Vocal cords consist of two elastic muscles by the side oflarynx and like any other muscle or tissue in our body could suffer from strainor damage.
Singers, teachers, lawyers and actors have increased risk ofstrained vocal cords, as well as the people who work at airports or racingtracks.
The most common vocal cords illnesses are vocal cords nodules sometimes called teachers’ or singers’ nodules. Exposure to cigarette smoke orchemicals might induce vocal cord polyps. In these conditions the voicechanges becomes rough and breathy, and some singers lose their vocal range. The nodulesusually last 6 to 12 weeks with the proper voice training with the specialist,but most of the polyps should be surgically removed.
Laryngitis is the swelling of the cords, usually because ofthe infection or inflammation. Suffering from laryngitis, your voice might bechanged or in serious cases you could totally lose the possibility to speak(just temporarily, while the infection lasts). It may last for a couple days,or in viral infection, it last up to three weeks.
Contact ulcers are rare, common for people who work in noisysurrounding or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux) and heartburn patients. Their voiceis rough, tires often and the throat is painful. The recovery is slow – 6 weeksof rest are necessary for ulcers to heal.
Vocal cord paresis appears when there’s a problem with theopening and closing of one of the cords, and it usually results in changedvoice. When one or both of the cords do not move the condition is called vocalcord paralysis. Causes of vocal cord paresis and paralysis include viralinfections, weak vocal cord muscles, neck or chest surgery or injury, traumaduring birth, stroke or tumor. Sometimes, patients suffering from Parkinson’s,myasthenia gravis or MS (multiple sclerosis) are also susceptive to these vocalcord conditions. Changes in your voice are present with this condition and paralyzedcords may bring discomfort and some breathing problems. The voice could comeback in a year, but sometimes the voice loss is permanent.
Men after 60 have increased risk of vocal cord tumors. Malignant(cancerous) tumors appear more in smokers and alcoholics and if they’re caughtin early stages, the prognosis is usually good. Tumors usually roughen your voice and sometime they might affect the breathingand swallowing. Benign tumors must be surgically removed and canceroustumors should be treated instantly, because of the possible fatal consequences.
To get the proper diagnosis, doctor will ask about your medical history, listen to your voiceand examine your vocal cords with a small mirror or laryngoscope. You’d beasked to speak while the procedure is ongoing, enabling the doctor to see yourvocal cords active. In some cases, acoustic analysis is required. If suspectedto have cancerous growth, the doctor will recommend a biopsy and sometimesadditional tests to diagnose the proper cause of the vocal cords condition.