Reel Doctor Talk

Hear me ROAR ?!

By Smitha R. Chadaga MD


As I’ve mentioned before I’m a self-described nerd.  I bought Star Trek toys in high school and went on spring vacations like Rory and Paris. In college I was in a singing group for medical students called “On Call Singers” (get it?).  Sadly we were not anywhere as cool as the Barton Bella’s in Pitch Perfect. We couldn't dance like Fat Amy (Rebel Wilson, @RebelWilson) or have riff off’s in empty pools with Beca (Anna Kendrick, @AnnaKendrick47). And maybe that is a good thing because I never strained my voice enough to get vocal nodes like Chloe (Brittany Snow, @Brittanysnow).  That’s why she got them, right?


Vocal nodes or vocal cord nodules are calluses on the vocal cords.  They are non-cancerous lesions that appear on both vocal cords and are usually from overuse and abuse of the vocal cords.  A vocal cord nodule differs from a vocal cord polyp which is more like a blister and can appear on one or both vocal cords.  Vocal cord polyps can be caused by overuse or abuse of the vocal cords but they can be caused by irritants such as cigarette smoke and are also associated with some medical conditions including gastrointestinal reflex and chronic allergies.


People with vocal cord nodules can have hoarseness, rough or scratchy voice, and pain.  If you have symptoms for over 3 weeks then a doctor needs to take a look.  Initial treatment for vocal cord nodules is vocal rest and voice therapy.  If these interventions are unsuccessful or if the nodes are large then surgery may be needed.


So the next time you want to sing your heart out or scream in frustration be careful. Nor not.  At least you aren’t going to get herpes.