Over the past few weeks, Shakira fans have been disappointed by the news of canceled El Dorado World Tour dates. Now, in a statement posted on Instagram in both Spanish and English, the singer explains that she’ll have to postpone even more: Her upcoming European tour dates will have to wait until 2018 so that her vocal cords can heal, according to the statement.
“Towards the end of October though, in the home stretch of my rehearsals, I felt a strange hoarseness that impeded my singing. The doctors, upon examination, detected that I had suffered a hemorrhage on my right vocal cord,” Shakira writes on Instagram. “I then went on vocal rest as recommended by the specialists in an attempt to recover in time for my first show in Cologne. Unfortunately the hemorrhage doesn’t appear to have reabsorbed and my nightmare continues.”
Shakira’s break does make sense, particularly because the main treatment option for a vocal cord hemorrhage is strict vocal rest for at least a week, Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) explains. The hemorrhages are caused by injuries to blood vessels on the surface of your vocal folds, which leads to sudden hoarseness. After a week of strict vocal rest, patients can usually transition to “conservative” voice rest, CUMC says. But if the hemorrhage is continuing to bleed, it may need to be cauterized to help it heal. In rare cases, surgery (which can be done via laser) may be needed to remove the lesion and preserve your voice.
But it’s not just hemorrhages that cause stars’ vocal problems: Adele, who had surgery to treat vocal cord hemorrhages back in 2011, also found that changing her diet helped preserve her singing abilities. Specifically, she says she was told to avoid foods that trigger acid reflux—including caffeine, alcohol, and spicy foods—that can irritate the esophagus and vocal cords. Still, Adele is proof that, with proper treatment, artists dealing with vocal issues like these can come back full force.
“In all the years I’ve been singing, I’ve never been faced with situation like this,” Shakira continues. “I hope to overcome this difficult trial and to return to the stage as soon as possible, to once again hear your voices singing along with mine.”