voice and swallowing disorders

in Tuscaloosa, AL

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The larynx is important for vocal cord function and allowing air to flow through the lungs without any unwanted particles passing through. Laryngitis occurs when there is inflammation of the larynx, resulting in bothersome symptoms affecting the voice and throat.

Laryngitis Causes and Symptoms

Laryngitis occurs when the larynx becomes inflamed due to an infection such as a cold, flu, or bronchitis and leads to distressing symptoms. Those who smoke, overuse their voice (such as singers or public speakers), or are prone to infections have an increased chance of getting laryngitis. Some common symptoms of Laryngitis include:

  • coughing
  • sore throat
  • difficulty breathing
  • hoarseness
  • occasionally loss of voice

Treatment for Laryngitis

Laryngitis generally resolves by itself within two weeks with home remedy treatments including using a humidifier, getting plenty of fluids, and resting the voice. If symptoms are severe or your need to speak is urgent, a doctor may prescribe corticosteroids for your recovery. Laryngitis in adults is not serious, however, symptoms lasting longer than two weeks, coughing up blood, high fever, or trouble breathing are all signs you should see a doctor for treatment.


The pharynx is the tissue between the tonsils and the larynx, and pharyngitis refers to the inflammation of the pharynx, otherwise known as a sore throat. Pharyngitis is a common condition, but persistent symptoms can be bothersome and can sometimes be a symptom of a more serious condition.

Pharyngitis Causes and Symptoms

Pharyngitis causes an unbearable sore throat and a scratchy, painful sensation that could make it difficult to breathe or swallow. Pharyngitis is more common during the colder months and is most often caused by a virus such as the cold, flu, or mononucleosis. Although less common, Pharyngitis can be caused by a bacterial infection such as strep throat. Those who are frequently exposed to viruses, have allergies, or experience sinus infections are at a greater risk of getting Pharyngitis.

Treatment for Pharyngitis

Pharyngitis is not usually serious and can be managed with at-home remedies. Pharyngitis and laryngitis generally occur together and with plenty of rest, fluids, and help from a humidifier, this condition should resolve within a week. In some cases, such as those caused by a bacterial infection like strep throat, medical treatment is required and an antibiotic will be prescribed by your doctor. A sore throat that is persistent or severe should always be examined by a doctor to determine the root cause and receive proper treatment.


The epiglottis is the tissue flap that blocks food and fluids from entering the windpipe when swallowing. Epiglottitis refers to swelling of the epiglottis, often resulting in blocked air flow to the lungs.

Epiglottis Causes and Symptoms

Epiglottitis can be caused by burns from hot liquids, injury to the throat, or a bacterial infection. The most common strain of bacteria causing the infection is Haemophilus influenza type B (or Hib) which is caught by inhaling the germs from an infected person through coughing or sneezing. Other causes include bacterial strep throat, inhaling chemicals, swallowing a foreign object, and throat trauma or injury. Symptoms of Epiglottitis include:

  • high fever
  • severe sore throat
  • difficulty breathing and swallowing
  • restlessness

Treatment for Epiglottitis

Epiglottitis may become dangerous since it can obstruct proper airflow into your lungs, making it difficult to swallow. Epiglottitis is generally a medical emergency and should receive treatment immediately. If epiglottitis is suspected, the patient should remain upright and avoid examining the throat until receiving medical attention. An oxygen mask or breathing tube may be required for initial treatment, and an antibiotic will be given if a bacterial infection is the cause.

Your Voice and Swallowing Disorder Consultation

Chronic sore throats may make it unbearable to swallow, breathe, or talk, so contact Alabama Nose, Ear, & Throat Specialists today to receive proper diagnosis and specific treatments in Tuscaloosa, AL based on your particular condition.

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