Since mid May I've been battling voice loss. I haven't been able to sing fully since then, and now it is becoming painful to speak at times. It's been 5 months now. My vocal chords are pink and inflamed, and I have pre-nodules (small bumps) developing on them. Can anyone offer any new advice?
The doctors think it could be caused by: Allergies, or Reflux.
Allergies: No allergy symptoms at all. I had been taking Zyrtec every day for months, but for fear of it drying out my vocal chords, I switched to Flonase. I moved during the Summer, and the problem hasn't changed. So it's not the environment. Besides voice loss, no allergy symptoms.
Reflux: Besides voice loss, no other symptoms. I have been avoiding spicy foods and stopped eating late. I don't drink sodas, caffeine, etc. I sleep at a slant. I have been taking omeprazole (Prilosec) twice daily. Again, I don't feel heartburn etc, but I take the medication because my doctor thinks it COULD be the cause.
I have also been on Prednisone (steroid for swelling) to decrease the swelling of my vocal chords. Has not done much to help. I avoid smokey environments and places where I have to raise my voice. Drinking LOTS of water. I have kept myself from singing for weeks, and besides work, I have forced myself to stay indoors so I can keep resting my voice. I am looking into getting the Allergy shot so I can remove allergies as a possible symptom, but besides that I have tried everything.
I am confident it wasn't my singing that caused this problem. My vocal coach is the one that all the doctors refer to when having voice difficulties or misuse. My current doctor even complimented me on my technique and how it wasn't hurting me.
If anyone has other medical advice, or knows someone who might know something, please help!
I'm not a health professional so take my comments as a patient, not a healer, and I could be way off base.
I'd strongly suggest you contact a Gastrointerologist and have an endoscopy as a start. Also, there is a nasty little procedure done by ENT's where they drop scopes down your nose and ask you to sing, say the vowel song.
I had it done as my voice simply went from a nice deep base to sounding like Kim Carnes. I can't sing a lick, but used to have a great speaking voice. Turns out I had silent acid reflux caused by damage to my LES valve, long story. Once that was fixed, my voice stabilized. It isn't an easy answer, but sure sounds like you should actively chase an answer. Also, check with your dental hygienist to see if enamel is eroding. Keep us informed.
Perhaps you can use Chris Kresser's approach to reflux. Basically it's about gettig more stomach acid so the esophageal sphincter closes: Cutting away carbs and eating HCL pills. I am having some sucess with it although using it for another purpose. Google his Gerd and heartburn article, give it two weeks and check to see if you feel better. And don't forget to write about any positive results in here ;-).
There are so many causes for acid reflex damage, there are no real internet cures. For example, I had a bowel obstruction that caused some very violent vomiting, which literally destroyed my LES valve, allowing acid to enter my stomach. In a very short period of time, the enamel of my teeth started dissolving, think a couple of weeks, and my vocal chords simply burned up. Surgery relieved the situation (Nissen Fundoplication), I had my teeth re-enameled at a very high cost, and I can talk again. I guess people that toss their dinner on purpose get this, that certainly wasn't my problem.
Beware of internet cures and nostrums, see a doctor, get the tests, and deal with your issues at a profressional level is my suggestion. Keep us informed.
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