Most rely on their voices for communication, humming their favorite tune, or singing at karaoke night. When there is abnormality to our voices, many people can feel a little anxious. Where there can be many issues that lead to losing your voice, there are others more common. Today, we at the ENT Specialists would like to elaborate on vocal cord nodules.
Vocal Cord Lesions
Growths that include nodules, polyps, and cysts are vocal cord lesions, otherwise known as vocal fold lesions which are benign (noncancerous). Usually this condition associated with vocal overuse or vocal cord trauma and commonly lead to hoarseness.
Vocal Cord Nodules
Frequently the result from repetitive overuse or misuse of the voice, vocal cord nodules, sometimes called singer’s nodules or nodes are callous-like growths that develop in the middle area of the vocal folds. Under the microscope, vocal cord nodules look like calluses are can occasionally be associated with abnormal blood vessels. Though this condition can develop in both men and women, ladies between the ages of 20 and 50 years old are more prone to vocal cord nodules.
Vocal Cord Polyp
Since they can occur on either one or both vocal cords, vocal cord polyps differ from nodules. They have more blood vessels and appear reddish in color as they tend to be more vascularized than nodules. Usually larger than nodules and resemble blisters, these growths can vary in size and shape. Polyps can be caused by overuse or misuse of the voice, much like vocal cord nodules, however, can also be caused by a single episode of vocal abuse; such as being overly vocal at a sporting event. Associated almost exclusively with smoking, another type of vocal cord polyp, polypoid corditis (Reinke’s edema).
Causes of Vocal Cord Nodules & Polyps
Both caused by different forms of trauma, vocal cord nodules and polyps can develop from the following:
– Singing – Especially in professional singers.
– Excessive talking – particularly for coach, teacher, salesperson or radio personality.
– Extra muscle tension from smoking, alcohol use, speaking, allergies, sinusitis, and rare hypothyroidism.
Vocal Cord Cyst
Having a sac around a fluid-filled or semisolid center, vocal cord cysts are growths and they are less common than vocal cord nodules and polyps. There are two types of cysts on the vocal cords; epidermoid, or sometimes referenced as sebaceous cysts, and retention cysts.
Vocal Cord Lesions
Vocal cord lesions Using the voice while sick with an upper respiratory infection or laryngitis, vocal cord lesions result in hoarseness, multiple tones, loss of vocal range, breathiness, vocal fatigue or loss of voice.
Describing their voice as harsh, raspy, or scratchy, patients with vocal cord nodules or polyps will likely experience easy vocal fatigue with use or there may be a decreased range of vocal sounds and voice breaks. They will also likely have frequent bouts of throat clearing, coughing, or general fatigue. Occasionally, they may feel a shooting pain from ear to ear, general neck pain or as a lump in the throat.
Voice Disorder Treatment
If you are having problems in your throat, call and make an appointment with the experts of the ENT Specialists and let our medical team assist you.