Voice & Swallowing Services
Though we often take our ability to eat and speak for granted, many people have difficulty with these tasks and may experience pain, discomfort and lack of control when trying to speak. Voice and swallowing problems can develop as a result of aging, overuse, surgery, smoking, or throat cancer, and may include laryngitis, spasmodic dysphonia, vocal cord paralysis, cancer of the vocal cord, benign growths and more.
Dr. Brian Lee provides comprehensive diagnostic and treatment services for a wide range of voice and swallowing disorders and is specially trained to help you restore function to your voice.
While many of these problems accompany a cold or other minor conditions, some are chronic and may require special management to control or cure the condition. Patients may benefit from voice therapy, medicine or surgery, depending on their individual condition. It is also important for patients to protect their voice by practicing breathing techniques, avoiding smoking, alcohol and caffeine and by drinking plenty of water.
Evaluation of Hoarseness
Hoarseness refers to any abnormality of the voice. It can manifest as changes in vocal characteristics resulting in a breathy, rough, raspy or strained quality with differences in vocal projection or pitch. These changes can occur as a result of many different causes, both acute and chronic. Conditions include laryngitis or inflammation of the vocal folds, laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR, acid reflux), vocal overuse, muscle tension and vocal fold masses (polyps, cysts, nodules).
Most treatment is conservative and involves medication, speech and/or singing voice therapy and temporary modifications in voice use. Even with conservative management, some conditions will require surgery. Our specially trained physician, Dr. Brian Lee, has extensive experience in treating these conditions and will make every effort to ensure the best possible result so our patients can resume their normal professional and social activities as soon as possible.
Evaluation of Swallowing Disorders
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), commonly known as acid reflux, are acute or chronic conditions associated with frequent heartburn, cough, throat clearing, dysphagia or difficulty swallowing, dyspnea or difficulty breathing, choking and/or hoarseness. GERD occurs when acidic content from the stomach regurgitates, or refluxes, into the esophagus, larynx or trachea causing inflammation or damage to these structures.
The cause of GERD is unknown, but doctors believe it is the result of multiple factors. Some contributing factors include abnormal movement in the lower esophageal sphincter, a hiatal hernia, poor eating habits, and/or a poor diet. Heartburn, nausea, and difficulty swallowing are common symptoms of GERD.
Some patients with GERD may also experience LPR, which occurs as acid from the stomach rises to the esophagus and enters the back of the throat. Patients suffering from LPR often report a bitter taste in their mouth, hoarseness and the feeling that mucus or phlegm is caught in the back of their throat. In some cases, LPR can cause breathing difficulties. LPR may also be a contributing factor in the development of laryngeal cancer.
GERD and LPR can often be treated through lifstylee changes and medication. Surgery may be required for more severe cases. Dr. Lee can determine the most effective treatment option for your LPR or GERD symptoms at our office.
To learn more about Voice & Swallowing Services, please contact us at (480) 994-0308 today to schedule an appointment.