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voice loss because of allergies
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jd11103 posted:
I lose my voice any time I have drainage from allergies or get sick. I had my tonsils removed in April 2007 since I would get strep throat and sinus infections every 4 weeks. Having this surgery did help me from getting sick so much. Then, me losing my voice started being a problem. in Feb 2008 my ENT Dr. diagnosised it as silent acid reflux and started me on medication for acid reflux and kept me on Xyzal. I still kept losing my voice and this has started to interfere with my job where my voice is very important for many safety reasons.

I can have my voice gone from at least 3 days to 2 weeks. Back in Feb 2008, it was gone for 6 weeks!! Now, the doctor says that the acid reflux has cleared up, but my larynx is still really damaged, swollen, irritated and red looking still. So, I am now going to get allergy tested and also see a speech therapist to learn how to use the correct muscles to talk.

My problem is that I am 26 years old and I have been compared to a 80 year old lady who drinks black coffee. Every one knows who I am since my voice, and no one can really understand what I am going through. When I do lose my voice, the dr says just drink cold drinks, since its allergies, they are unable to give me steroid shots to help me get better faster.

I am looking for advice on what can this be. Looking for something kind of answer other than I don't know. They have now diagnosised me with Muscle Tension Dysphonia. I get allergy tested this friday for indoor/outdoor and food allergies. So, I am hoping for some kind of answer. I am very frustrated, I have a 4 yr that tells me that I should save my batteries on my voice. My dog doesn't listen, thank goodness for hand commands.

I am afraid that this problem will not get fixed and I could do permanent damage to my vocal cords, and lose my voice completly. I have cut my stress level in half with putting a hold on school and limiting extra curricular activties.

I just am at a loss of what to do, my job duties are cut down, since I have no voice to a harsh rasp and have had several complaints on not being able to hear me. My job could be at stake, but talking is a communication that we all must have.
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jd11103 responded:
I forgot to mention that I always have a sore throat all the time. It begins to hurt more when I am about to lose my voice.

-jd11103-
 
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Aqua14 responded:
I can relate to this issue and sympathize with you, since I've experienced frequent hoarseness both due to allergies and to reflux. It's something that's hard to deal with, both physically and psychologically, because talking is so important in our lives.

First, on the allergies issue: it's a great idea to get allergy tested. Once you know for sure what you're allergic to, there's a lot you can do to cut down on your exposure to known allergens, and reducing your allergen exposure will help your voice. Also, hopefully an allergist is doing the allergy testing and can evaluate whether only Xyzal alone is enough medication to truly control your allergies. Many allergic people take two or three allergy meds daily (or during their allergy season) in order to feel their best. (For example -- an antihistamine or antihistamine/decongestant combo, nasal steroid, antihistamine eye drop, Singulair, etc.) If you have multiple allergies, it would be a good idea to think about allergy shots, since in the long term they will reduce your allergies. The doctor who says "just drink cold drinks" -- you need to get rid of that guy, since he's not dedicated to helping you and doesn't have a clue. Once you can cut down on the post nasal drip and consequent inflammation of the nasal and throat tissues (especially by use of allergy meds) that should help tremendously.

On the reflux: Have you done all the lifestyle changes necessary to manage reflux? -- the GERD diet, raising the head of your bed, not eating within 2-3 hours of bedtime, sleeping on your left side, losing weight if necessary, etc.? Continuing to practice those good habits is also key to keeping reflux at bay. It would be a good idea to get evaluated by a gastroenterologist (GI doc) as they are the most skilled in reflux diagnosis and management and damage to the esophagus and related areas due to reflux.

Hopefully if you seek second opinions from different specialists, they will take a fresh view of your situation and have additional options to explore with you. You also might take things into your own hands and do some Internet research on the common causes of hoarseness, in order to get some ideas to discuss with your docs.

