If you experience throat irritation frequently it is better that you get it evaluated by a doctor because it could be a case of chronic laryngitis. Laryngitis is the inflammation of the mucous membrane of the larynx and marked by hoarseness and irritation in the throat.
Viral infection is the most common among laryngitis causes. It may also be caused by overuse of vocal cords. Bacterial and fungal infections are among less common laryngitis causes. Heavy smokers are at higher risk of developing laryngitis. Laryngitis may sometimes be a symptom of tuberculosis or syphilis infection. Chronic condition of laryngitis needs to be assessed by a doctor to rule out presence of a tumor, which may be cancerous, particularly in the case of smokers.
Laryngitis symptoms depend largely on the severity of the condition. Many times it develops after a few days of sore throat. Prominent laryngitis symptoms include hoarseness, coughing, difficulty in swallowing, tickling in the throat, a sensation of swelling in the throat and a constant urge to clear your throat. Cold or symptoms associated with flu may sometimes be a symptom as well as a causative factor for laryngitis and may be accompanied by fever. Young children normally have difficulty in breathing.
Usually laryngitis does not present serious symptoms. However, prevalence of high fever with sore throat, coughing with pale or green colored phlegm and inability to take liquids are indications that you should seek medical advice.
Since symptoms are closely associated with the cause, laryngitis treatment also depends upon the causative factor. Antibiotics are ineffective against viruses and are used only in the event of confirmed bacterial infection. If the cause is fungal infection, then the use of anti-fungal laryngitis treatment is recommended.
If laryngitis is due to overuse of voice there are no symptoms other than impairment of vocal chords. If the symptoms such as hoarseness last for more than two weeks it requires you to consult an ENT specialist trained in treating vocal disorders. If there is prevalence of vocal cord nodules it may involve a surgical procedure with or without speech therapy. Patients may be asked to lay less stress of vocal cords and avoid loud high pitched voicing.
Laryngitis may also be due to GERD or gastro esophageal reflux disease, in which case treatment involved appropriate medication such as a histamine blocker and antacid. Smoking should be avoided regardless of the cause of laryngitis.
Since the most common cause of laryngitis is viral infection it is imperative to take preventive measures to avoid it. Wash your hands often and also avoid stressing your vocal cords. However, like common cold the risk of laryngitis is difficult to eliminate. Children should receive appropriate vaccines for protection against bacterial infections. Persistent throat irritation indicates chronic laryngitis and a cause of concern that should not be ignored.