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Introduction to Mouth and Throat Disorders

By Clarence T. Sasaki, MD

Disorders of the throat (pharynx) and voice box (larynx) may represent short-lived (acute) inflammation and infections, persistent (chronic) inflammation, or abnormal growths that are more common among adults. Specific disorders include vocal cord polyps and nodules, contact ulcers, vocal cord paralysis, laryngoceles, laryngeal papillomas (see Recurrent Respiratory Papillomatosis), and cancer (see Mouth, Nose, and Throat Cancers). However, vocal nodules, papillomas, and laryngoceles may occur as commonly among children.

Throat infections (pharyngitis) are particularly common among children, although adults may be affected as well. Causes, symptoms, and treatment are similar in both groups (see Sore Throat), except that in adults (and sexually abused children), gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease, may affect the throat.