Under one Laryngitis or laryngitis, is an infection of the larynx, which is part of the upper respiratory tract. In the following the clinical picture with course and therapy is described in more detail.
Schematic representation of the anatomy of the vocal cords and their various diseases. Click to enlarge.
A Laryngitis is also known as laryngitis; the most common triggers are viruses or bacteria. Laryngitis is divided into the acute and chronic form, which is assessed by the ear, nose and throat doctor.
Acute laryngitis can often occur in addition to bronchitis, sinusitis or a cold. In addition to the viral infection, a second bacterial infection occurs, which ultimately triggers the larynx infection.
Chronic laryngitis, on the other hand, can be present if the vocal folds have been inflamed for several weeks. The lining of the entire larynx is inflamed and swollen.Both forms show hoarseness, dry cough and sore throat.
In the acute form, the person has a hoarse voice or even voicelessness, pain when swallowing, and a feeling of dryness in the throat. In the chronic form, a foreign body sensation in the throat is typical, as is a frequent dry cough.
In addition to the causes mentioned above, there are other causes, such as smoking, intense heat, pollutants in the air or voice overload. Usually, however, virus pathogens are the cause of acute laryngitis, for example adenoviruses or rhinoviruses.
If the voice is not spared enough, it can lead to chronic laryngitis. Other causes of chronic laryngitis are long-term inhalation of chemicals (work-related) or tobacco smoke, constantly air-conditioned and relatively dry room air, breathing through the mouth, frequent rhinitis or tonsillitis.
Singers can also suffer from overuse of the vocal cords.
The typical symptoms of laryngitis or laryngitis are a dry, irritating cough, a feeling of lump in the throat and severe hoarseness. The symptoms are triggered by an inflammation in the larynx lining. A distinction is made between an acute and a chronic form.
Most of the symptoms of laryngitis are due to exposure to viruses. If bacterial pathogens occur, this can lead to complications and significantly more severe symptoms. Rarely, only bacterial pathogens are responsible for the symptoms that occur. These usually occur as part of a severe cold or a flu-like infection.
The first signs that it is more than a common cold can be found in a barking cough and severe hoarseness. Breathing can be difficult. A severe sore throat and difficulty swallowing in the larynx area or below also indicate an infection in this area. If symptoms worsen such that breathing becomes more difficult or a high temperature rises, a doctor should be consulted.
The symptoms of chronic laryngitis are similar, without an acute infection being the trigger. Rather, chronic irritation of the larynx mucosa is the cause of the persistent symptoms. People with frequent contact with pollutants or industrial exhaust gas inhalations, chronic smokers or people with chronic inflammation of the sinuses and bronchi often show all symptoms of laryngitis.
The course of a Laryngitis can be positively influenced by rapid treatment. Especially when the causes are eliminated, nothing can stand in the way of a quick recovery. For example, sparing the voice is very supportive, even if you can no longer hear a voice, speaking should be avoided as much as possible.
Inconsistent treatment can develop into chronic inflammation and even functional voice disorder. Usually, if treated properly and quickly, the larynx can pass without complications.
In children, however, there is a risk of shortness of breath due to swelling of the vocal cords. In any case, laryngitis must be treated, as it can possibly become chronic and develop into a precancerous stage. Acute laryngitis should also be observed by a doctor.
Laryngitis (laryngitis) usually heals well after a few days with a little rest. However, complications can arise. In a particularly severe course, the vocal folds are covered with white fibrin. One speaks of a fibrinous laryngitis. If the inflammation is very severe, the vocal cords sometimes swell so much that acute shortness of breath occurs.
If the internal structures of the larynx are also inflamed, persistent voice disorders can occur after they have subsided. These show up in a hoarse, breathy voice sound and quick voice fatigue. The cause is an incomplete vocal fold closure, which can be restored with specific voice exercises. If bacteria are the cause of the larynx infection, it can also be progressive. Phlegmon or abscesses form in the larynx.
The first symptoms are severe swallowing pain, which often radiates into the ears. Antibiotics help here. In extreme cases, the larynx cartilage is affected, which leads to shortness of breath and severe pain when touching the larynx. In addition to the antibiotic, surgical intervention is required to open the abscess.
If such a laryngitis remains untreated, so-called Reinke's edema can develop over time. It is a growth on the vocal cords that is filled with fluid. Reinke's edema should be removed surgically.
People who have a sore throat and difficulty swallowing should see a doctor. If the symptoms persist for several days, if they intensify or if they spread further, medical care should be instituted. Hoarseness, changes in voice and reduced vocal strength should be checked and treated by a doctor. Often the sick can only communicate in a whisper, as the impairment of the vocal cords is very strong and prevents the usual vocalization. If there is a dry cough with or without expectoration, a doctor's visit is advisable.
