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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Doctor (MD)
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 11946
Experience:  U.S. Physician/Surgeon in Neurosurgery
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I just learned I have a cyst on my vocal cords. The doctor

Resolved Question:

I just learned I have a cyst on my vocal cords. The doctor said "voice abuse" is most likely the cause. He said we don't have to remove it. If I don't want it removed surgically, is there any other way to help get rid of it so I'm not hoarse...can they disappear on their own eventually like other cysts. He said it's a collection of mucus. Can I eat or drink or take any special vitamin supplements to help?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 9 years ago.
These "vocal cord polyps" are often due to voice "abuse" - e.g. shouting or prolonged singing, yelling, that puts strain on the vocal cords.

The treatment is to avoid whatever you feel was the cause of the cyst/polyp; if you had been yelling and shouting at the TV for the Olympic games, stop it. If you smoke, stop.

Many of these cysts will gradually improve with time, as long as the voice isn't stressed, but voice rest is pretty much the only treatment, besides surgical excision. There aren't any special diets or vitamins that you can take to help this process - it is just resting the vocal cords and letting the inflammation work itself out.

You may want to see a speech therapist to see if there can be any other ways to talk with "less stress" on your vocal cords, if you need to continue speaking for your job.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
I find it difficult to believe that there are not any foods, vitamins, or natural health aids which prevent/eliminate cysts. Does "gradually improve" mean disappear? Aren't there any other ways (like hot tea, icecubes, etc.) to assist with the inflammation? I'm not comfortable with the answer "just work itself out"....what does that mean?
Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 9 years ago.
Hot tea, ice cubes, etc will not affect the vocal cords. All of those liquids/foods travel down the esophagus and never see the vocal cords - which is in the trachea, and any foods down the trachea can cause choking, lung infections etc.

If there were special diets or vitamins that could eliminate cysts, they would be a part of the standard medical treatment for cysts; unfortunately, no such treatment exists.

Gradually improve means get smaller, but there is no guarantee with vocal cord polyps that they will completely disappear; often times surgery is needed to fully remove the cyst off of the vocal cord. Unforutnately, the best treatment is still to avoid the behavior that cases the cyst to form in the first place.
Customer: replied 9 years ago.

My doc said the surgery is only about 35 minutes but my whole body would hurt the following day because they need to "relax" all of my muscles during surgery. In your opinion, what's the downside of this surgery and how would you describe the recovery. Appears this is the only way to completely eliminate problem, correct? Once removed, what are the chances of it reappearing or forming another one somewhere else?

Expert:  Dr. Mark replied 9 years ago.
The recovery for this surgery is actually very quick. You will probably be directed to some post-surgical "voice" therapy to teach you how to speak and prevent these cysts from recurring.

The "aching" in the muscles post-surgery is not seen in all people, but can be a result of the special anesthetic (muscle paralytic) that is used in surgery. Most people will also have a "sore throat" for several days afterwards.

And this is the only way to definitively treat a vocal cord polyp/cyst. When removed, it is gone. Of course, no one can guarantee that another one will reappear, but as long as you avoid the activity that precipitated this one (the "voice abuse", smoking, etc), they hopefully will not recur.
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