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Classification & external resources
ICD-10 J04.0, J37.0
ICD-9 464.0-464.4, 476.0-476.1
DiseasesDB 29347
MedlinePlus 001385
eMedicine ent/353  ent/354
MeSH D007827

Laryngitis is an inflammation of the larynx. It causes hoarse voice or the complete loss of the voice because of irritation to the vocal folds (vocal cords)

Laryngitis is categorized as acute if it lasts less than a few days.[1] Otherwise it is categorized as chronic, and may last over 3 weeks.



  • viral infection
  • bacterial or fungal infection
  • inflammation due to overuse of the vocal cords
  • excessive coughing


Symptoms of laryngitis include a weak and raspy voice, and a dry and sore throat (accompanied with dry coughing), tickling in throat. The patient might also complain of pain when swallowing or feeling as if the larynx is swollen. These may also be accompanied by cold-like symptoms (blocked nose etc.)


Correct treatment depends on a correct diagnosis of the underlying cause of laryngitis. The most prevalent cause of a missed diagnosis of laryngeal cancer is a belief that persistent hoarseness is due to laryngitis.[citation needed] Should hoarseness last for more than 3 weeks, one should consult an otorhinolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat physician) for an examination including direct visualization of the vocal cords. This examination may also detect the presence of vocal cord nodules, a structural change resulting in persistent hoarseness or loss of voice.

If laryngitis is due to a viral cause:

  • Ibuprofen and aspirin may help alleviate fever and some of the discomfort associated with laryngitis.
  • Patients are advised to avoid speaking when possible. They are instructed to speak softly, but to avoid whispering, which further strains the voice.[2]
  • Nasal breathing is very important so as not to dry the throat.
  • Throat clearing is very bad. The act of clearing one's throat is very stressful and may aggravate the laryngitis.
  • Humidifiers and warm showers can also help alleviate some symptoms.
  • Airborne irritants such as smoke and allergens may exacerbate the condition.
  • Gargling with a salt water rinse is suggested. Mouth rinses containing alcohol can dry the throat and may exacerbate a viral case of laryngitis (however, these can be helpful when the cause of the infection is bacterial).
  • A tea of ginger may help reduce swelling of the vocal cords and relieve symptoms.
  • Steroid medications may be prescribed to help accelerate the healing of the inflammation present.

If laryngitis is due to gastroesophageal reflux:

  • The patient may be instructed to take a nonprescription medication such as Zantac or Prilosec for a period of 4-6 weeks.

If laryngitis is due to a bacterial or fungal infection:

  • The patient may be prescribed a course of antibiotics or anti-fungal medication.

If persistent hoarseness or loss of voice (sometimes called "laryngitis") is a result of vocal cord nodules:

  • Physicians may recommend a course of treatment that may include a surgical procedure and/or speech therapy.
  • Reduction of high-impact stress to the vocal cords caused by loud, frequent, and rapid speech is recommended.


  1. ^ University of Michigan Health System. 2005. Laryngitis. McKesson Provider Technologies. Retrieved on May 16, 2007.
  2. ^ 2006. Laryngitis: Self care
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Laryngitis". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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