Take care and good luck. Judy
 
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cheybug5 responded:
I am reading this and I am in shock, I have been suffering from voice loss with no proven reason for about 22 years. It happens in the fall and last 2 weeks to 4 months. I have been to numberous ENT's and nobody seems to help. The one I see now I have been going to for 3 years, I changed drs because it seemed like I was getting no answers. This dr now scopes me everytime I go in, he believes it is GERD (silent), I am not sold on it, this only happens in fall. I have never had issues with heartburn or any symptoms of GERD He only puts me on medicine for GERD, I currently am on Zenegrid, it has been 3 weeks and still no voice. I am not a yeller or over user of my voice. I am a teacher and this makes it very hard, the dr always wants me to take off work and this is the first time I did take time off and no difference. I feel like I am pulling a straws but need some help on what to do now!! HELP!!!!
 
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Aqua14 responded:
The seasonal pattern to your voice loss could certainly point to allergies (particularly to weed pollen, such as ragweed, depending on your area of the country). ENTs are surgeons first and foremost and would likely miss allergies as a possible diagnosis.

You could do a little test on your own before you go to an allergist. Try a week of taking an adult dose of Zyrtec every day, plus twice-daily saline sinus rinses (you can buy a NeilMed kit at the drug store). [I post links to more information on saline sinus rinses below.> The point with the saline sinus rinse is to wash any allergens out of your nose, which will reduce symptoms. If this regime done faithfully every day for a week helps even a little bit, then going to see an allergist would be a very good idea. An allergist would allergy test you and prescribe the best medications to help you keep your voice.

I sympathize with you, because it's very difficult to have no voice (or a hoarse voice) and carry on with a normal life, particularly in your career.

One other consideration on the silent GERD: in my experience, GERD tends to flare when stress is high. Could it be that in entering a new school year, your stress temporarily rockets up, and then reduces once you "settle in" to the school year? Just a thought. If you think this is a valid idea, then you may want to pursue relaxation techniques and treatments such as massage, yoga and meditation, to reduce your stress in the fall.

Good luck to you. Judy

  • ************************ Links to information on saline sinus rinses:

    www.aaaai.org/patients/publicedmat/sinusitis/rinse.stm www.nationaljewish.org/healthinfo/medications/lung-diseases/alternative/nasal-wash-treatment.aspx en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nasal_irrigation
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    Nmb12 responded:
    I have allergies for about 10 years,& I was in my early 50's & I've probably had them for many years or so but didn't think anything of it til we moved away from the house we were in, my allergies are year around & i can tell you when there is a change in the weather most of the time as my sinuses hurt but I've never had a problem with losing my voice & I also have GERD, & I was told that asthma & GERD definitely the other, I had some real bad attacks before I was dignosed with GERD & allergies. & during these heartburn attacks I'd get at times where I had a very hard breathing & having to take real deep breathes whic scared me to death as I didn't know what I was dealing with at the time, I've learned the hard way that if you don'et eat 2-3 hrs before going to bed you're better off, sleeping on the left side I never heard of that but I sleep on my right side & it does the same thing as the left, I've also been on allergy shots & they are worth every penny I can also tell when it's time as the sneezing starts at least a week before.

    I don't know how stress can effect heartburn unless you eat more becasue of the stress which a lot of people do, I also have heard is that if it isn't taken care it can go into cancer I've read this somewhere & have heard also I know that you can have a scope put down your throat to be checked a gal I worked with, her husband had that done & he hasn't had any problems with it as far a I know. Neither one is fun to deal with baut dealing with them is the best way & finding out what is wrong is the easiest way then you know how to deal with things.
     
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    chocolatemintpie responded:
    Are you using inhalers? I used Advair and kept losing my voice. The doctor told me it was irritating my vocal cords but I would have to live with it! I stopped using it and my voice went from squeaky or no voice at all back to normal again.
     
