The key difference between pharyngitis and laryngitis is that pharyngitis is the inflammation of the pharynx, located back of the throat, while laryngitis is the inflammation of the larynx, located in the top of the neck.
The throat is a passageway that helps for airflow, food, and water. It is a ring-like muscular tube. Throat is located behind the nose and mouth. Normally, it connects the mouth and nose to breathing passages (trachea) and the esophagus (eating tube). Throat is also helpful for speech formation. It contains tonsils and adenoids, pharynx, larynx, epiglottis, and subglottic space. Sometimes, due to pathogens like bacteria, viruses, and fungi, these parts of the throat can undergo inflammation. Pharyngitis and laryngitis are two medical conditions that are due to inflammation of the pharynx and larynx, respectively.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Pharyngitis
3. What is Laryngitis
4. Similarities – Pharyngitis and Laryngitis
5. Pharyngitis vs Laryngitis in Tabular Form
6. Summary – Pharyngitis vs Laryngitis
What is Pharyngitis?
Pharyngitis is the inflammation of the pharynx due to viral and bacterial infections. Pharynx is located at the back of the throat. Pharyngitis is most often referred to as sore throat. Pharyngitis also causes scratchiness in the throat and difficulty in swallowing. This condition is the most common reason for doctor visits, according to American Osteopathic Association (AOA). Viruses are the most common cause of pharyngitis. Viruses that cause measles, common cold (adenovirus), influenza fever, mononucleosis, and croup are the main reasons for pharyngitis. Less common cause of pharyngitis is bacteria. The bacterial species that cause strep throat include (group A Streptococcus), gonorrhea (Neisseria gonorrhoeae), chlamydia (Chlamydia trachomatis), and diphtheria (Corynebacterium diptheriae).
The symptoms of this condition are sneezing, headache, runny nose, cough, fatigue, body aches, fever, loss of appetite, general malaise, rash, difficulty in swallowing, red throat with white or gray patches, nausea, unnatural taste in the mouth, etc. Moreover, pharyngitis is diagnosed through physical exams, throat culture, and blood tests (complete blood count). The treatments are home care, pain killers (acetaminophen, ibuprofen), throat lozenges for scratchy throat, antibiotics (amoxicillin, penicillin) for bacterial infections, alternative medicine herbs such as honeysuckle, licorice, marshmallow root, sage, slippery elm.
What is Laryngitis?
Laryngitis is the inflammation of the larynx. Larynx is an organ that is located in the upper neck, just past the back of the throat. It can be caused by viral (common cold-causing viruses), bacterial (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), and fungal infections (Candida). Laryngitis can also be caused due to tobacco smoke and overuse of voice. This medical condition is not always contagious. It spreads to others only when it is due to an infection.
The symptoms of laryngitis are hoarseness, tubule speaking, sore throat, dry throat, bad and unusual smelling breath, sharp pain when talking, fever, pus or mucus discharge when coughing, etc. Typically, laryngitis can be diagnosed through physical exams, endoscopes, biopsy, and X-rays. Moreover, treatments include resting the voice, antibiotics, or antifungal for three weeks, pain relievers (ibuprofen), honey or lozenges to soothe the throat, avoiding smoking, drinking 64 ounces of water per day, trying to prevent further upper respiratory infection by not sharing items and not making physical contact with other peoples, etc.
What are the Similarities Between Pharyngitis and Laryngitis?
- Pharyngitis and laryngitis are two medical conditions that are due to inflammation of the pharynx and larynx.
- Both are upper respiratory tract infections.
- These medical conditions are due to infections in parts of the throat.
- Both medical conditions can be caused due to viruses and bacteria.
- Both are easily treatable medical conditions.
- They are the most common reasons for doctor visits.
What is the Difference Between Pharyngitis and Laryngitis?
Pharyngitis is the inflammation of the pharynx, which is located back of the throat, while laryngitis is the inflammation of the larynx, which is located at the top of the neck. Thus, this is the key difference between pharyngitis and laryngitis. Furthermore, pharyngitis is caused due to viral, bacterial infections, and other reasons such as allergies, exposure to second-hand smoking, etc. On the other hand, laryngitis is caused due to viral, bacterial, fungal infections and other causes such as smoking, overuse of the voice, allergies, acid reflux, etc.
The below infographic presents the differences between pharyngitis and laryngitis in tabular form for side by side comparison.
Summary – Pharyngitis vs Laryngitis
Pharyngitis and laryngitis are two types of upper respiratory tract infections that are due to the inflammation of the pharynx and larynx. They are commonly caused due to viral and bacterial infections. Pharyngitis is the inflammation of the pharynx, which is located back of the throat, while laryngitis is the inflammation of the larynx, which is located at the top of the neck. So, this is the key difference between pharyngitis and laryngitis.
1. Michael P Underbrink, MD. “What Is Laryngitis? (Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment Options).”
2. “Pharyngitis (Strep Throat): Information for Clinicians.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 Nov. 2018.
1. “Viral pharyngitis2010” By James Heilman, MD – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Laryngitis” By BruceBlaus – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia
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