The pros and cons of using surgical treatment and medication for curing hoarseness
Can surgical procedures and medications such as cortisol, antacids, antibiotics and even surgeries really cure your hoarseness?
If your hoarseness persists for more than three weeks, it is necessary to see an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor, for an accurate diagnosis of your voice-box conditions, and find the reason for your hoarseness. The most common problems are warts, edema, polyps, swelling, incomplete closure of the vocal folds, acidity, phlegm, and so on.
Usually, people engaged in a vocal occupation, such as singers, actors and lecturers know the reason for their vocal issues better than doctors do. Such reasons are usually insufficient sleep, consumption of unhealthy foods, catching a cold, and pressing the voice.
So should you resort to surgical procedures and use medication for curing hoarseness ?
You must also bear in mind that most doctors, except the few called laryngologists, are not vocal experts.
So what should you do?
Usually, the doctor will send you to consult a speech therapist, for vocal folds maintenance and vocal intensification instructions. Singers should also consult a voice teacher about ways of minimizing vocal effort about preventive treatment, before any vocal issues occur. Such specialists often discuss vocal support technique and similar issues.
It is always recommended to consult a speech therapist, even without your doctor’s recommendation. Preferably, do it before vocal cords disorders occur, to prevent them, but he can also help you treat them.
What to do if, despite all your vocal instruction, you cannot regain the voice you used to have?
If you consult your doctor at that stage, he may suggest the following treatments:
- Surgical treatment for curing hoarseness :
- Endoscopic removal of ailments and edema, with an optic fiber
- Endoscopic laser ailments removal and treatment of bleeding
- Larynx surgery, especially in difficult cases, such as the removal of large tumors, airways-blocking edema, allergy or other voice-box critical problems.
Such surgical treatments, which involve advanced technology, do have significant benefits. However, people of vocal professions should do their best to avoid surgery, except as the really last resort, (for example, to remove a cancer or a life-threatening airways blocking).
Most probably, doctors, too, will recommend you to try conservative treatments first, and resort to surgical treatment after anything else fails, since doctors are aware of the risks of surgery.
Any surgery might get complicated, and even a successful surgery leaves a scar. It can slightly change your voice, making it weaker and more vulnerable than before the surgery. So, if you practice a vocal profession, try to use any conservative treatment instead. Many professional singers, after undergoing a surgery, found their voice weaker and more vulnerable than before. So if you have a unique vocal tone, do not even think of surgery, unless it is a matter of life and death.
Here are some risks of surgical treatments:
- Warts and polyps may recur after surgery.
- Due to a phenomenon known as muscle memory, your muscles learn to operate in a specific way. Therefore, if you do not change your vocal practices after the surgery, your muscles will keep operating the same way that caused the vocal problems in the first place, so the recovery may be temporary only. Due to all that, doctors, too, prefer non-surgical treatments.
- Injecting the vocal cords with Botox, hyaluronic acid, fat, collagen, Radiesse etc., which inflate the cords and improve their closure, as well as substances dealing with spasmodic dysphonia, an involuntary movement or spasms of vocal cords and voice box muscles.
Some people consider such treatments their only hope. However, these treatments, despite their considerable short-term benefits, involve great discomfort,
Often used medication for curing hoarseness :
- Anti-allergenic drugs: hoarseness may also result from allergy problems, such as hay fever, watery eyes, constant throat clearing and phlegm, acid reflux due to improper diet, etc. anti-allergenic drugs are decongestant and have dehydrating effect, which might cause mucous irritation and harm your vocal quality.
- Antibiotics: usually, antibiotics are unnecessary for treating chronic hoarseness, and might even weaken your immune system and start common cold recurrences. You should use antibiotics in case of bacterial inflammation of the larynx which lasts at least one week.
- Antacids: antacids, which reduce gastric acid secretion, can relieve reflux symptoms that impair the clarity of your voice. However, in the long run, they might reduce your gastric acid level too low, which can impair your digestion and the absorption of vital substances such as vitamins and minerals, make you vulnerable to anemia, neuron damage, and helicobacter pylori presence. Therefore, for the sake of your vocal hygiene and general health, take antacids for a short period only.
- Steroids: steroids, consumed in the form of pills, drops, or sprays, can reduce vocal cord edema, but a long use has its side effects. They are also used, occasionally, to treat inflammation of the larynx, asthma and allergies. They are a most effective means of treating inflammations, and sometimes may save lives. One cannot ignore their significant beneficial effects, yet they have their long-term side effects, such as:
- Immune system suppression
- Growth processes inhibition;
- Nervous and mental disorders such as anxiety, hallucinations, and psychotic states;
- Sugar level and blood pressure increase;
- Wound-healing and bone-building process damage.
The recovery from hoarseness requires an effective and quick-responding immune system, to protect the larynx and the whole body from invaders and quickly heal ailments. In short, the use of steroids always harms your general health. This is why doctors minimize the amount of steroids used and limit the period of use to longer than two weeks. Steroids may have only short-term beneficial effect on your vocal performance: If you lose your voice right before a vocal performance, steroids can make your vocal cords swell and close easily, and even make your vocal quality by far better than usual. It can also suppress inflammation of the larynx, and provide you with a plenty of available energy, by raising your blood sugar level. But again, bear in mind that steroids may have their long-term side effects such as edema or even the recurrence of ailments, due to immune system suppression.
So, should I resort to surgical treatment or use medication to cure hoarseness:
Before starting a surgical or medical treatment of hoarseness conditions, always consult several experts in several fields: an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor; a speech therapist or a voice teacher, and an alternative medicine expert, in order to see the whole picture of your problem and all its possible solutions.
TMRG recommended alternative solutions to medication to curing hoarseness:
We have a 15-year long experience in developing natural vocal disorders solutions:
Preventive anti-hoarseness solutions
Change your vocal technique and lifestyle. TMRG’s vocal hygiene and healthy lifestyle manuals offer instructions concerning the following:
- Sufficient drinking
- Proper diet to prevent heartburn, excessive acidity and phlegm and maintain sufficient energy level;
- Regular vocal rest; vocal release and training fitting the expected vocal effort;
- TMRG Classic and TMRG Classic Spray: for vocal strain relief.
What to do once you get hoarse:
- Rest: If possible, a two-weeks long vocal rest, speaking softly and slowly and vocal effort pauses when necessary.
- Diaphragm and Breathing exercises: slightly contract your abdomen, torso or rib cage, to make the airflow smooth, constant, and even.
- Straw exercise: hum through a straw, gradually increasing the intensity and resistance, what musicians call crescendo, with abdominal push. Perform this exercise 7 times a day, for one to three minutes at a time.
Use our solutions:
- TMRG Powerful Vocal Recovery Kit (PVR No.8): for hoarseness and vocal disorders treatment
- TMRG Powder (No.4): a vocal cords coating to make them more elastic
- TMRG voice synergy oil (No.6): clears acidity and phlegm, and intensifies the voice-box blood supply and mobility.
- TMRG Classic Drops (No.1) and TMRG Classic Spray (No.2): for vocal cords recovery, opening resonance cavities and tone improvement.
Best of health, and keep your voice safe and sound (pun intended)
TMRG Voice Specialist