Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Do I have a throat polyp?"
I am the singer in a band and lately have had a hoarse voice and some soreness. Definitely gets worse when I sing. Is this a polyp? Can you get a polyp in your throat?
Sore or hoarse throat is a very common problem in people who use their voices for a living, such as singers like yourself. Most of the time, the cause is mechanical laryngitis, or inflammation of the vocal cords, due to strain on the muscles in the cords. This 'muscle strain' is similar to the strain that you experience in any muscle with vigorous exercise (think of sore calf muscles after a long run, for example). Consequently, it does tend to get better if you can just give your voice some time to rest. However, if the symptoms persist or are making it difficult to perform your job, you should go see your primary care doctor or an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor. Occasionally, the laryngitis can be serious enough that you may need to take an anti inflammatory medication, especially if it is interfering with your singing. Your doctor can help determine if this is a good option for you. Also, if symptoms persist and do not respond to treatment for laryngitis, you may need further evaluation for other causes of vocal hoarseness, such as a polyp (which you mention in your question). These causes are much rarer than simple laryngitis but they do occur and can be ruled out by an ENT doctor.
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