What causes voice thickening? + Mutations in puberty

What causes voice thickening? + Mutations in puberty
Photo source: Getty images

Vocal dryness can be the cause of vocal cord thickening. It occurs mainly during the heating season, but also during the summer. Often the cause is congestion in the vocal cords. But it can also be caused by respiratory diseases. In milder cases, inflammation, in worse cases, a tumour. Other causes can also be behind vocal cord thickening, such as hormonal changes.

A hoarse voice is a symptom for hormonal changes, but also for diseases. Among the diseases that are its cause are less serious infections of the upper respiratory tract, but also serious cancerous changes.

Hormonal changes

Thickening of the voice is especially typical for boys at puberty. As a result of hormonal changes, there is a physiological thickening of the voice, which is a natural part of adolescence.

Mutation = physiological thickening of the voice.

The increased hormone levels cause the larynx to expand, which also creates more room for the deeper tone of the voice to resonate.

Teenage boy, brown hair, wearing a pale sweater
Natural changes at puberty and as a sign of growing up. Photo: Thinkstock photos

But in many cases, these changes also occur in girls due to hormone excess. This is already a disease state caused by increased hormone production.

However, if there is not enough hormone production in boys, then the thickening of the voice will not occur in boys. This also needs to be addressed. However, thickening of the voice also accompanies people with hypothyroidism. This is a disease of the thyroid gland, which does not produce enough hormones. This disease particularly affects women.

Hypothyroidism manifests itself in a variety of symptoms. For example, fatigue, palpitations, chills, but also a thickening of the voice and hoarseness instead of speaking.

The influence of smoking and respiratory disease

However, there can be other problems with the voice besides thickening of the voice. This is typical for heavy smokers and for people with respiratory diseases.

Sometimes voice loss or thickening is related to various infections in the respiratory tract. Most often these are manifestations of an upper respiratory tract infection, such as tonsillitis or laryngitis.

Laryngitis is an inflammatory disease of the larynx, which takes place in acute or chronic form. Typical for such infectious diseases is irritation in the throat, its soreness, dry cough and hoarseness. Fortunately, such thickening or loss of voice are always only temporary.

After congestion of the vocal cords and in their diseases

Girl screams, strains her vocal cords
Thickening of the voice even after excessive strain. The vocal cords need to be rested. Photo: Thinkstock photos

Thickening of the voice can also occur when the vocal cords are overloaded or when the vocal cords are overworked for a short period of time. It often affects, for example, children who shout frequently and strain their still developing vocal cords.

This can also affect the development of their voice in the future. Not only is there a risk of temporary voice loss, but also problems with voice quality in adolescence and adulthood. In any case, this symptom should not be ignored unless it is a symptom of a respiratory disease.

It is important to rest the vocal cords after exertion or when ill. Otherwise, there is a risk of complications. Nodules, polyps or swelling of the vocal cords may form.

Tumour as a cause of thickening of the voice

Tumours in the oral cavity or even in the larynx sometimes cause thickening of the voice. They can also cause problems with pronunciation and painful swallowing. This is particularly typical if a tumour-like obstruction or even swelling forms in the throat.

The woman is holding her throat, it hurts
Throat pain, aggravated by swallowing, is also associated. Photo: Thinkstock photos

This, together with hoarseness, is a symptom, for example, of a tumour of the larynx, which can be malignant or benign. The most common type of tumour is a papilloma and is caused by the HPV virus. Children most often contract this type of virus from their mother and develop a benign tumour.

The malignant form has three forms, namely glotic, supraglotic and infraglotic. In each case, the tumour in the larynx threatens the patient, mainly by restricting food intake, but also breathing. Therefore, it must always be removed.

The vocal cords themselves can be affected by the oncological process. The main reason for this is smoking, but also prolonged exposure to irritants, gases.

Other causes of thickening of the voice

In addition to the above causes, there are others that are the cause of thickening of the voice. Not always it is just a disease. Among the most common causes of a rough voice are:

  • Medications (inhaled corticosteroids for lung disease and asthma)
  • allergies
  • post-operative conditions, but also damage during surgery
  • trauma
  • in addition to smoking, alcohol also contributes to thickening
  • polluted environment
  • dry throat, dry environment
  • psychogenic causes
  • gastroesophageal reflux
  • neurological causes, e.g. multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, after strokes
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