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Vocal Cord Paralysis – Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Vocal cord paralysis has many causes and can affect speaking, breathing and swallowing. Typically, the right vocal cord is affected twice as often as the left, and females are affected more often than males. Diagnosis for this voice / vocal problem (speech or singing) can be identified by ear via an alternative voice specialist or by special examination via an ENT specialist.

About vocal fold paralysis

Vocal folds are located within the larynx, or voice box. While we talk, air moves from the lungs through the vocal folds to the mouth. And by the vibration of the vocal folds, the sound is produced. Anything that makes it harder for the vocal folds to move can cause voice-related problems. Vocal paralysis is also known as vocal paresis. This phenomenon occurs when one or both of the vocal cords are not able to move or vibrate. The above can also cause swallowing and / or breathing problems.

Symptoms of vocal fold paralysis

Most cases of vocal fold paralysis involve just one cord being paralyzed. However, sometimes both are affected. The potential signs and symptoms of this condition may include:

  • Changes in the voice
  • Howseness of voice
  • Noisy breathing Changes of vocal pitch
  • Coughs that do not clear the throat properly
  • Decreased volume of the voice

Causes

A risk factor is something which increases the likelihood of the developing a condition or disease. Like, obesity significantly raises the risk of developing diabetes type 2. The following factors may raise the chances of developing vocal fold paresis.

Gender

Females usually have a higher risk than males developing the above described condition.

Surgery

Especially throat or chest surgery: Breathing tubes used in surgery may damage your vocal cord nerves. Throat cancer survivors may also experience vocal paralysis . Other causes of vocal fold paralysis include viral infections and physical and / or emotional trauma. Sometimes the cause can not be determined.

Injury to the chest or neck: Physical trauma may damage the nerve that is in charge of control over the vocal cord (s) or the larynx.

Stroke

The part of the brain that sends messages to the larynx may be damaged by a stroke.

Treatment of vocal cord paralysis

The treatment available for vocal cord paralysis depends on several factors, including what caused it, how severe the symptoms are, and how long they have been present. Usually, in any case, the patient is recommended to undergo voice therapy or surgery or both.

Voice therapy

Voice therapy is more similar to physical therapy for large muscle paralysis. The alternative voice specialist may offer some specific exercises and habitual changes to strengthen the vocal cords and improve breath control while speaking.

The alternative and holistic voice specialist will also use natural herbal and some homeopathic remedies to aid the voice condition.

Surgery

If the patient does not recover completely with voice therapy, the doctor may recommend surgical intervention. However, it would be wise to embark upon post-surgery care in order to prevent such an occurrence from happening ever again.