Signs and Symptoms of Vocal Cord Nodules, Polyps and Cysts

by Admin on May 28, 2013

So far we have been talking about improving your singing voice by the means of singing exercises. If you did any Google search on this subject, you probably have come across some references to voice disorders caused by vocal cord nodules. If you are planning to develop your voice or even push it to its limits, the vocal health should be an important concern for you. Let’s focus this time on some of the most common vocal cord problems, so you can prevent problems before they occur.

Vocal cord nodules, polyps and cysts

Vocal nodules are not the only kind of abnormal growths within or along the covering of the vocal cord. They are known as vocal cord, or vocal fold lesions, and include three generally seen forms: nodules, polyps and cysts. They are the most common causes of voice problems. Luckily they are noncancerous and often can be treated quite successfully.

The first sign of trouble is the sound of the voice itself. If your voice becomes hoarse for a long period of time, it’s a good time to visit a specialist for your voice examination. Voice hoarseness does not necessarily means that the voice is already damaged. It can be some kind of irritation or allergies, infections like a cold, or using incorrect technique of speaking or singing. However, it also can indicate the early stage of vocal cord nodules or a cyst.

Vocal cord swelling is often caused by vocal abuse. Swollen cords cannot function properly and require additional pressure on the cords to close them and squeeze out a clear sound. Continuing singing with swollen cords will wear your voice quite quickly, since using worn voice wears it even more. Although this practice often is not considered dangerous, eventually it will lead to having two swollen areas, opposite each other, getting larger and larger, and stopping the rest of the cords from working. These areas are diagnosed as nodules on the vocal cords by a doctor, and are further categorized into developing and permanent nodules.

A vocal cord polyp occurs in different sizes and shapes on one or both sides of the vocal fold. It is a mass generally softer than nodules. It can cause a wide range of voice disturbances, depending on its nature. Just like vocal cord nodules, polyps most commonly are caused by voice misuse and abuse.

A vocal cord cyst is a firm mass of tissue contained within a membrane. They can be located anywhere, from the surface of the vocal cord to close to the ligament of the cord. Although they can be caused by voice abuse, they also may arise spontaneously.

Vocal cord lesion symptoms

Like with the other kinds of disease, the earlier the problem is diagnosed, the better and faster treatment will be. So stay alert and pay attention to changes in your voice, like the following:

  • Persistent voice hoarseness
  • Vocal fatigue
  • Delayed voice initiation
  • Voice breaks in first passages of sentences
  • Variability in the voice
  • Airy quality of voice
  • Loss of upper range in singing
  • Increased effort to speak or sing
  • Frequent lump in the throat and throat clearing

If you are singing or just planning to learn singing, keep in mind that your voice is your main and irreplaceable instrument. Like professional mechanics keep their instruments clean and in proper working order, you should maintain and care for your voice. We haven’t yet covered how vocal cord lesions are treated, stay with me for updates. Till next time, friends.

 

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