You woke up with an intense and persistent pain in your ear. All sound is muffled and it feels like your ear is stuffed with cotton. These symptoms are likely due to an ear infection. While ear infections can happen to anyone, children are particularly prone to them. In fact, approximately three out of four children will deal with at least one ear infection by age 3.
An ear infection usually affects the middle ear. This is known as an infection of the otitis media, in which fluid and mucus block the tubes of the ears. This is why you’re having trouble hearing. While it’s easy to be able to describe symptoms you’re experiencing, it isn’t always easy for children, particularly little ones, to be able to tell you that their ear hurts.
So, how can you tell whether or not your child might have an ear infection? You’ll have to look out for:
- Tugging or pulling at the ear
- Increased crying, irritability, and fussiness
- Trouble sleeping
- Crying when lying down to sleep
- Balance issues
- Not hearing or responding to voices or sounds
If your child is displaying these symptoms it’s important to bring them in to see their otolaryngologist who will be able to examine the ear and determine whether there is an infection.
The good news is that many ear infections will go away on their own; however, our ENT doctors understand that sometimes the pain can be severe and unbearable, and you may need something to ease the pain until the infection goes away. We can certainly prescribe the right pain reliever if over-the-counter options aren’t working. In some cases, we may need to prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.
Even though you may want to wait out an ear infection before bringing your child in, it’s important that you do visit your child’s otolaryngologist as soon as possible if their ear infection is accompanied by:
- Loss of hearing
- Discharge or blood coming from the ear
- High fever
- Severe drowsiness
- Stiff neck
- Nausea and vomiting
If your child is under 6 months old it’s important that you bring them in right away if you suspect that they have an ear infection. Otherwise, children dealing with minor symptoms that are over the age of 6 months old can often be treated with simple at-home care.
If you are unsure whether or not you should bring yourself or your child into the office, give our ENT practice a call and let us know the symptoms. We will be able to determine whether you will need immediate care or whether we should wait a couple days to see if the infection gets better on its own.
Do you have breathing problems such as wheezing, shortness of breath, a chronically stuffed nose, or throat tightness? If so, you should seek a consultation with your local ENT physician. These doctors have numerous ways to diagnose and treat your breathing problems associated with the nose and upper airway so you can function well and get on with your daily life.
The symptoms of breathing problems
Breathing problems associated with asthma, pneumonia, COPD, or bronchitis usually differ from those stemming from the nasal passages, larynx, or trachea. For respiratory difficulty associated with the lungs, patients see a pulmonary specialist. For the upper airway, people see an otolaryngologist.
What are the symptoms of upper airway breathing problems? You may experience some or all of the following:
- Wheezing which is noticeable to other people
- Persistent coughing
- Mouth breathing
- Voice hoarseness
- Fatigue to the extreme, particularly on exertion
- Throat tightness
- Constant nasal congestion and frequent nose blowing
What could be the cause?
According to Michigan Medicine, chronic or acute sinusitis (aka sinus infection) affects millions of people in the US. If left untreated, sinusitis leaves patients feeling fatigued due to the increased symptoms of coughing, congestion, and nose blowing.
Common causes for acute sinusitis include inflammation from allergies and exposure to viruses and bacteria from environmental pollution. Chronic sinusitis may stem from exposure to tobacco smoke, although it arises more commonly from nasal polyps, inflamed sinus turbinates, and deviated septums.
Diagnosing and treating breathing problems
As related to the upper airway, your ENT will ask you to describe your symptoms. Then, your nasal passages and sinuses will be examined with an endoscope, a thin, lighted tube which contains a small camera.
The otolaryngologist takes images of structures which could be obstructing your airway and causing your symptoms. Precise CT scanning gives the doctor more views of what's happening inside the air-filled cavities that we call sinuses.
Common treatments include steroidal sprays, oral steroids, antibiotics, allergy testing, pain treatment, and sinus surgery (a last resort option). Additionally, simple nasal irrigation with a Neti pot can flush out excess mucus, open passages, and reduce breathing difficulties.
