5 Possible Signs of Vocal Cord Nodules

· March 9, 2018
Vocal cord nodules appear as a result of using your voice excessively. It's essential to recognize the symptoms to treat them as soon as possible.

The Causes of Vocal Cord Nodules

Essentially, anything that has to do with an excessive exertion of the vocal cords causes a gradual trauma. This leads to inflammation, and finally, vocal cord nodules.

  • Shouting
  • Excessively clearing throat
  • Chronic cough
  • Imitating voices
  • Talking too much
  • Singing in an unnatural key

We recommend that you read: The 9 Best Natural Remedies to Take Care of Your Voice and Throat 

Common Symptoms of Vocal Cord Nodules

1. Husky voice

vocal cord nodules

The voice may sound a bit, or very, husky because of a reduction of the voice’s intensity.

There’s a mismanagement of air that runs out before the end of a sentence and gives off the sensation that the person doesn’t have enough air.

2. Excessive throat clearing

A person might feel dryness in their pharynx and larynx, thus feel the need to clear their throat.

3. Neck muscle tension

vocal cord nodules
There are a variety of things that cause tense muscles, ranging from dehydration, being overweight, bad posture and sudden movements among other reasons. It’s a common problem that results from the blocked the muscles of the affected area.

A person with vocal cord nodules can experience a lot of tension in his or her neck area, which can lead to headaches or other complications as a result.

Also read: 6 Causes of neck Pain You Might Not Have Known

4. Cough

You might feel a sensation of foreign objects lodged in your pharynx. Coughs can become painful.

This is especially the case if they’re constant and the time lapses between them are very short.

5. Body and voice fatigue

vocal cord nodules

When the body needs to exert itself, fatigue is inevitable. When the voice reaches phonetic exhaustion, symptoms appear.

Factors that Might Lead to Nodules

The following factors play a role in the formation of vocal nodules:

  • Allergies
  • Tobacco use
  • Insufficient amounts of air
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Excessively humid places
  • Occupations that require voice usage (teachers, broadcasters, singers)
  • Exposure to irritating gases or chemical products.

Diagnosis

vocal cord nodules

If you’ve been experiencing voice hoarseness for more than two or three weeks, you should see a doctor. A complete check-up should include a review of medical history, physical exam and a chance to speak with the doctor.

In addition, the doctor may also request:

  • A neurological exam.
  • An exam conducted by a otolaryngologist (a doctor that specializes in throat, nose and ear medicine).
  • A voice exam conducted by speech and language or pathologist, or therapist.
  • The doctor might also perform a laryngoscopy using an intermittent light in order to examine vocal cord movements.

Treatment for Vocal Cord Nodules

Treatment may consist in surgery, pharmaceutical drugs or reviewing steps of appropriate voice care.

Surgical Intervention

Surgeries aim to remove the nodule from the vocal cord. Doctors resort to this treatment when the nodules are very big or if they’ve been present for a longer period of time.

Pharmaceutical Treatments

vocal cord nodules

In some cases, patients need to undergo pharmaceutical treatments to reduce the impact on the their vocal cords. 

These treatments include gastroesophageal reflux, allergy and thyroid treatments.

Vocal Care

This kind of therapy consists in learning about appropriate oral hygiene, eliminating abuses of the vocal cords, using a healthy tone and volume, and breathing for good vocal production.

Other Treatments

  • Complete vocal rest.
  • When nodules are small or soft, they can be treated with anti-inflammatory steroids. 
  • Phonetic exercises for reestablishing the function of the vocal cords and to prevent nodules from appearing again.

How can you prevent vocal cord nodules?

The following tips will help you to prevent nodules on your vocal cords:

  • Don’t abuse your voice.
  • If you’re a singer, teacher, broadcaster, etc., you have make time to rest your voice.
  • Parents should make sure that their children are learning to use proper voice techniques in order to avoid any kind of tension from an early age as it’s a problem that could develop.
  • Eliminate toxic habits as well as nasal and throat irritants.
  • Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any suspicions. With a simple and painless check-up, he or she can confirm if there is an actual problem or not.
Vocal Cord Nodules and Polyps. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/Vocal-Cord-Nodules-and-Polyps/ Children's Hospital. (2016, March 15). Vocal Cord Nodules Causes, Symptoms and Treatment. Retrieved from https://www.chop.edu/conditions-diseases/vocal-cord-nodules