Causes and Diagnosis

Causes and Diagnoses of Vocal Cord Polyps and Nodules

Vocal cord polyps and nodules can have a variety of causes, but the most common is overuse or abuse of the voice, such as screaming, using an unnatural pitch or talking too much when the vocal cords are inflamed.

The causes of vocal cord polyps and nodules include:

  • Long-term overuse of the voice
  • Intense trauma to the voice
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Allergies
  • Smoking
  • Long-term exposure to toxic fumes

Contributing factors may include:

Diagnosing vocal cord polyps and nodules

Diagnosis of a vocal cord polyp usually begins with a physical exam and history of your symptoms. Other tests may include:

  • Laryngoscope: An endoscope (a thin, flexible tube with a light and camera on the end) is inserted into your throat to view the movement of your vocal cords.
  • Videostroboscopy: This test combines a strobe light with a laryngoscope to permit more accurate diagnosis of vocal cord disorders.
  • Biopsy: Rarely, your physician may want to take a small sample of the polyp tissue to test in a lab.