Fill Out Your Profile to share more about you. Learn more...

What could be causing hoarseness in my voice?

Options

I know I should probably just get this checked out, but I haven't yet, and it's been on my mind enough to want ask my BCO friends if anyone else has experienced this.  In the past two or three weeks, my voice gets really hoarse with some regularity, like maybe two or three times a day.  My DH recently commented that he's noticed it, too.  I'll just be speaking, and all of a sudden I'll get very hoarse and have to clear my throat to get it back to normal. I don't have a cold or congestion, so of course, all sorts of weird thoughts have gone through my head as to what's causing it, from a lack of estrogen (?) to some sort of latent damage from rads, to something far more onminous.  Before I ask a doctor, I'm just curious if anyone else here has experienced anything like this or might have any ideas of what's causing it.

Comments

  • jelson
    jelson Member Posts: 622
    edited February 2010
    Options

    I had hoarseness which was caused by a thyroid nodule pressing against my vocal chords. The hoarseness ended when the thyroid/nodule shifted after it was needle biopsied (before it ended up being surgically removed). More recently I went to the ent with a symptom of hoarseness. He looked at my vocal chords and said they were not vibrating as fast as they probably used to - that this was a normal aging thing. I got rather hysterical because I realized - this was the solution to a great mystery how old lady's get their old lady voices!

    A virus can also cause hoarseness. Do see a doctor, why continue to worry?

    Julie E

  • dlb823
    dlb823 Member Posts: 2,701
    edited February 2010
    Options

    Interesting about the thyroid nodule.  I actually had surgery for one of those quite a few years ago, when I was in my early 20's, although I don't recall being hoarse at the time, just having a noticeable lump.  I suppose I could have something brewing there again.  But the aging factor also sounds plausible because extremely low estrogen, which I now have thanks to bc tx, could actually be part of the reason for that in elderly women.  Oh, great... 

    Oh, well, I guess I'd be more upset about developing a geriatric voice or the possibility of a thyroid problem if I hadn't just had bc.  But at this point, either one of those explanations is preferable to some of the other fears that have crossed my mind.  Thanks for your input!    Deanna

  • dlb823
    dlb823 Member Posts: 2,701
    edited February 2010
    Options

    That's something I never would have thought of, JO.  I've never had acid reflux or any digestive problems, but if Arimidex can cause that, maybe the natural aromatese inhibitor I'm taking (I3C) can as well.   When you had your problem, was the hoarseness fleeting or constant?  My voice will suddenly crack and get extremely hoarse, but as soon as I clear my throat, it's gone until the next time it happens.  Is that what yours was doing, or was your acid reflex caused hoarseness more constant?    Deanna

  • Mouser
    Mouser Member Posts: 8
    edited February 2010
    Options

    Acid reflux -- do check it out!

    I started coughing in October - nothing really bad, but it just kept up, and after Thanksgiving i went to the doctor. First was a lung X-ray, which showed nothing; two was a course of antibiotics; three was a one week trial of a stronger-than-my-usual antihistamine. No change. Six weeks of a proton pump inhibitor finally cured the cough - as long as i am careful about what i eat...... i *never* had heartburn! But my doctor did say that 60% of unexplained cough is due to reflux, and a friend of mine was hoarse with it - so check it out sooner rather than later. It's not hard to treat, and not as bad as some of the alternatives (i did smoke for 15 yrs.) 

  • carcharm
    carcharm Member Posts: 13
    edited February 2010
    Options

    OK this is kind of gross but do you stil  have your tonsils? People can develop things called tonsilliths which are a mixture of post nasal drip and bacteria that get stuck in the crypts of your tonsils. Do you feel like you have something in your throat? Do you see a yellow/white spot on your tonsils? These can cuase you to have hoarseness until they come out.

  • dlb823
    dlb823 Member Posts: 2,701
    edited March 2010
    Options

    I really appreciate everyone's input.  I don't have a cough, Mouser, but I do have just a slight sore throat at times, which is why I've also wondered if it was some sort of damage from rads.  I take plenty of antioxidants, including lots of C, so normally don't ever have a sore throat.  And carcharm, I had my tonsils out years ago, but I can see how that would be a possible cause for someone who still has them.  Hopefor30, it's interesting that you, too, bring up thyroid as a possibility.  I know my T3 & T4 are "normal," but I still take just a small amount of Iodoral (I'm a big believer in supplements and think that many of our "normal" function levels are too low for optimum health).  But since two of you have brought up thyroid, I'll definitely get mine rechecked, especially since I had an issue with it in the past.      Deanna

  • bcincolorado
    bcincolorado Member Posts: 4,696
    edited March 2010
    Options

    My voice gets hoarse at times as well.  I talk on the phone quite a bit at work.  I think it is just that I can't take big breaths yet to fill my lungs beause of the TE in place.  I have my stupid spirometer by my bed and try to work on it each night before bed to increase my lung capacity.