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    Minamommy responded:
    Wow! I have been struggling with this for several years, exactly! Tonsils removed, diagnosed with reflux, when it didn't get better they increased the reflux med. dose. Multiple doctors and many tests later I really had very little help resolve and ended up on medications for all the possible reasons listed for laryngitis (asthma, allergies, reflux, or virus). Basically I was on medications for asthma, allergies and reflux. I was tested for allergies and did test positive for many common allergens, grass, pollen, ragweed, cat dander, mold, dust mites, etc. However, I still did not get any resolve for the chronic laryngitis. I have been tested for asthma and although it was negative, some of the asthma medications did give me some resolve. I do have mild gastric reflux and decided to stay on reflux meds. (nexium 1x daily). I take 1 zyrtec daily since I did test positive for a lot of seasonal/ outdoor allergies. I did find a terrific doctor who is a pulmonologist that works a lot with coughs and laryngitis. Everyday, year round i use Nasonex (2 puffs per nostril morning & night) and Symbicort inhaler with a spacer (2 puffs morning & night). I have found this regimen to give me the most relief. The key is that most of year I don't get flare ups but still need to maintain this or my flare ups will be worse and longer. I have been in the midst of a flare up since early Oct. and seems to be peaking/ worst now. I have been neglecting the regimen for the past several months sine I seemed better with no flare ups. In all my internet searching you are the first case I have read similar to my own. I only wish you had advice to give me, LOL. Anyway, this has been the longest I have gone without incident (until now) due to the meds I mentioned. Good luck and post if you find anything that works for you as well as if this regimen of meds help you!!
     
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    Balasada responded:
    Hi, I have been on allergy shots since 1995 and had 4 doctors. After many sinus infections and too many antibiotics I was tired of sinus problems. Because of the antibiotics my stomach is in bad shape. My current allergist suggested nasal irrigation to keep my sinus issues at bay. And after one year it worked. No infections at all. There are many web sites on this subject. A Neti Pot is widely mentioned but I went the way of a bulb syringe as my savior, I mix a little salt and a pinch of baking soda in 2 cups of luke warm water. I use the 3oz bulb syringe on both sides until the water is used up. I use the video presentation on the Mayo Clinic web site for my irrigation. At first it my feel a little weird but you can get over it. The main key is not too much salt or it can make your sinuses burn a little and that is why they recommend using baking soda. I also continue to get my allergy shots and use my 2 nasal sprays. I also need a Sudafed during the oak season since I live in the oak capital Orlando, Fl Hope this helps
     
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    Aqua14 responded:
    There are a lot of different kinds of asthma inhalers and sometimes you just have to try different ones to see which ones won't affect your voice. When I was on Asmanex and Foradil (both dry powder inhalers), I became very hoarse. When I switched to Symbicort (which is a "wet" HFA inhaler) at my allergist's suggestion, my voice became normal, and plus my lung function improved 40%.

    You may want to get a different doctor to monitor your asthma, and do try Symbicort as an alternative for Advair. I'm not the only person with asthma who has had extremely good luck with Symbicort.

    Hope this helps. Judy
     
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    MrsBly81 responded:
    I used to suffer greatly from dust, mold, tree, grass & chemical allergies. I suffered from repeated sinus infections for years until I started a daily/nightly routine of Nasal Saline Spray. Over time the infections stopped and so did the post nasal drip problem. I found post nasal drip to be very irritating to my throat and it would cause night coughing. Post nasal drip also caused stomach upset. During sinus infections I noticed more indigestion problems. Taking Papaya pills and using Yakult drinks helped. Some also say using a nettie pot helped to heal their sinuses.

    You will know better how to control your allergies once they are identified. My allergies also were controlled by eliminating any chemicals or perfumes used in my home. They were the source of my headaches. Also use fragrance free detergent. If dust allergies are your problem, the bed one of the leading places to be exposed to dust mites. Keep sheets and pillows clean by weekly washing in hot water. For dust allergies change filters and clean central air system yearly. Keep your car detailed and the interior free of dust or scents. Also keep car air conditioning on recycled air, avoiding outside irritants. Wet dust in the home using a natural cleanser.

