larynx.

4. Respiratory Infection: People with upper respiratory infections like a cold or the flu, are more likely to develop laryngitis.

5. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): In this condition, stomach acid regularly backs up into the throat and irritates the larynx, often causing chronic laryngitis.

6. Allergies: Allergic reactions can cause your body to produce excess mucus and cause inflammation, which can lead to laryngitis.

7. Weak Immune System: People with weakened immune systems may be more likely to develop laryngitis from a viral infection.

8. Age: Young children and older adults are potentially more at risk due to a more vulnerable immune system.

Remember that risk factors increase the chances of getting a disease but do not guarantee its onset; people without any risk factors also can get laryngitis.

Signs and Symptoms of Laryngitis

Laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx, or “voice box,” that commonly occurs due to overuse, irritation, or infection. Here are some common signs and symptoms associated with laryngitis:

1. Hoarseness or raspiness: The most common symptom is a change in your voice. You may find your voice has become croaky, raspy or there’s less power when you speak or sing.

2. Loss of Voice: In severe cases, you might even lose your voice entirely.

3. Throat Pain or Discomfort: One could feel a constant need to clear their throat or feel a lump in the throat, also known as globus sensation.

4. Dry Throat: Your throat might feel dry or itchy.

5. Sore Throat: There could be pain or discomfort in your throat, which might be worse when you swallow.

6. Coughing: You might experience a dry, tickly or chesty cough.

7. Difficulty swallowing

8. Feeling Tired or Unwell: You might feel completely fine, but in some cases, people feel generally unwell or tired.

9. Mild Fever: Sometimes, laryngitis could be accompanied by fever, which suggests that the cause of laryngitis could be an infection.

10. Swollen glands in the throat, chest, or face.

If these symptoms persist for more than 2 weeks (chronic laryngitis) it is important to seek medical advice, as it could be a symptom of a greater underlying condition.

Diagnosis Laryngitis

Laryngitis is an inflammation or infection of the larynx, also known as your voice box, located in your throat. It typically causes hoarseness or voice loss, but can also cause a sore throat, cough, difficulty swallowing, and in some severe cases, difficulty breathing.

Laryngitis can be acute or chronic. Acute laryngitis usually occurs as a result of a viral infection or overuse of the voice and is generally temporary, lasting less than three weeks. Chronic laryngitis lasts more than three weeks, and its causes can range from prolonged exposure to irritants such as smoke or alcohol to more serious conditions like infections, acid reflux, injuries, or certain diseases.

Diagnosis of laryngitis often involves a physical examination where the medical professional checks for inflammation in the throat or larynx and may also listen to the patient’s voice. In some cases, a laryngoscopy might be performed, which involves using a small mirror or camera to look at the larynx directly. Other tests that can help diagnose laryngitis include voice tests or a biopsy if there is a concern about a mass or tumor.

Treatment of Laryngitis

Laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx, often due to overuse, irritation, or infection. Treatment depends on the cause of the laryngitis, but some common remedies include:

1. Resting Your Voice: This is one of the most effective and immediate treatments. By halting speaking or reducing the amount you talk, you allow the larynx to rest and heal.

2. Hydration: Drinking plenty of fluids, particularly warm ones like herbal tea or hot water with honey, can soothe an irritated or inflamed larynx.

3. Humidifying the Air: Using a humidifier or taking a hot shower can provide relief by moisturizing the throat.

4. Avoiding Dehydrating Substances: Alcohol and caffeine should be avoided as they can dehydrate the body and exacerbate laryngitis.

5. Over-the-Counter Medications: In some cases, over-the-counter pain reliefs or anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce discomfort and swelling.

6. Antibiotics or Antifungal Medication: If a bacterial or fungal infection is causing the laryngitis, a physician will likely prescribe an appropriate medication.

It’s important to seek medical attention if laryngitis continues for more than two weeks, the symptoms are severe, or if you’re having difficulty breathing.

In chronic cases, or where there are other underlying conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), additional treatments may be necessary. Always get in touch with your healthcare provider for advice tailored to your specific condition.

Medications commonly used for Laryngitis

Laryngitis is usually a result of an infection or a misuse of the voice, and in many cases, it’s temporary and doesn’t require medication. Depending on the root cause of laryngitis, different medications may be suggested or prescribed:

1. Antibiotics: These are not commonly used unless laryngitis is a result of bacterial infection. Antibiotics won’t help if laryngitis is caused by a viral infection or vocal cord misuse.

2. Corticosteroids: If severe symptoms of laryngitis are caused by vocal cord inflammation, a doctor might recommend corticosteroids, which can help reduce the inflammation.

3. Acid Reflux Medication: Sometimes, chronic laryngitis can be caused by GERD – gastroesophageal reflux disease. In such cases, medications for managing acid reflux might be prescribed, including H2 blockers, proton pump inhibitors, or antacids.

4. Pain Relievers: OTC (over-the-counter) pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen could be used for pain relief if the person is also experiencing throat discomfort.

5. Decongestants or Antihistamines: If laryngitis is caused by a common cold, flu, or allergy, medicines like decongestants or antihistamines may help manage the symptoms.

In many cases, home remedies such as rest, hydration, and use of a humidifier can help alleviate the symptoms of laryngitis. However, if symptoms persist, medical attention should be sought. Always take medication as advised by a healthcare professional.

Prevention of Laryngitis

Preventing laryngitis largely involves taking care of your voice and overall health. Here are some strategies:

1. Stay Hydrated: This is essential in maintaining a healthy voice. Water helps to keep your vocal cords moist and reduces the risk of dryness which could strain your voice.

