You sound a bit hoarse, your windpipe feels dry, and you have frequent urges to clear your throat. Those are common enough sensations. But habitual throat clearing may be a sign to check with an otolaryngologist, a specialist in ear, nose and throat care, to sleuth out the cause and determine treatments for whatever may be damaging your throat and voice.
Seeing a physician is especially important if your hoarseness lasts more than three weeks or your voice severely changes (or disappears) for more than a few days. Culprits may include heartburn (gastroesophageal reflux), allergies, thyroid problems, neurological disorders, vocal cord nodules or trauma to your voice box any of which might benefit from medical treatment.
You’ll also receive careful diagnosis and treatment from otolaryngologists in the Sutter Health network for recurrent tonsillitis or sleep disruptors like snoring and sleep apnea.
Dysphagia, or trouble swallowing, could be caused by stoke, cerebral palsy, Parkinson's Disease or Zenker's diverticulum, which is when a pocket forms in the esophagus trapping food. If you're experiencing dysphagia, don't suffer in silence. Therapists can evaluate and assess your condition by watching you swallow various foods and liquids. You also might have a modified barium swallow, an X-ray test that helps see which muscles or bones are performing abnormally. Your physician will then work with you to develop a personal treatment plan, including exercises to improve your mouth and throat’s ability to move food or liquid and to close airways while you swallow.