Tackle your breathing problems
Your ENT doctor can help relieve your discomfort by listening to your symptoms, carefully performing a full assessment, and curating a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Make the call today!
Situated in the middle of the lower neck, the thyroid is a small glad whose primary function is to regulate the body’s metabolism. When operating correctly, the thyroid continuously replenishes the hormones needed to properly convert consumed materials into energy. However, when this function becomes impaired, it can cause immense problems for your overall health. Read on to learn about some of the most common thyroid disorders and how treatment from your local ENT can help treat them!
This condition occurs when the thyroid gland becomes unable to produce the necessary amount of thyroid hormone to correctly regulate the body’s metabolism. As you might expect, when the body experiences this shortage of hormones, the metabolism slows, an effect which can cause fatigue, weight gain, muscle, joint pain, and slowed heart rate.
Treatment: Hypothyroidism is treated through the prescription of levothyroxine, a synthetic hormone which effectively assumes the role of metabolism regulation. Under the careful eye of an ENT doctor, this treatment helps return you back to a healthy lifestyle!
While Hypothyroidism reduces the development of hormones, Hyperthyroidism increases it. With an overactive thyroid, the metabolism becomes accelerated, often causing weight loss, irregular heartbeat, increased appetite, and anxiety.
Treatment: Much like Hypothyroidism, medication is often the preferred method in treating Hyperthyroidism. However, unlike Hypothyroidism, there are a number of different medication routes to take, the choice of which depends on factors such as a patient’s age, physical condition, and underlying Hyperthyroidism cause. Some of these medications include thyroxine, methimazole, propylithiouracil, and beta-blockers. If prescription drugs are not a possibility, thyroid removal surgery can prove necessary.
Nodules are small lumps that can form along the thyroid. Coming in both solid and fluid-filled forms, the great majority of nodules thankfully turn out to be innocuous and nonthreatening. However, some nodules grow to be so large that they become visibly noticeable and make both swallowing and breathing difficult. Additionally, a small percentage of thyroid nodules turn out to be cancerous.
Treatment: The proper route of treatment is totally dependent on the unique specifics of the nodule in question. For enlarged, yet benign nodules, either hormone suppression therapy or surgery are the best choices. Surgery is also the usual treatment option for cancerous nodules.
Concerned? Call Your Local ENT!
Thyroid issues can have immense consequences for your body if they are left unchecked. If you suspect that you may have a thyroid issue, set up a consultation with your local ENT physician as soon as you can!
Do you find yourself dealing with persistent sinus infections? Have nasal congestion and facial pressure become the norm? If so, then it’s time to turn to an otolaryngologist who can provide you with the relief that you need! While acute sinusitis is usually nothing to worry about and will go away fully after a few weeks of treatment, chronic sinusitis often needs a more proactive solution. If you have been battling a sinus infection for over 12 weeks and it’s not responding to treatment, then it’s time to consider other treatment options. Read on to learn more!
How to Treat Chronic Sinusitis
One of the ways to treat chronic nasal inflammation and blockages is through a simple endoscopic sinus procedure. Unlike traditional surgery, this procedure is minimally invasive and doesn’t require major incisions or removal of bone or tissue.
While this procedure isn’t necessary for patients dealing with acute bouts of sinusitis, if you are someone dealing with a true chronic form of sinusitis, then it might be time to consider endoscopic sinus surgery.
When you come in for a consultation, an ENT doctor will perform a physical exam and talk to you about your symptoms. Common symptoms of chronic sinusitis include,
- Nasal drainage
- Nasal obstruction and congestion
- Facial pressure or pain
- Post-nasal drip
- Frequent headaches
- Reduced smell or taste
Along with a physical exam, an otolaryngologist will insert an endoscope (a small tube with a camera) into the nostrils to look for drainage, blockages, or signs of infection or inflammation. Sometimes a CT scan is necessary to diagnose your infection.
