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Have had mild pain in larynx. Hurts to swallow and painful to touch. Should I go for treatment?

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ENT Specialist
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I have had mild pain in larynx for a couple weeks - almost didn't notice. Hurts when I swallow. I assumed it might be allergies during fall. However, over past couple days it has been a more pronounced. I took a flight last night from east coast to Denver and this morning it is hurting more. I noticed it is painful to touch. Hurts when I swallow. and now I notice it when I talk. Should I bother to try to see a doctor here while I am on travel?
Posted Thu, 25 Oct 2012 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Answered by Dr. Sumit Bhatti 1 hour later

Thank you for your query.

1. Get your throat examined and get a OPD Videolaryngoscopy done whenever possible. If it is normal, there is no cause for worry. By this time you will have a fair diagnosis; however, if you need a second opinion you may share the video. A Neck Ultrasound and Cervical Spine X-rays may also be done.

2. Pain in the larynx with return to normal in between episodes, can be caused by laryngitis, voice abuse, infection, allergy, acid reflux, chemical or irritant exposure, edema, abnormal vocal cord movements, and a host of rare causes. Presence of other medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension, thyroid disorders, hormonal disturbances, anemia may also be a contributing factor. Did you have fever or cough before all this started?

3. Acid reflux may also be involved. Acid reflux may be silent and LPR (Laryngo Pharyngeal Reflux) causes only throat symptoms. A third of people with acid reflux also have an abdominal haitus hernia. It may be a contributing cause of the severe dryness in the throat along with allergy or infection, which cause a Post Nasal Drip (PND). A PND causes such pain in the throat and larynx.

4. Request a local physician to prescribe a medicated gargle which soothes the throat. ANti-reflux medication such as Omeprazole may be tried. Mucaine gel may help.

5. If your reflux medication in not giving any relief, also rule out the following conditions:
1. Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia
2. Eagle's syndrome (elongated styloid process)
3. Hyoid bursitis
4. Any ulceration or foreign body
Is your pain worse on swallowing? Does it radiate to the ear?

I must emphasize that this may not be an abnormality. It should be investigated when you get back home so as not to miss any rare cause. Kindly let me know the results of your investigations, with images and video of the ultrasound, videolaryngoscopy and barium swallow study, if possible. This will help decide medication and further treatment.

I hope that I have answered your queries. If you have any further questions, I will be available to answer them.

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