Typically, hoarseness develops because your vocal cords have become swollen, or even thanks to lumps that develop there. In some cases, you will need to see a doctor in order to treat the condition by determining and caring for its underlying cause. In other cases, however, hoarseness may be a temporary and minor condition caused by overuse or a respiratory infection, such as the common cold. In such cases, your options typically include resting your voice, keeping your environment from becoming too dry, and keeping your body hydrated. Throat lozenges may help as well.
You may need to see a doctor if you experience hoarseness for more than just a few days. This is due to the fact that it can sometimes be caused by the formation of polyps or lumps in your throat. You may also develop it because of a condition that affects the brain or nerves or even in relation to chronic heartburn. Sometimes, it is even caused by cancer. To rule out these conditions and treat hoarseness that lingers, you may need to see an ear, nose, or throat specialist for diagnosis and treatment, which may include medication and surgery.
Fortunately, most cases of hoarseness are caused by simple overuse. For example, you may become hoarse after shouting at a sporting event or concert. You may also develop hoarseness in relation to a cold, the flu, or another type of respiratory infection. Sometimes allergies may even be at fault.
The most effective method used to treat minor hoarseness is usually resting your voice. You may also benefit, however, by sucking on throat lozenges and drinking plenty of liquids. Some people find decaffeinated hot tea and soups particularly helpful. In most cases, it is beneficial to avoid drinking caffeinated and alcoholic beverages when you are hoarse, as they have a dehydrating effect.
Keeping your throat from becoming too dry may help when you are dealing with hoarseness. As such, you may find it helpful to use a humidifier to provide symptom relief. Additionally, you may spend time in a bathroom with hot water running in the shower; this creates steam that may soothe your throat. You may also enjoy the same effect by breathing vapors from a steamy pot or bowl of water. If you choose to try this, placing a towel over your head may help keep the steam concentrated in one area as you hold your head over the bowl.