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Posts for category: ENT Care

By Otolaryngology Plastic Surgery Associates
August 03, 2020
Category: ENT Care
Eustachian Tube DysfunctionThe eustachian tube is a narrow canal that runs from the throat to the middle ear, and it is responsible for regulating pressure within the middle ear. If you’ve ever yawned and felt your ears become “unplugged” then you’ve experienced the Eustachian tube at work. However, sometimes people can deal with eustachian tube dysfunction, which can affect the pressure in the ears. Those with eustachian tube dysfunction may experience:
  • Pressure or fullness in the ears
  • Muffled hearing
  • Pain in the ears
  • Ringing in the ears (known as tinnitus)
  • Issues with balance
  • A popping or clicking sensation in the ears
Sometimes these symptoms are exacerbated by altitude changes such as flying or riding in an elevator.

Children are often more at risk for developing Eustachian tube dysfunction because these tubes are shorter than they are in adults. This means that it’s easier for bacteria or fluid to get trapped within the middle ear. The good news is that these symptoms usually go away on their own and typically without treatment. There are things you can do such as chewing gum to help make the issue go away. If the problem persists then it’s time to see an otolaryngologist.

Once your ENT doctor has conducted a thorough examination of you or your child’s ears there are several approaches for alleviating the symptoms of eustachian tube dysfunction:
  • If Eustachian tube dysfunction is due to an allergic reaction then your doctor may prescribe decongestants or antihistamines, which can reduce swelling and target the body’s response to the allergen.
  • A minor procedure can be performed in which an otolaryngologist makes a small incision in the eardrum to remove the fluid that’s trapped in the middle ear. The eardrum will then heal in a couple of days.
  • Sometimes implants are placed into the eardrums to help drain the fluid and to prevent fluid from building up. This is a recommended treatment for children who develop frequent ear infections due to eustachian tube dysfunction.
  • A special balloon catheter procedure (similar to the one used to treat chronic sinusitis) can be directed into the nose and into the eustachian tube, where it opens up the tubes to help them drain properly.
Your ENT doctor can talk to you about the different options for helping you or your child deal with eustachian tube dysfunction. While this condition is often self-limiting and will usually go away on its own. If symptoms become severe or problematic then it’s time to see a qualified medical professional.
By Otolaryngology Plastic Surgery Associates
June 24, 2020
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Throat Cancer  
Throat CancerYour ENT doctor sees, diagnoses, and treats many conditions related to the ear, nose, and throat. One of the most worrisome is throat cancer, along with malignancies of the pharynx, tonsils, and larynx. The Cancer Treatment Centers of America reports that the incidence of throat cancer increases with age (65 and older) and gender (male). As with most cancers, early recognition of symptoms, a proper diagnosis, and the right treatment are the keys to recovery.
 
Signs of throat cancer
The American Cancer Society says a persistent sore throat--one lasting two weeks or more--is a danger sign you should report to your primary care physician or otolaryngologist right away. Other signs of malignancy include:
  • A continuing cough
  • Hoarseness of voice
  • Unexplained and significant weight loss
  • Trouble swallowing easily (dysphagia)
  • Pain in the jaw or ear
  • White or red patches or sores in the mouth which do not heal
  • Nose bleeds
  • Headaches
  • Swollen tissues anywhere in the head/neck area
  • Numbness in the mouth and especially the tongue
  • Continual nasal congestion
Sadly, untreated throat cancer spreads to other parts of the body, including the lips, lungs, and bones. More severe symptoms, such as bone pain or coughing up blood, can indicate metastasis of throat cancer.
 
Risk factors and prevention
Many throat cancers can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle. Lifestyle risk factors include:
  • Smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco
  • Excessive alcohol consumption (more than two drinks daily if you a man and more than one a day for women)
  • HPV exposure (Human Papilloma Virus) through oral sex
  • A diet low in vegetables and fruit
  • GERD, or acid reflux disease, in which stomach acid backs up into the esophagus
  • Trouble with breathing and speaking
  • Headaches
To minimize your risk, your physician may recommend smoking cessation, losing weight to avoid GERD, a diet rich in fiber, fruits, and vegetables, and less alcohol. Asbestos exposure poses a cancer risk. Additionally, your dentist helps with early detection as he or she checks you for oral cancer with each routine office visit.