    Maybe you are in a similar situation? I also have no cold, 

  • Coraltina
    Coraltina Member Posts: 1
    edited March 2010
    Options

    A couple of years ago I had a cyst on my vocal cord removed.  My symptoms first began with hoarseness, and then got worse.  I went to see a specialist, fearful that it had something to do with cancer.  I was relieved to find out that it was not cancer.  The surgery to have the cyst removed was not a problem.  The problem was that I was ordered not to speak for one week, which was hard, but I survived.  It took some time to get my voice back strong, but it's pretty much ok now.  Hope that helps.  Don't be afraid to go see a ear/nose/throat specialist.  Hope that helps.

  • debbie6122
    debbie6122 Member Posts: 2,935
    edited March 2010
    Options

    Deanna- I had and still have the same exact problem, I asked my onc about it, she checked my throat and had previously run blood test on me and said my thyroid was find, she said it was probably eating to much dairy, I dont drink very much milk but love cheese and other dairy products, she also mentioned it may be just allergies- Hope every thing come out ok when you get it checked out

    debbie

  • dlb823
    dlb823 Member Posts: 2,701
    edited March 2010
    Options

    Thank you all for the continuing input.  It's a relief to know that there are several non-bc related things that could be causing my intermittent hoarseness.  Debbie, I've cut way back on dairy since my bc dx (per recommendations by Dr. Servan-Schreiber in Anti-Cancer, a New Way of Life and Dr. T. Colin Campbell in The China Study).  However, I suppose that could make me more sensitive to it when I occasionally do eat it, as I have recently.  I'll have to watch and see if there's any correlation.  And Coraltina, I never would have thought about a cyst, but I've had them other places (like in my reconstructed breast), so why not on a vocal cord?  And bcincolorado, that spirometer sounds painful to use with an expander.  Is that par for that type of reconstruction?  I didn't do expanders (I had a Diep) so have just never heard of it.  Deanna

  • jezzy234
    jezzy234 Member Posts: 127
    edited August 2011
    Options

    I just discovered this thread and I have to say, I am dealing with hoarseness- I did have two ultrasounds done on my thyroid and the doc found a cysts and told me I have Hashimotos and I will have cysts that come and go all the time.  He said - yup you will have a hoarse voice.  Actually it is sort of like I just want to clear my throat all the time.......Lately, though, I have had an ear ache.   I was going to wait until I see the thyroid doc  in the fall, but I may just ring him up this week.  I don't like the hoarse voice and ear ache combo.

  • rholxx
    rholxx Member Posts: 5
    edited January 2022
    Options

    Do you still have hoarseness at times? I’m taking Letrozole for almost 2 years and started hoarseness about one year ago. I don’t knowif it’s related?

  • minustwo
    minustwo Member Posts: 13,077
    edited January 2022
    Options

    rholxx - it's unlikely you'll get an answer since the posts on this thread were from 2010, with only one in 2011. I'm answering so it will bump to the top again and maybe someone new will have ideas.

  • beesie.is.out-of-office
    beesie.is.out-of-office Member Posts: 1,435
    edited January 2022
    Options

    rholxx, why don't you ask the question in the other thread about Femara/Letrozole? It's an active thread.

    https://community.breastcancer.org/forum/78/topics/726592

  • exbrnxgrl
    exbrnxgrl Member Posts: 4,746
    edited January 2022
    Options

    Sadly, the op, dlb823, passed away a few years ago. I still miss Deanna.

  • betrayal
    betrayal Member Posts: 2,104
    edited January 2022
    Options

    Have you been evaluated for GERD? Not everyone develops heartburn with GERD and hoarseness can be a symptom of GERD because the reflux irritates the vocal cords.

  • rholxx
    rholxx Member Posts: 5
    edited January 2022
    Options
    MinusTwo I am new to here, I will try to post a new thread. Thank you for your suggestion.
  • rholxx
    rholxx Member Posts: 5
    edited January 2022
    Options
    Beesie, I will try that. Thank you.
  • rholxx
    rholxx Member Posts: 5
    edited January 2022
    Options
    exbrnxgrl I am so sorry to hear that.
  • rholxx
    rholxx Member Posts: 5
    edited January 2022
    Options
    Betrayal Thank you. My doctor said it could be GERD, but he didn't do any test so I am not sure.
  • claireinaz
    claireinaz Member Posts: 679
    edited February 2022
    Options

    I miss Deanna, too. She was a great support to me and voice of reason.

