People that encounter problems with their voice are most likely suffering from a form of Dysphonia. The term itself highlights the Latin meaning of voice disorder. This condition causes the patient’s voice to become rough, harsh, hoarse or very breathy. The sufferers often get a dry throat and experience difficulty in speaking.
There are various reasons for the inset of dysphonia divided in organic and functional causes. In both cases the problem is accentuated while the sufferer needs to spell out vowels, because vocal folds aren’t able to resonate normally during exhaling.
Organic causes include an acute viral infection that causes laryngitis or a chronic affection caused by long time smoking. Nodules on the vocal cords are also a frequent cause of dysphonia, the good news is though that in the majority of cases, their origin is benign. Trauma to the larynx caused by surgery, intubation and even very hot drinks also lead to voice disorders. Endocrine problems generated by a thyroid gland acting hypo also cause dysphonia.
Functional causes are topped by misuse of the voice, which consists in frequent and exaggerated screaming and any other similar abuse. A patients voice can also change or suddenly vanish overnight because of stress and other psychological factors. Dysphonia is cured in this cases with relaxation and the removal of stress factors.
Dysphonia can also occur as a symptom of multiple sclerosis, when vocal cords become rigid.
Treatments for dysphonia depend on the factors that cause the problem. However, approach should always start with conservative solutions that include the removal of all harmful outside factors like: heavy smoking, strong drinks and stress. Complete voice rest for a few days is also included in the package. If this fails treatment continues with:
– In case of viral infections, acute laryngitis is treated with paracetamol and gargles with saline fluids. If patient also has a runny nose, nasal sprays are used to prevent secretions from reaching the throat.
– If dysphonia is caused by hearburn (acid secretions from the stomach), you can read here for remedies.
– Speech therapy is recommended in cases of voice misuse and even for benign nodules on the vocal cord. However, progress is very slow and a lot of patience is needed.
– Surgery is performed for nodule biopsies and for tumor removal if cancerous tissue is detected. Surgical removal of benign tumors is usually considered as the last option, when noninvasive treatments fail.