Chronic Laryngitis

What is chronic laryngitis?

Chronic laryngitis is an inflammatory condition affecting the larynx (voice box) which persists more than three weeks. It may have infectious or non-infectious causes. It can affect people of every age and gender but is more common in men of middle age. It mainly causes vocal hoarseness due to inflammation in the throat.

Risks

Laryngitis is considered chronic when it lasts for more than three weeks. Chronic laryngitis is frequently caused by prolonged irritation of the vocal chords. Non-infectious causes can include overuse of the voice, overuse of alcohol, gastric reflux, smoking or cancer. Bacterial infections rarely cause chronic laryngitis.

Symptoms

Typical symptoms include vocal hoarseness, sore throat, a cough, and swallowing problems.

Diagnosis

The diagnosis is usually made by assessing the symptoms and examining the throat.

Treatment

Treatment depends on the source of the issue, but mainly includes resting the voice. Giving up smoking or drinking alcohol may be helpful to improve symptoms. If the condition is caused by gastric reflux, that underlying condition should be treated. If the inflammation is caused by bacteria, an antibiotic regimen is normally followed. Avoiding breathing in irritating fumes, like smoke or household chemicals, can also be helpful in reducing symptoms.

Prevention

Prevention can be achieved by treatment of a gastric reflux condition, avoidance of smoking and smoke exposure, and moderate use of the voice.

Other names for chronic laryngitis

  • Infectious or allergic chronic laryngitis
  • Reflux laryngitis
  • Chronic inflammation of the larynx