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Laryngitis – causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology

October 24, 2019

With laryngitis, “laryng-” refers to the
larynx and “-itis” refers to inflammation. So, laryngitis is inflammation of the larynx,
something that especially affects children. It’s further classified into acute if it
lasts less than three weeks, and chronic if it lasts more than three weeks. The larynx is located in the upper portion
of the neck, just below where the pharynx splits into the trachea and the esophagus. The larynx is also called the voice box because
it contains the vocal cords, which are two folds of mucous membrane that can open and
close like curtains. When they are closed, air pressure builds
up below them, causing them to vibrate and produce sound when we speak. Like the rest of the respiratory tract, the
walls of the larynx are made up of mucosal epithelium. The mucosal epithelium contains goblet cells,
which produce mucus to trap small foreign particles as well as columnar cells, which
have cilia, which are tiny little hair like projections that moves mucus up the respiratory
tract so it can be coughed out. Acute laryngitis is most common and it’s
usually due to an upper respiratory tract infection, most often due to a virus. These viruses are the same ones that cause
the common cold like rhinovirus, coronavirus, influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus-
or RSV for short, and parainfluenza virus. Bacterial infections are another cause of
acute laryngitis, and sometimes they can develop during or right after a viral infection – that’s
called a superinfection. Common bacterial causes include Group A streptococcus,
Streptococcus pneumoniae, or Haemophilus influenzae. These bacteria, and particularly Haemophilus
influenzae, have a special preference for the superior portion of the larynx and the
epiglottis, causing epiglottitis. In acute laryngitis, the goblet cells to over
secrete mucus leading to congestion of the airway, and immune cells like neutrophils
and macrophages release chemicals that cause pain and swelling. Swelling of the vocal cords changes the way
they move – imagine two thin sheets flapping in the wind turning into two large pillows
that barely move. As a result, the vocal cords don’t move
and vibrating smoothly, which causes dysphonia, or hoarse voice. Chronic laryngitis is less common and it’s
associated with allergies, or the result of chronic exposure to irritating agents, like
cigarette smoke. Reflux laryngitis is another cause of chronic
laryngitis and develops in people with severe gastroesophageal reflux disease where acid
from the stomach goes all the way up the esophagus into the pharynx. From there, the acid can contact and irritate
the larynx. Finally, there’s overuse of the voice, like
yelling or a really prolonged karaoke session involving the Beatles, that could lead to
both acute and chronic laryngitis. In chronic laryngitis the normal columnar
cells undergo dysplasia, which is when they transform into squamous epithelium to adapt
to the chronic irritation. This dysplasia increases the chance that these
cells might eventually develop into laryngeal cancer. The main symptoms of laryngitis include hoarse
voice or dysphonia, cough, and in severe cases it can lead to difficulty swallowing or dysphagia,
because the swollen larynx may compress the esophagus. Some children have shortness of breath or
dyspnea, since they have smaller airways. So laryngitis comes down to the three D’s:
dysphonia, dysphagia, and dyspnea. Diagnosis of acute laryngitis is mainly based
on symptoms. For chronic laryngitis, though, laryngoscopy
can be useful. That’s when a long tube containing a camera
is inserted into the mouth to directly see the larynx, and to take a biopsy of the tissue
if needed. The main purpose is to ensure that there’s
no sign of a laryngeal cancer. Generally speaking, for acute laryngitis,
the treatment is resting the vocal cords, as well as getting fluids, and pain medications. For bacterial infections antibiotics are helpful. For chronic laryngitis, it’s important to
treat the underlying issue, for example, using allergy medication, avoiding irritating agents,
and using gastroesophageal reflux medications. Alright, as a quick recap, laryngitis is inflammation
of the vocal cords and it causes dysphonia, dysphagia, and dyspnea. Acute laryngitis usually lasts for less than
three weeks, and usually resolves on its own, although antibiotics are helpful for bacterial
laryngitis. Chronic laryngitis lasts for more than three
weeks, and is usually caused by allergies or exposure to irritating agents, or gastroesophageal


  • Reply Rupesh Ramarathnam March 7, 2018 at 8:27 pm

    Amazing content

  • Reply Dr. My Messy Notes March 7, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    Great video. Pronunciation of gastroesophageal is off, but otherwise excellent.

  • Reply hello11111 March 7, 2018 at 8:44 pm

    Wouldn't it be "metaplasia" for columnar –> squamous epithelium?

  • Reply Mîî ræl March 7, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    Trés bien ^^

  • Reply Nebras Alobaidullah March 8, 2018 at 12:20 am

    Thank you. Great video

  • Reply Karthik Karthik March 8, 2018 at 12:40 am

    Curtains n pilllows ?

  • Reply Vibes 1891 March 8, 2018 at 12:42 am

    3:09 Isn't it Metaplasia?

  • Reply Gautam Chandwani March 8, 2018 at 4:34 am

    I am 17 and I am suffering from laryngitis. It's not true that it affects only children.

  • Reply Irtaza Rehman Lectures March 8, 2018 at 10:59 am

    Nice explanation

  • Reply SAED S March 8, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    give osmosis some love donate to them guys even 1$ keep them motivated .

  • Reply Julia Gray March 8, 2018 at 9:51 pm

    Have you by any chance done a video on Pfeiffer Syndrome?

  • Reply Keith ! March 9, 2018 at 2:32 am

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  • Reply mohammed alshareif March 10, 2018 at 11:13 pm

    I still remember when I went to the doctor with dysphagia , dyspnea & heart burn , he prescribed anti-aalergic , PPI & a.b , I understand it now

  • Reply genq solusi March 11, 2018 at 2:14 am

    Love your video

  • Reply Generic geometry dash youtuber March 11, 2018 at 4:33 am


  • Reply MED HUNT March 11, 2018 at 11:24 am

    nice video

  • Reply rhoadsluis August 1, 2018 at 11:37 pm

    Can you please upload some video about Tonsilitis? that would be very interesting

  • Reply Terrel Jobe October 29, 2018 at 6:57 pm

    Thanks for the video…

  • Reply Naya Hasan November 8, 2018 at 6:52 am

    i want to help you guys to translate videos into arabic if it possible 🙂

  • Reply info window December 24, 2018 at 11:19 am

    M i final mbbs student in india i also want to join osmosis team ? Can i

  • Reply Southern Girl January 9, 2019 at 9:18 pm

    I don't smoke but I am on the phone a lot at my job, and I sing.

  • Reply Sober Guy23 January 21, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    These videos the English is spoken too fast ,I cannot understand

  • Reply Myia B May 1, 2019 at 3:50 am

    I appreciate this. Very informative presentation and a confident presenter : )

  • Reply Amanda Stevens July 26, 2019 at 7:06 am

    I think I have laryngitis for the 3rd time in 2 years

  • Reply Kayla Lind August 26, 2019 at 11:28 pm

    An answer to all my questions! Thank you so much for the video ??

  • Reply SipOfTae IhateSnakeu August 31, 2019 at 2:27 pm

    I think I have larangitus because I have all the symptoms oof ima tell my mom to take me to the doctor lmao I literally cant talk at all when I wake up and through the day I can talk better but barely and I have a shortness of breath and other stuff oop

  • Reply kay 0 September 3, 2019 at 2:33 am

    for 4 years ive gotten laryngitis during this time, every damn year.

  • Reply Za S September 19, 2019 at 5:07 pm

    I love you guys!!! Thaaanx

  • Reply Milena Vukovic October 13, 2019 at 6:23 pm

    I have not heard that laryngitis is contagious???Please

  • Reply ClarityGemz October 15, 2019 at 5:29 pm


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