I’m Hoarse and I Can’t Swallow

Take a minute to see if these symptoms sound familiar – as they can be a sign of something dangerous.

Take a minute to see if these symptoms sound familiar – as they can be a sign of something dangerous.

  • It has been a more than a month and my voice has felt hoarse almost the entire time.
  • My voice could be described as raspy and seems to weaken easily. 
  • I have trouble swallowing.  I feel as if food is getting stuck in my throat when I eat.
    Swallowing has become such a challenge that I even choke and cough when I drink water – it feels like the water is going down the wrong tube. 
  • I have been experiencing weight loss and I believe it’s due to my difficulty in swallowing.

But the thing is…I don’t have a sore throat or a fever.  Am I really sick?  Do I need to see a doctor?

In my professional opinion – you need to see a doctor…and quickly too.

Chronic hoarseness alone can be a due to overuse of one’s voice, infection, acid reflux disease, neurological problems and in more rare situations, tumors.

Swallowing problems on their own can also be the result of infections, acid reflux disease, neurological disease, and in rare situations, tumors.

However, both hoarseness and swallowing problems experienced at the same time (for more than 6 weeks) are generally the result of a neurological disease. Also, these symptoms can sometimes be caused by tumors in the head and neck. This is why the symptoms listed above are very serious and can be the sign of a dangerous illness.

ENT doctors diagnose a tumor in the head and neck or a neurological disease during a thorough in-office examination, often followed by sophisticated imaging studies such as CT scans and/or MRI’s.

The take-home message here is that if it has been well over a month and you, or someone you know, has been suffering from hoarseness or a weak voice with difficulty swallowing – see the doctor immediately.

It may save a life.

For more information, please visit www.voiceandswallowing.com

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