A hoarse voice is often caused by the common cold or allergies. In that case, hoarseness can be treated simply by resting the voice, breathing in humidified air, and avoiding cigarette smoke. Drinking plenty of fluids to keep your throat from drying out can help as well.
If, however, your hoarseness lasts more than a few weeks, it could indicate a more serious condition, like acid reflux or a growth on the vocal cords. Acid reflux can be treated by avoiding foods that trigger it and by taking antacids. A growth on the vocal cord may require a biopsy to make sure it isn’t cancerous.
Non-cancerous growths, or polyps, are often surgically removed through a special scope that allows a doctor to look directly at the vocal cords. It may be done under general anesthesia but patients can often go home the same day. Patients are usually instructed to have total voice rest for about 2 weeks until the area heals.
People who use their voices at either extreme…frequently shouting or even whispering… can cause strain to the voice box. The can happen with coaches who have to scream or whisper in a loud arena and singers who push their voices to the max. Initially, such vocal stress may just cause inflammation of the vocal cords but over time it can lead to the development of growths.
So what can you do to avoid doing damage to your vocal cords? Don’t abuse your voice. Limit alcohol or caffeine, which can dry out your throat. Drink plenty of water. Don’t smoke and avoid second-hand smoke. And if you tend to get heartburn, avoid things that may be causing it, like spicy or fatty foods.
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