    I drink hot green tea nightly and drink plenty of water. Now I no longer suffer from morning headaches or stuffiness. For sore throats, gargling with warm salt water brings relief. I am now almost medication free by using natural methods and controlling my environment. Only occasionally in high allergy seasons I have to use medication like Becanase. Keeping a journal of your symptoms may help you. I had to figure out my triggers in order to control and address my allergies. I hope you find relief soon.
     
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    histaminelady responded:
    Get tested for Histamines. If you have histamine intolerance then you might have what I have. Sore throat, more and more, raspy, allergy like symptoms (not alergies but histamine intolerance). If it is that , try taking Histame (mail order only so far in the USA). Also gargle with salt water many times a day, and taking Oscillococcium (homeopathic). I do not know how much you can take and how often...ask the homeopath
     
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    allergystu replied to jd11103's response:
    I can certainly relate to jd11103's post. Not being able to speak is one of the most isolating and depressing things and affects the quality of life in so many ways. I grew up in the northeast and moved to arizona about 12 years ago. I was diagnosed with asthma as a kid, with allergies to cats, dogs, and the like. On inhalers most of the year back east and got sick with colds and flu's every winter. My first few years in arizona were bliss. no inhaler needed, breathing great, and didn't get colds or flus. About 4 years ago i came down with an unreal case of acute laryngitis that progressed to chronic, then developed into tonsillitis and I subsequently had my tonsils removed at the recommendation of my ENT at the time. Though the tonsillectomy helped slightly, I was still becoming hoarse and my throat began to hurt as my work day progressed. With an office job that requires speaking, this was certainly an alarming development. I tried the GERD meds too..stopped eating 4 hrs before bedtime and slept with head elevated, blah, blah. no luck. Gargling with salt water, neti pots with liquid steriods, antibiotics and prednisone galore, singulair, antihistmaines, and still no luck. I then sought a new ENT and to my dismay, he discovered nasal polyps and recommended endoscopic sinus surgery to remove the polyps. That surgery was in January 2011 and still has not helped the hoarseness. To make matters worse, I used to sing, but sadly I can no longer do that, as my voice gives out and becomes reduced to a whisper, begins to burn, and gets sore when i speak or try to sing for any reasonable period of time. Swallowing is also quite an adventure. It's now time to see an allergist, and in fact, its probably where i should have started 4 years ago. but life is learning. All i can say is never give up. You spoke once before, you will speak again. I thought I was the only one going through this type of thing. Its good to know that im not alone and that yes, there is hope out there for all of us
     
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    dorothy3574 replied to allergystu's response:
    Wow, so glad to read that other people are suffering from vocal loss as well. I am a music teacher/singer, only 30 years old, and lose my voice for long periods of time - sometimes months. My singing voice is the first to go (upper register) and then my speaking voice will disappear on certain days as well. I have been to EVERY kind of doctor - ENTs (tried Nexium for a while with no result), allergy doctors (did not test positive for ANY allergies), acupuncture, pulmonologist, speech therapy, chiropractor. So far nothing has helped. Vocal rest helps sometimes but with 3 small children at home and a full time teaching career, that is not realistic for me.

    I have periods of the year when I have full voice and others when I am "touch and go" for months at a time. Also, there are times when I am resting (like over the summer) and lose my voice for no reason and other times when my vocal load is crazy (like over the holidays when I have concerts and recitals) and my voice is great! So I don't really attribute this to vocal abuse/misuse.

    Please write in if anyone has any more suggestions!! Very frustrating and upsetting!
     
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    YPett replied to dorothy3574's response:
    Chemical reactions build
    immune system with natural herbs and extreme exercise. Chemical sensitivity. Less chemical in the home, perfume deodorants, detergetns etc...


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