  • jons_girl
    jons_girl Member Posts: 444
    edited March 2022
    Options

    I don't know if this infowould be helpful. But a paralysed vocal cord can cause that too. A virus can cause the cord to paralyze. We don't know for sure what caused mine. But I have it. Having a pretty simpletest by a ear nose and throat Dr can check if that's what it is.

  • aprilgirl1
    aprilgirl1 Member Posts: 757
    edited March 2022
    Options

    yes - and a paralyzed vocal cord can be caused by distant metastasized breast cancer which is how my stage IV recurrence was discovered . My cancer center and my primary care doctor insisted that my "laryngitis " was caused by a virus for weeks - I finally saw an ENT who saw using a scope that my left vocal cord was paralyzed, ordered a Ct scan and found all the enlarged nodes. The left superclavical node had been pressing on the left laryngeal nerve and caused paralysis . I am fortunate that after 6 months of treatment my voice came back . Pursue with an ENT if your primary care and oncologist won't order a scan.

  • jons_girl
    jons_girl Member Posts: 444
    edited March 2022
    Options

    I've had a full pet scan not long ago.And had a ct years ago I think too but I was allergic to contrast and they had to stop scan. But nothing like that has ever been found. That was in 2008 I think. And I still have a paralyzed vocal cord that nobody knows why for sure. I fell off a counter in my kitchen and something also hit my throat during that same time period. But the drs don't know why it's paralysed.
    that's great you got your voice back April! I wish I had gotten mine back. I'm going to be rechecked tho.

  • aprilgirl1
    aprilgirl1 Member Posts: 757
    edited March 2022
    Options

    Jons_girl, that is frustrating that you still don't know the cause. I am thankful that my laryngeal nerve "bounced back" after I was told it most likely would not.

    I had read online about situations like yours where they don't ever figure out what caused the paralysis. By no means am I insinuating you have a cancer recurrence but I want to let others know that what happened to me does happen. In my case it was extra frustrating as both my primary care doctor and the large NCI cancer center I go to were very dismissive to me since I had stage 1 node negative bc 11 years ago and treated me like I was a hypochondriac for wanting a scan.

    I would continue to revisit this if I were you, too. When I met with the ENT after starting stage IV cancer treatment and it was still paralyzed, they recommended speech therapy so I could hopefully learn some techniques. Covid shut things down and I was focused on my new dx so did not pursue speech therapy at that time and then my voice came back.

  • sbelizabeth
    sbelizabeth Member Posts: 955
    edited March 2022
    Options

    Most of the time, as you're all aware, hoarseness is related to a viral infection or some other non-sinister cause. It can take a long time to resolve. And this is a good example of "when you hear hoofbeats, look for horses, not zebras." When a doctor hears a complaint of hoarseness, the "hoofbeats," s/he thinks viral syndrome or GERD, the "horse." Rather than order labs and imaging scans and direct visualization right off the bat, it's typical to wait and see if "tincture of time," or simple meds for GERD, will resolve the issue.

    However, SOMETIMES it's really a zebra, as aprilgirl1 can verify, because malignancy is a rare, but real, cause of unexplained hoarseness. A rough intubation of the trachea during surgery can injure the larynx, which can cause hoarseness, although its rarely permanent. Another rare cause of unexplained hoarseness is an impending rupture of an aortic aneurysm causing pressure on the laryngeal nerve.

    Self-advocacy is such an important thing! Physicians are busy people and sometimes we have to raise a question and politely, but firmly, stand our ground.

  • jons_girl
    jons_girl Member Posts: 444
    edited March 2022
    Options

    April yes I agree it’s important to share your experience!! That’s so amazing they found your Mets that way!! I wouldn’t even have thought vocal cords could have issues related to cancer. So thank you for sharing your story!
    Yes I plan to follow up with my ent dr. And just see if there is any chance I might get my vocal cord back in the future. April what scan did you have to catch the cancer? Ct?

    Beth I completely agree!! We have to advocate for ourselves. That’s so important!! My vocal cord has been paralysed since 2006 I think now. So there is probably no chance it will revive. But I’m going to ask. And maybe just make sure nothing is going on in my neck. Although I would think if it were cancer or aneurysm I’d know that by now?