Posts for category: ENT Care
- 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
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.
- 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
- Swollen tissues anywhere in the head/neck area
- Numbness in the mouth and especially the tongue
- Continual nasal congestion
- 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
How to beat it
- 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 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!