When it comes to treating chronic sinusitis, your doctor will first turn to non-surgical treatment options like prescription steroids, antibiotics, nasal sprays, or allergy treatments (e.g. antihistamines).
If these treatments aren’t giving you the symptom relief that you need, then we will talk to you about whether minimally invasive sinus surgery is the right way to treat your chronic sinus symptoms.
How Minimally Invasive Sinus Surgery Works
During this procedure, an ENT specialist will insert an endoscope into the blocked or inflamed nostril and guide it gently through the sinuses. There are different methods involved in this type of sinus surgery. Sometimes at the end of the endoscope is a camera, which allows us to carefully remove enlarged tissue to improve breathing. Any pus or signs of infection are also drained out. Once this procedure is performed, certain medications are prescribed for long-term management.
Balloon sinuplasty has become another popular minimally invasive sinus procedure because it does not require any tissue removal. Instead of a camera at the end of the endoscope, there is a deflated balloon that is inflated once it’s placed into the blocked or inflamed nasal cavity. As the balloon is inflated, it opens up the blocked passageway so it can properly drain. Then the doctor will clean out the sinuses with a saline solution to remove any remaining pus or bacteria.
Give Us a Call!
Minimally invasive sinus surgery is extremely effective at treating chronic sinusitis. If you are dealing with this condition, then it’s time to talk to your otolaryngologist about whether this procedure is right for you.
Mouth sores or ulcers can certainly be painful when they occur, making it uncomfortable whenever you eat or drink anything. Luckily, most of the time the cause is truly benign and the ulcer will go away on its own without treatment. Of course, if this is a problem that occurs frequently or causes you significant pain than it’s worth talking to an otolaryngologist to find out what’s going on.
Causes of Mouth Sores
So, what could be causing these painful oral sores? Well, there are several things it could be:
- Traumatic injury (e.g. biting your cheek)
- Poor hygiene
- Irritation from dentures, braces, or a sharp tooth
- Oral thrush infection (a type of yeast infection)
- Herpes simplex viral infection (causes cold sores that often develop on the mouth or lips)
- Autoimmune disorder
- Certain chronic diseases such as diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and HIV
- Cancer of the lip
Sometimes adults suffer from aphthous ulcers (better known as canker sores), which are mouth sores that have no known cause. These sores can affect the mouth, gums or tongue and result in small whitish ulcers that can occur during times of emotional stress or around a woman’s menstrual cycle.
The Symptoms of a Mouth Sore
Along with a round ulcer or sore in the mouth, you may also experience pain and tenderness around the sore. The skin around the sore may also be inflamed. Certain foods, such as citrus or spicy foods, can cause further irritation.
Treatment Mouth Sores
If you are someone who is dealing with persistent mouth sores it’s important that you find out what’s causing your symptoms so you know the best course of action. In order to provide an accurate diagnosis an ENT doctor will perform a physical examination to inspect the sore. Based on its appearance a doctor can often decide what the sore is and how to treat it.
For example, if the ulcer is yellow and a bit larger this is usually caused by some sort of trauma to the soft tissue. If a fever is present, the ulcer may be the result of the herpes simplex virus. Sometimes blood tests or a biopsy is necessary to make a more accurate diagnosis.
As we mentioned, most sores will go away by themselves after a few days. Of course, there are other types of ulcers that may require treatment, especially if they are causing you significant pain. Simple conservative treatment options and care include:
- Using an antiseptic rinse or gel
- Taking pain relievers
- Maintaining good oral hygiene
- Avoiding spicy, sour, and citrus foods
- Rinsing your mouth out with warm salt water
Certain ulcers, such as ones caused by the herpes simplex virus or oral thrush may require a prescription medication. This is why it’s a good idea to turn to an ENT specialist if you are dealing with mouth sores and don’t know what’s causing them.
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