Hoarse Voice – Causes, Symptoms, Complications and Treatment

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Meaning of Hoarse voice

As the name suggests, hoarse voice, also known as laryngitis, makes for an anomalous alteration of voice resulting form vocal cords disorder.

How does Hoarse Voice occur?

Normally, vocal cords in the larynx will be open, coming together to make sounds when you are speaking. When you are speaking the closed vocal cords vibrate as air comes from the lungs. This vibration is actually what brings about sound to your voice. Hoarse voice therefore comes about when the folds of the vocal cords have obstructions, swellings, mucus or other alterations in the larynx’s surface hindering their vibrations.

Is Hoarse Voice a fatal condition?

Hoarse voice is clearly not a fatal case. It is only a change in voice quality which could be characterized by gravelling, strained or raspy sounds. In addition, the volume can change in which case the individual produces breathy, weak, croaking, soft, loud or fading sounds. The pitch also changes with the patient producing lower or higher pitches subject to the cause of the condition. Sometimes however, the patient may exhibit a blend of all the features.

What are the Causes of hoarse Voice?

As you would acknowledge, the variations in the voice of the patient will be dependent on the causes especially as pertaining to changes relating to the pitch of the voice. There are a wide range of hoarse voice causes some of which relate to habit and others are as pertaining to predisposing factors like diseases and infections. The specific causes of the hoarse voice also determine the severity of the disease.

Habitual hoarse voice causes

Habitual causes are actually the commonest causes of the hoarse voice. These include using the voice excessively through prolonged shouting or talking and smoking or use of marijuana and tobacco. In addition, there is the use of unnatural or unsuitable pitch when one is speaking would result to vocal.

Other habitual causes relate to chemical exposure especially household cleaners and even pollutants. Arduous vocal use would also result in vocal hemorrhage thus resulting in hoarse voice.

Hoarse Voice due to disorders relating to the respiratory system

There are several disorders in the respiratory system that would cause hoarse voice. These include lesions in the vocal cords, influenza and even allergies. Other causes of hoarse voice relate to laryngitis which is an inflammatory disorder as well as viral infection in the respiratory system like common cold.

Illnesses as causes of Hoarse Voice

Hoarse voice can have its cause traced to other ailments like strep throat, common cold and even mononucleosis. It is quite normal to have sore throat and hoarse voice in case if a person is suffering from common cold.  These can actually be termed as normal and very common illnesses. However, there are times when the disorder would be pointing at health problems that are more serious and therefore requiring immediate medical attention. These include serious ailments like cancer of the throat, Parkinson’s disease, lung cancer as well as multiple sclerosis. This therefore underlines the importance of seeking immediate medical attention once you have this disorder so that the severity and seriousness can be determined and sorted out quickly.

Serious causes of Hoarse Voice

You would note that hoarse voice can either be a symptom or a result of various other conditions. Causes however vary in the degree of seriousness. There are causes that would be bordering on the fatal and therefore necessitating emergency medical attention. For example, in cases where the tissue flap located between the windpipe and the tongue swells or becomes inflamed. You definitely would be looking at a situation where you have problems with breathing too which is actually a grave condition. Other conditions include serious hemorrhage as well as laryngeal cancer.

Other predisposing causes of Hoarse Voice

These pertain to certain disorders and functions of the body that would result in contracting hoarse voice. They include tumor of the thyroid glands, vocal cords paralysis and even goiter. As you would acknowledge, the severity of these conditions differ. In addition to these, cases where the muscles of the vocal cords move involuntarily, a condition known as spasmodic dysphonia can also result in hoarse voice.

Hoarse Voice in babies

Baby hoarse voice can be congenital caused by deformity in the voice box or problems with nerves.

Hoarse Voice in children

Hoarse voice in children need to be considered seriously of the problem persists for more than three months. If the child has had hoarse voice from the time he/she started speaking and if  there is no improvement in the conditions, medical treatment for hoarse voice need to be considered.

What are the symptoms of Hoarse Voice?

The severity of the symptoms of hoarse voice will be directly related with the underlying causes of hoarse voice. There are various symptoms that would be testament to other more serious conditions for example cancer, lung disease etc. Many are the times when the symptoms adhering to the respiratory system will be involving other parts of the body.