How to beat it
The American Cancer Society reports that about 12,000 people in the United States receive a throat cancer diagnosis annually. Five-year survival rates improve with early staging. See your doctor right away if you exhibit these concerning symptoms. Live longer, and live well.
By Otolaryngology Plastic Surgery Associates
June 12, 2020
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Allergy Medication  
An ear, nose, and throat professional (ENT) is a great resource when it comes to your allergies. Whether your symptoms are caused by seasonal changes or triggered by animal dander, an ENT can help you find the medication you need. Here is a small guide to finding the right allergy medication for you. 
 
Decongestants vs. Antihistamines
There are two major types of allergy medication. Understanding the difference between them helps you find the right fit. A decongestant relieves your symptoms after your allergies have kicked in. They clear out your stuffy or runny nose, along with relieving any itching or sneezing. Antihistamines focus on stopping your allergies before they even start. They give you twenty-four-hour protection so you don’t have to worry. 
 
Nasal Sprays
Nasal sprays are a quick and direct way to clear up nasal congestion. These are bought over-the-counter or with a prescription. You insert the spray into each nostril, doing one or two pumps for the full effect. They are available as both decongestants and antihistamines. 
 
Eye Drops 
A common problem with allergies is how it affects the eyes. They can get red and watery, causing pain and discomfort. This is especially true if you use contact lenses for vision. There are eye drops targeted specifically at allergy relief. These will clear up any redness and discomfort quickly.
 
Medication Side Effects
Talk to your ENT about any side effects of allergy medication that they recommend or prescribe. You can voice any concerns that you may have, guaranteeing a medication that works for you. That’s one of the benefits of getting a prescription medication compared to over-the-counter. If you do purchase over-the-counter, be aware of these possible complications. 
  • Over-the-counter antihistamines have been known to cause blurry vision, constipation, drowsiness, and possibly weight gain.
  • Nasal sprays can lead to constipation, nose bleeds, and an upset stomach.
  • Oral decongestants have been linked to high blood pressure.
If you experience any of these symptoms after taking a medication or nasal spray, talk to your ENT right away. They can advise you to discontinue a pharmaceutical and switch to something different. Through trial and error, you’ll find a functional treatment plan that works for your needs. 
By Otolaryngology Plastic Surgery Associates
April 16, 2020
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Nasal Polyps  

 If you are having trouble breathing or have recurrent sinus infections, you may also have nasal polyps. Nasal polyps are noncancerous growths which hang down from the walls of your nasal passages or sinuses. You are at greater risk of having nasal polyps if you have:

  • Asthma or allergies
  • Allergic fungal sinusitis
  • Recurring sinus infections
  • Aspirin sensitivity
  • Cystic fibrosis

If you are at greater risk of forming nasal polyps, there is a lot you can do to prevent them. Remember to:

  • Get treatment to manage asthma and allergies and prevent inflammation of your nasal passages and sinuses.
  • Avoid tobacco smoke, fumes, dust, and allergens to prevent nasal irritation.
  • Wash your hands frequently to prevent transmission of virus and bacteria which can cause infection.
  • Use a humidifier to moisten the air in your home which keeps your nasal passages moist.
  • Use a saline solution to rinse your nasal passages and sinuses and to help remove irritating substances.

You may not experience any symptoms if you have small nasal polyps, however, larger nasal polyps can cause:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Postnasal drip
  • Constant stuffiness
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Headaches or facial pain
  • Chronic inflammation in your sinuses (sinusitis)
  • Frequent nasal or sinus infections
  • Snoring or sleep apnea

Fortunately there are effective treatments for nasal polyps. Your doctor may suggest:

  • Medications to shrink the size of the polyps or eliminate them; some common medications include:
  • Nasal corticosteroid spray to reduce inflammation
  • Injectable or oral corticosteroids in addition to spray
  • Antihistamines to reduce inflammation from allergies
  • Antibiotics to treat chronic sinus infections

For larger nasal polyps that don’t respond to treatment with medications, surgery might be indicated. Surgery is performed endoscopically using an endoscope with a camera attached which is inserted into your nostril and guided up your nasal passages into your sinuses. Tiny instruments are used to remove the polyps or other growths interfering with breathing.

Call your ENT today and start breathing better tomorrow!