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Smoking, laryngopharyngeal reflux and voice misuse/overuse are known possible etiological factors for the development of Reinke's edema (RE) on vocal folds. RE is found more frequently in women. The disparity between the incidence of RE in women and men suggests that endogenous sex hormones such as estrogens, progesterone and/or testosterone may have a significant influence on vocal folds. The aim of the study was to investigate the level of sex hormones such as estradiol (E), progesterone (P), and testosterone (T) in men with RE in comparison with men without laryngeal pathology. Fifty-six men with RE and 48 men without laryngeal pathology participated in the study. All participants received a questionnaire for assessing possible risk factors for the development of RE. The serum levels of T, E and P were determined and the ratios between hormones (T/E, T/P, P/E) were calculated. T and P serum levels were significantly higher in patients with RE (p = 0.002, p = 0.017). No differences were found in the hormone ratio values. Smoking was the only known risk factor for RE (p < 0.001). In conclusion, the difference in the level of sex hormones implies that hormones may affect both, the development and the maintenance of the edema in the lamina propria of vocal folds. The authors suppose that the possible mode of action of sex hormones is through enzymatic activity of nitric oxide synthase in the endothelial cell wall.
Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Maxillofacial Surgery, University Medical Centre Maribor, Ljubljanska 5, 2000, Maribor, Slovenia, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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