Voice and swallowing problems can greatly limit your ability to eat,
drink or communicate comfortably. Speech and swallowing problems may be
caused by many different factors, events, physical illnesses and
diseases. These may include chronic hoarseness, vocal cord nodules, acid
reflux, vocal cord paralysis, spasmodic dysphonia, aspiration, vocal
cord cysts or polyps, bowed vocal folds, chronic cough. However,
difficulties may be due to a range of other causes, including something
as simple as poor teeth, ill-fitting dentures, or a common cold. One of
the most common causes of dysphagia is gastro esophageal reflux. This
occurs when stomach acid moves up the esophagus to the pharynx, causing
discomfort. Other causes may include: hypertension; diabetes; thyroid
disease; stroke; progressive neurologic disorder; the presence of a
tracheotomy tube; a paralyzed or unmoving vocal cord; a tumor in the
mouth, throat, or esophagus; or surgery in the head, neck, or esophageal
Tonsillitis refers to the inflammation of a tonsil--the large, fleshy,
oval glands that lie in the lateral wall of the oral pharynx on either
side of the throat. These glands contain cells that make antibodies that
help fight infection. Tonsillitis can be caused by bacteria or viruses.
Causes of tonsillitis include: Streptococcus (commonly referred to as
"strep") bacteria (the most common cause of tonsillitis), Adenoviruses,
The Epstein-Barr virus (infectious mononucleosis) The herpes simplex
virus, Cytomegalovirus, and the Measles virus. Symptoms may include:
swollen, red tonsils (often coated with a yellow, gray, or white
membrane), blisters or painful ulcerated areas on the throat, sudden
onset sore throat, pain or difficulty with swallowing, snoring, foul
breath, headache, loss of appetite malaise, chills, fever and swollen
and tender lymph nodes in the neck or jaw area.
Hoarseness in the Throat from Acid Reflux or GERD
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the recurring movement of
stomach acid from the stomach back up into the esophagus that can cause
heartburn or chest pain. Acid reflux into the larynx occurs when acid
travels the length of the esophagus and spills over into the larynx. The
esophagus can withstand a certain amount of acid exposure, but the
throat and larynx (voice box) are not meant to withstand any exposure to
acid. Any acidic irritation to the larynx may result in a hoarse voice.
As the vocal folds begin to swell from acidic irritation, their normal
vibration is disrupted. Even small amounts of exposure to acid may be
related to significant laryngeal damage. If acid actually refluxes into
the lungs, chronic cough and pulmonary conditions can result, such as
pneumonia or bronchitis. Symptoms of acid reflux into the larynx may
include laryngitis, hoarseness, sensation of a lump in the throat,
post-nasal drip, chronic throat clearing, excessive throat mucous, sore
throat, cough, laryngospasm (spasm of the throat), and/ or throat pain.
It can also have an impact on swallowing, speaking and singing.
For more information, call 1.866.CALL.MLH.