Throat polyps are the fleshy growths that occur on the vocal chords in the throat, which are neither cancerous nor associated with any particular disease or illness. More severe instances of throat polyps are called as polypoid degeneration or Reinke’s edema.
Throat polyps occur frequently among adults. They are more common among women aged between 20 and 50 and can appear on one or both vocal chords. In some cases, the throat polyps may be large and bulged, affecting the ability to speak and may cause airway obstruction.1
They usually disappear on their own without requiring any medical treatment. However, in severe cases, they may require medical treatment and can be cured completely. Since any abnormal growth on the vocal cords can cause damage, medical intervention must be sought at the earliest.
Symptoms Of Throat Polyps
The common symptoms of throat polyps may vary from person to person depending on the type and extent of the vocal abuse and they can take several days or even weeks to develop.2 The most common symptoms of throat polyps include,
- Voice that can be hoarse, breathy, rough, scratchy or harsh
- Throat pain
- Shooting pain from one part of the head to the other
- Lump sensation in the throat
- Voice fatigue
- Decrease in the range of the pitch
- Inability to speak
Causes Of Throat Polyps
The primary cause of throat polyps is vocal abuse. But, other factors mentioned below may also lead to vocal abuse and cause throat polyps.
- Long-term vocal abuse as occupational hazard
- Yelling, singing, coaching, screaming, cheerleading, or loud talking
- Prolonged and excessive smoking
- Single traumatic event to vocal chords
- Excessive alcohol and caffeine intake
- Thyroid problems (hypothyroidism)
- GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) and other digestive disorders
- Tense muscles
- Speaking excessively or yelling at concerts
- Improper pitch
- Using voice excessively and loud while sick (for example, in case of laryngitis)
Treatment For Throat Polyps
Medical, surgical and behavioral treatments are effective in treating throat polyps. Surgery is only used if a polyp becomes quite large or if it has been in place for a long time. Surgery is rarely performed on children. The common medical treatments that are used to treat polyps include,
Throat polyps can be surgically removed by a physician during a laryngoscopy. After the surgery, a voice therapy generally follows. They may even surgically remove the polyp to perform a biopsy test to ascertain if the throat polyps are a result of cancerous cells.
2. Voice Therapy
Voice therapy is crucial after any comprehensive surgical treatment for hoarseness. It is designed to reduce hoarseness through a guided change in vocal behaviors and lifestyle changes. It includes different tasks that help eliminate the harmful vocal behavior, improve healthy vocal habits, and assist vocal fold wound healing after surgery or injury.
3. Medical Interventions
Medical interventions are vital in reducing the impact of throat polyps on the vocal cords. The treatments for thyroid problems and allergies are also useful and medicals interventions that help stop smoking and control stress are also effective. Sometimes, an inhaled steroid spray is also used for treatment.
Home Remedies To Treat Throat Polyps
Sometimes, throat polyps may recur leading to chronic respiratory problems. Throat polyps can also be effectively treated with natural home remedies. Here are some common natural home remedies.
Goldenseal root has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic properties, all of which are essential in reducing tissue growth-induced pain and inflammation caused due to throat polyps. It also prevents scar formation after the polyps have subsided. It also contains strong antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agents called isoquinoline alkaloids. Drinking goldenseal root tea or inhaling the steam of this tea is also helpful. But, pregnant women must avoid this herb.
2. Red Raspberry Leaf
Red raspberry leaf is commonly used to treat menstruation problems. It is a natural astringent that helps shrink external and internal foreign tissue growth. Alternatively, you can also use red raspberry leaf extract to treat throat polyps.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil contains anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, which help cure the existing polyps and also prevents future recurrences and infections. Tea tree oil is applied topically to the affected parts. You may also add a few drops of tea tree oil into a pot of boiling water and inhale the steam, which helps shrink the throat polyps significantly.
Flaxseeds contain alpha linolic acid and omega-3 essential fatty acids, which strengthen the body and enhance the immune system. This helps fight foreign tissue growth. The seeds can be roasted, crushed into a powder and consumed directly or added to soups or dishes.
Garlic contains allicin that has strong anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Consuming garlic helps decrease the swelling and prevent the occurrence of polyps. Eat a few crushed garlic cloves along with your food or pop the garlic capsules if you dislike its smell.
Just like garlic, even onions are an effective home remedy for throat polyps. Onions contain antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agents that help reduce the swelling of throat polyps.
7. Castor Oil
Castor oil helps boost the immune system and prevents the occurrence of throat polyps and their symptoms. It also prevents further infections and treats throat polyps by reducing its size. Consuming a teaspoon of castor oil is one way to treat throat polyps.
8. Green Tea
Green tea contains an active ingredient called epigallocatechin-3-gallate, which blocks certain enzymes that are responsible for the growth of polyps. Drink 2-3 cups of green tea daily for best results.
9. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has various healing properties and has been used in many natural medications. Its detoxifying properties reduces mucus and prevents further sinusitis infection and recurrence of polyps. Drink a mixture of two tablespoons each of apple cider vinegar and honey with warm water 3-4 times a day or add a few drops of apple cider vinegar to boiling water and inhale the steam.
|↑1||Ahmad, Sidrah M., and Ahmed MS Soliman. “Airway obstruction: a rare complication of benign vocal fold polyps.” Annals of otology, rhinology & laryngology 117, no. 2 (2008): 106-109.|
|↑2||Jain, Sanjay, Ravi Varma, Biswajyoti Hazarika, Sultan Pradhan, and Asif Momin. “Reinke’s edema.” Indian Journal of Radiology & Imaging 19, no. 4 (2009).|