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Ear, Nose, and Throat Disorders

Lingering Sore Throat - `Frog` in Throat



After undergoing 2 rounds of antibiotics to treat a persistent sinus infection, I literally woke up the morning of the last day of my antibiotics with a sore throat and laryngitis. Another trip to my PCP for my aching throat ultimately confirmed no strep (how could there be after 2 courses of antibiotics). My PCP`s advice at the time was "laryngitis is typically viral, so the antibiotics would not have helped avoid it. Give it 10 days."

Well, the laryngitis went away in about 4 days, but my throat continues to ache off & on over the past 3 weeks. My spouse tells me my snoring has gotten worse in the past couple of weeks as well. I feel as though I have a constant "frog" in my throat and spend considerable time/effort constantly clearing my throat.

Would you suspect this is still the lingering effects of a virus, or is it time to get my PCP to refer an ENT.

Please don`t opt for the easy way out of this question and default to the "of course, go see the ENT." I`d like some sense of what you believe could be the underlying issue.



I understand what you are asking me to do when you say that you would like to know what I believe but without the benefit of being able to ask you more specific questions and examine you, I am really just speculating. I trust that you realize that that is all I am doing. First of all, sinus infections rarely cause laryngitis or sore throats for that matter. If you are treated with antibiotics for an acute infection (one that just came on recently, not a long lasting, lingering problem), you should start to feel better after 2-3 days. If you are feeling no better by the conclusion of the course of antibiotics, you probably are dealing with a viral infection. The only thing that the antibiotics are going to do is set you up for a yeast infection somewhere or for diarrhea. My thoughts about your problem are that you probable have acid reflux and that you may have had a viral infection on top of the already existing reflux. Acid reflux will typically cause intermittent sore throat, occasional hoarseness, frequent throat clearing, bad breath, sour or acid taste in the throat, difficulty swallowing, a lump sensation in the throat, etc. These are very vague symptoms that can easily be mistaken for other problems. The history of the illness plus the physical examination usually allow the physician to make this diagnosis. Interestingly, most patients with this history do not complain of heartburn or indigestion. Some do complain of these problems and some will tell you that they used to have this problem, maybe carrying Rolaids or Tums around all the time. Strong antacid medications combined with some lifestyle and dietary changes can significantly improve this disorder. While I know you will not like this next statement I must make it anyway. You should see an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist to have your voice box inspected to make sure that there are no other potential causes for this problem. I wish you luck in correcting this annoying problem.

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Response by:

Keith M Wilson, MD Keith M Wilson, MD
Associate Professor of Otolaryngology, Director of Head and Neck Division
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati