Evaluation of Throat Disorders
A cough is a reaction to an airway irritation. It is generally the symptom of an illness or allergy. Some coughs are considered productive, which means they help to remove mucus from the lungs usually due to respiratory infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis. Others are considered nonproductive, and these are dry coughs that typically occur in response to exposure to an irritant such as smoke or because of a cold. Coughs may also be brought on by persistent problems including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or gastroesophageal reflux disease. A chronic cough is usually defined as a cough that lasts more than 8 weeks. Chronic cough is one of the most frequent reasons for visits to the doctor.
Hoarseness refers to abnormal changes in the voice. When a person’s voice becomes hoarse, it may sound raspy, scratchy or husky. Hoarseness is usually caused by a swelling of the vocal cords, which are part of the voice box, or larynx, in the throat. Hoarseness may occur in anyone, including children.
Hoarseness is generally a symptom of an underlying condition and not actually a disease itself. Fortunately, hoarseness does not usually last long, nor is it typically a sign of a serious condition. Most cases of hoarseness can be treated at home. However, if hoarseness lasts for longer than two weeks, it may be necessary to visit a doctor since persistent hoarseness is sometimes considered a warning sign of throat or laryngeal cancer.
Swallowing and Voice Disorders
Though we often take our ability to eat and speak for granted, many people have difficulty with these tasks and may experience pain, discomfort and lack of control when trying to speak. Voice and swallowing problems can develop as a result of aging, overuse, surgery, smoking, or throat cancer, and may include laryngitis, spasmodic dysphonia, vocal cord paralysis, cancer of the vocal cord, benign growths and more.
Our doctors provide comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services for a wide range of voice and swallowing disorders and are specially trained to help you restore function to your voice.
While many of these problems accompany a cold or other minor condition, some are chronic and may require special management to control or cure the condition. Patients may benefit from voice therapy, medicine or surgery, depending on their individual condition. It is also important for patients to protect their voice by practicing breathing techniques, avoiding smoking, alcohol and caffeine and by drinking plenty of water.
Northwest Florida Ear, Nose and Throat serves patients from Brewton, AL, Pensacola, Jay, Holt, Cantonment, Milton, Pace, Gulfbreeze, Navarre, Fort Walton Beach, Crestview, Niceville, Destin and even has patients from as far east as Panama City.