If you clear your throat frequently, have scratchy sensations in the throat or feel a foreign body in the throat, a doctor should be consulted to clarify the symptoms. Any feeling of illness, general malaise or internal weakness should be examined by a doctor. If there is a fever or an increased body temperature, a doctor's visit is necessary to clarify the cause. If you refuse to eat or drink, lose weight or feel internal dryness, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. There is an undersupply of the organism that needs to be treated. If there is a reduction in the usual level of performance, sleep disorders, increased irritability or an increased need for sleep, a doctor should be consulted.
A Laryngitis definitely needs to be treated! Pollutants should be avoided, especially if you are also a smoker. Hot spices and alcohol are just as irritating. If the job is the reason for the laryngitis, it may be that an improvement only occurs after a change of job, or that further laryngitis or a chronic one can be avoided.
If there is inflammation during a cold or bronchitis, these should of course also be treated. It is possible that it may even have to be treated with antibiotics. So that tough mucus can be coughed up better, the family doctor also prescribes secretion-loosening and anti-swelling drugs.
As dry air promotes laryngitis, steam inhalations are also recommended. It should - especially then - be breathed through the nose. As children run the risk of shortness of breath, they should stay in hospital for a few days as a precaution. If an overstrain is the trigger of the laryngitis, it may be possible to learn how to use the voice correctly with a speech therapist.
The prognosis for laryngitis is favorable. Under optimal conditions, the disease heals completely within a few days. In most cases, consequential damage or impairment is not to be expected. Medical care is not absolutely necessary. With sufficient rest and rest, the person affected often experiences relief from the symptoms within a short period of time and then freedom from symptoms. Failure to consume harmful substances such as nicotine improves the recovery process significantly.
If you have a weakened immune system or other illnesses, it is advisable to consult a doctor. This supports the healing process by giving medicines and can provide important information on how to deal with the disease in general.
In exceptional cases an unfavorable course of the disease develops. In these patients, surgical intervention is necessary in addition to the administration of medication. If an abscess has formed, it will be opened during the operation. This allows fluids that have formed to be sucked off and the symptoms are alleviated. If edema has developed, these are also removed surgically. If no further complications arise during the procedure, the patient is usually discharged from the treatment as cured within a few days. You still need some rest to regenerate and a subsequent inspection visit. Afterwards, there is also freedom from symptoms.
One acute Laryngitis can only be prevented to a limited extent, as it is usually a sudden disease that accompanies colds.
However, this can be prevented with a strong immune system, for example through exercise, a healthy diet and fresh air. At the first signs of laryngitis, a doctor should be consulted in order to treat it as soon as possible.
When working with harmful substances, protective masks should always be worn and if you are susceptible you should give up smoking. Singers should pay attention to the correct use of their voice.
The laryngitis can be optimized in its healing through consistent follow-up care and, as part of prevention, prevented from flaring up again. In this context, the contact person for the patient is the ENT doctor, but also the family doctor. In some cases, going to the practice for speech therapy is also helpful.
Follow-up care is closely related to the cause of the laryngitis. If the reason was an infection, aftercare also includes stabilizing the immune system. This can be achieved through adequate sleep, a healthy diet and exercise in the fresh air. If the laryngitis was caused by strong vocal strain and has also affected the vocal cords, the speech therapist can improve speaking practice. In particular, professional groups who have to speak a lot benefit particularly from this and can prevent laryngitis again in many cases.
In any case, smoking should be stopped after a larynx infection so as not to affect the irritated region any further. Sufficient liquid and sucking candy, for example with sage, are ideal. Hot milk with honey, a classic among home remedies, can also be included in aftercare. It moisturizes the mucous membranes and can stop bacteria from growing again. Whispering and clearing your throat are not recommended during or after a larynx infection.
If a larynx is suspected, a doctor should be consulted first. Medical treatment can then be supported by some self-help measures and home remedies.
First of all, bed rest and warmth apply. The larynx should not be stressed too much for a few days so that the inflammation can heal without complications. A warm larynx is best achieved with warm compresses or a hot, damp towel. Since dry air clogs the mucous membranes, the humidity in the bedroom should be adjusted. This works best with a humidifier or with damp cloths over the heater. Classic remedies such as warm milk with honey or herbal tea relieve the pain. Inhaling steam, preferably with additives such as aniseed, eucalyptus, fennel or chamomile, helps against coughing attacks. For acute symptoms, small sips of cool water are recommended. Hot water also helps - a glass with a little lemon juice and diluted tea and the pain should go away.
Caffeine and nicotine should be avoided during a larynx infection. Vitamins and an overall healthy and balanced diet are better. If the symptoms do not go away despite all these measures, a visit to a doctor is recommended.