Medical Q&As

Hoarseness - caused by nodules?

I have been hoarse since December 2002 and I feel a lump in my throat when I swallow. It's quite sore. I have taken four different antibiotics from my doctor but he mentioned something about polyps growing there. Can you tell me what they are if they are dangerous and how to get rid of them please?

As a general rule of thumb if hoarseness persists for longer than two weeks a visit to the GP is generally recommended. Given the fact that you have experienced persistent hoarseness since Christmas it would be in order for you to be referred to an ENT specialist in order to have your vocal chords examined. The specialist can examine the vocal chords using a special mirror device that enables him or her to look down the larynx and see the vocal chords. If nodules or polyps are present they can usually be seen quite clearly on the surface of the chords. These lesions are not dangerous nor are they pre-malignant. The nodules can be removed subsequently by surgery that involves scraping the nodules off the surface of the affected chords. The procedure is performed under a general anaesthetic and only requires a short stay in hospital. However, most cases of hoarseness can be treated very simply by resting the voice. It is also very important to stop smoking and to avoid exposure to second hand smoke. Dusty environments should also be avoided. It is also recommended that you generally increase your intake of fluids but to reduce your intake of fluids that have a dehydrating effect such as coffee and alcohol. In very rare instances hoarseness can be a symptom of throat cancer, which is the principal reason why persistent hoarseness should never be ignored.