Facts About Throat Polyps
Many people refer to throat polyps as vocal polyps since most of them tend to be located on the vocal cords. These growths are relatively small and may resemble a blister, but some are so small they are not even noticeable, may fall off, and are digested without you even knowing they exist. It is essential to get these throat polyps seen about to make sure it is benign and not cancerous.
There are a variety of reasons of why you could develop vocal polyps. One of the most frequently seen causes is a result of smoking cigarettes for a prolonged period of time. Other common causes are gastro-reflux issues, hyperthyroid disease, as well as misuse of the vocals. All of these situations increase the likelihood of developing these polyps, but obviously does not mean you are guaranteed to get vocal polyps.
Usually people realize they have throat polyps when your voice is horse or raspier than normal. If you experience these symptoms for more than two weeks, it is time to contact your doctor and set up an appointment for further examination. Ideally, you would see an ear, nose, and throat doctor so you know they are familiar with throat examinations. Typically, these polyps are examined thoroughly to ensure that they are not cancerous in nature. However, it is also likely that someone with a throat polyp will be completely unaware of the issue if they are extremely small in size. Typically polyps are unable to be felt so it is not easily confused with a sore throat and sinus problems.
Generally doctors will use a laryngoscopy in order to get a complete examination of the vocal cords to ensure they are truly benign vocal polyps. This procedure involves a light and camera, but is painless. The doctors will also normally request information about your medical history. By performing the procedure mentioned above, the doctor would be able to see how many polyps you have as well as reassure you that they are not cancerous. Furthermore, examining your history will give the doctor insight to possible causes. From here, a treatment plan is developed to relieve you of these polyps due to gradual healing and shrinkage.
Obviously the cause will play a large role in the treatment of such polyps. Therefore, if smoking is the likely reason one can expect cessation therapy and counseling to help you stop smoking. However, if the throat polyps are due to overuse and misuse of your vocal cords, you will generally be told to allow your vocal cords to rest so they can be healed; this will mean absolutely no talking if at all possible, but definitely avoiding shouting or raising your voice. Furthermore, you may be assigned vocal therapy to assist with proper vocal uses. Nevertheless, if these treatment plans do not reduce the size of your polyps, surgery may be the next step for successful removal.
In general, if you use the treatment plans above and alter your behavior so that the likelihood of your developing polyps in the future is reduced, you should not have any long-term effects. However, some people may be affected differently, especially if their career revolves around using their vocal cords on a daily basis. Specifically, singers may have to alter their lifestyle, including stop singing, if these continue to develop.
In conclusion, throat polyps can be caused by a variety of factors, most commonly as a result of smoking and voice overuse (misuse). However, more often than not these polyps are benign and can be cured by resting the vocal cords and occasionally therapy to assist with quitting smoking. Be sure to see a doctor if you experience extended periods of a raspy voice to determine if your condition is because of polyps or a more serious issue.