Hoarse voice also comes along other symptoms adhering to the respiratory system. These include sore throats, nasal congestion, difficulty in swallowing, coughs as well as bad breath. In addition, the patient will often want to clear their throats as they feel like there is a lump on their throats. Their throats or tonsils would also be covered with white patches or pus.

Disorders in other systems of the body may also be accompanied by hoarse voice. These include fever, tremors, unexplained loss of weight, neck lumps, heartburns, earache as well as tremors. In addition, the patient may be experiencing impaired coordination and balance as well as enlarging of the lymph nodes.

As much as hoarse voice may not be a fatal condition in itself, some of its symptoms may be an indication of an even more serious condition. These include tremors, unexplained loss of weight as well as impaired breathing. Impaired breathing is mainly caused by the inflammation of the tissues flap lying between the windpipe and the tongue. The patient may also feel as if they have a lump on their throats and even have their throats covered with white patches or pus, conditions that are very serious and requiring immediate medical attention.

Diagnosis of hoarse Voice

In most cases, the medical practitioner will conduct a physical examination of the condition. In other cases, the medical practitioner will carry out an anamnesis, an examination that takes quite some time sometimes going for as long as three weeks. This incorporates a state where the throat comes along with severe pain in times of swallowing food or beverages as well as high fever.

In carrying out a diagnosis the medical practitioner will ask questions pertaining to the symptoms that the patient may be exhibiting as well as some relating to causes like smoking, consuming excessive amounts of alcohol as well as exposure to pollutants and other chemicals. The practitioner will also ask questions pertaining to difficulties in the breathing, swallowing, pain in the throat etc. they will also ask questions on any medications that one may have taken. All these are aimed at diagnosing the severity of the disease as well as whether there are underlying causes, infections or illnesses.

Treatment of Hoarse Voice

Hoarse voice may be a result or a symptom of underlying infections. Nevertheless, it is important that a patient with this condition undertakes to seek medical attention having in mind that hoarse voice can be an indication of even more serious disorders like cancer of the throat.

It would be important to note that hoarse voice treatment will be dependent on the underlying causes as well as the severity of the condition. In case of infections that are not severe, the patient could just take warm water which would restore the functioning of the vocal cords. Giving your cords a rest would also be important incase of excessive use of the same.

There are also instances where the condition would be healed by having dietary as well as nutritional supplements. These include herbs like barberry, German Chamomile, Echinacea, eucalyptus, slippery elm and peppermint. All these soothe the sore throat. Licorice may also be used to provide a relief to respiratory ailments like allergies, sore throats, bronchitis and colds. However, care should be taken while using this especially for pregnant women, people with heart or liver conditions or with obesity.

Medications in modern hospitals could also include inhaling of steroids which take care of allergies that may be causing the hoarse voice. Antihistamines would also be used in such scenarios. In cases of bacterial infection, antibiotics could be used.

There are times when the seriousness of the underlying infections will necessitate medical operations and hoarse voice thyroid surgery especially when it involves cancer of thyroid glands. Treatment would however dictate doing away with the underlying causes like smoking and taking of excessive amounts of alcohol.

Home remedies for Hoarse Voice

Fresh tulsi leaves juice along with a teaspoonful of honey 4 times daily is one of the best hoarse voice remedy. You could also take warm mild blended with sugar and black pepper two times a day. A solution of Akkarakara powder in warm water would also increase the saliva secretion thus preventing dryness of the throat. Only 600 mg of this should be taken two times a day.However that there is need for proper diagnosis before flowing any hoarse voice remedy.

Are there potential complications of Hoarse Voice?

If treatment for hoarse voice is not taken on time, the vocal folds would become thickened and develop hard skin on their surface due to overuse of the larynx glands. Other hoarse voice complications would include the broadening of the infections and cancer as well as permanent loss of the voice. This therefore underlines the importance of treatment of hoarse voice in the earliest time possible so that hoarse voice can be arrested in time.

Reference:

http://www.ohniww.org/ent-specialist-library/video-library/throat-problems-hoarse-voice-sore-throat-causes-ent-specialists/

http://www.pacific-ent.com/voice-hoarseness-ent-specialist-orange-county-san-diego-ca.htm#hoarseness

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