2. Limit Alcohol and Caffeine: These substances can dehydrate your voice, creating a breeding ground for laryngitis.

3. Avoid Clearing Your Throat: This can annoy the throat and further inflame the vocal cords.

4. Quit Smoking: Smoking can irritate the throat and increase the risk of laryngitis, as well as more serious conditions like throat cancer.


5. Practice good hygiene: Washing your hands regularly, especially during the cold and flu season, can protect your throat from viral infections which can lead to laryngitis.

6. Don’t Overuse Your Voice: Avoid activities that can strain or damage your vocal cords, like shouting or talking loudly for a long period.

7. Rest Your Voice: If you’re experiencing symptoms of laryngitis, give your voice a break. This will allow for faster recovery.

8. Drink Warm Liquids: Hot tea or lemon water can help soothe an inflamed throat and provide temporary relief.

9. Moisturize Your Throat: If you are in a dry environment, use a humidifier to add moisture and prevent throat dryness and irritation.

10. Eat healthy: Good nutrition helps to maintain a strong immune system to fight off infections.

Please consult with your healthcare professional if you suspect you have laryngitis as these are general guidelines and treatment may vary based on individual needs and medical conditions.

FAQ’s about Laryngitis

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Laryngitis and their answers:

1. What is laryngitis?
Laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx, or voice box, which result in voice changes such as hoarseness or even loss of voice.

2. What are the symptoms of laryngitis?
The primary symptoms include hoarseness or voice loss, throat pain, cough, difficulty swallowing, and in severe cases, difficulty breathing. Other possible symptoms can include a sore throat, dry cough, and a constant urge to clear your throat.

3. What are the causes of laryngitis?
There are multiple causes for laryngitis including viral infections, vocal strain, bacterial infections, exposure to irritants such as smoke, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

4. Can laryngitis be prevented?
Eliminating exposure to irritants such as cigarette smoke, moderating use of the voice to prevent vocal strain, and maintaining general good health to avoid infections can help prevent laryngitis.

5. How is laryngitis treated?
Most cases of laryngitis are temporary and improve with rest to the voice, drinking plenty of fluids, humidifying the air, and avoiding irritants. If these measures do not improve symptoms or if symptoms last more than a few weeks, medical attention should be sought as prescription medications may be necessary.

6. Can laryngitis be serious?
In some cases, persistent laryngitis may indicate a serious underlying medical condition, such as laryngeal cancer. It’s important to seek medical attention if your symptoms don’t improve after two weeks, or sooner if you have difficulty breathing.

7. Is laryngitis contagious?
If the laryngitis is caused by a virus or bacterial infection, it can be spread to others similarly to a common cold or flu. However, if it’s due to vocal strain or an irritant, it is not contagious.

Please note, if you suspect you have laryngitis and are having difficulty breathing or your symptoms are severe, seek immediate medical attention.

Useful links

Laryngitis is an inflammation of your voice box (larynx) from overuse, irritation or infection. The voice box houses your vocal cords. Laryngitis can be short-term or long-lasting (chronic). Most cases of laryngitis are triggered by a temporary viral infection or environmental factors.

Below are some useful links from reputable journals and medical resources that provide more detailed information about Laryngitis:


Remember to consult your healthcare provider for personalized medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Complications of Laryngitis

Laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx, or voice box, that causes your voice to become raspy or hoarse. It is often caused by a temporary viral infection or vocal strain and is not serious. But long-lasting or chronic laryngitis can be due to factors such as acid reflux, smoking, alcohol use or constant exposure to irritating substances.

Here are some complications that Laryngitis can cause:

1. Chronic Laryngitis: In cases where laryngitis lasts longer than three weeks, it is considered chronic. This type of laryngitis causes persistent hoarseness and may permanently damage the vocal cords over time.

2. Vocal Cord Lesions: Constant inflammation of the vocal cords due to chronic laryngitis can lead to the development of polyps, nodules or cysts on the vocal cords.

3. Laryngeal Stenosis: This is a rare but serious condition where the inflammation causes scar tissue to build up in the larynx, narrowing the airway and causing long-term or even life-threatening respiratory issues.

4. Voice Changes: Chronic laryngitis can cause long-term changes to your voice, such as making it sound hoarse, breathy, or weak.

5. Difficulty swallowing: Severe laryngitis can cause dysphagia, which is difficulty or discomfort in swallowing.

6. Spread of infection: If laryngitis is caused by a bacterial infection and not treated properly, it has the potential to spread and cause other infections like pneumonia or bronchitis.

Remember, if you have symptoms of laryngitis that last more than two weeks, it’s important to consult a healthcare professional. Treatment can help prevent some of these complications.

Home remedies of Laryngitis

Laryngitis often resolves itself on its own, but in the meantime, there are a few home remedies you can try to relieve symptoms:

1. Rest Your Voice: The best thing you can do for laryngitis is to give your voice a break. A period of voice rest can help your larynx recover.

2. Hydrate: Drink plenty of water and use a humidifier at home. Keeping the throat moist will soothe the inflamed larynx.

3. Avoid Dehydrating substances: Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which can dehydrate you and make the inflammation worse.

4. Use Honey: Honey is often used to ease sore throats; it may help with laryngitis too. It can be used alone or mixed with warm water or tea.

5. Gargle Warm Salt Water: This can help soothe a sore and itchy throat and reduce inflammation.

6. Avoid Smoking: Smoking can irritate your throat and worsen laryngitis.

7. Use Lozenges: Throat lozenges or hard candies can help keep your throat moist, easing your discomfort.

Remember, these remedies might alleviate the symptoms for a while but if your symptoms persist for more than two weeks, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional to identify if there are any underlying causes that need medical intervention.

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Last Update: January 8, 2024