Posts for category: Otolaryngology
Congestion and other nasal issues can make you feel miserable and affect your ability to breathe easily. Here are five common nasal problems and discusses treatment options.
Your nose is particularly sensitive to the effects of allergens in the air. Exposure to pollens, grass, weed, or mold can trigger uncomfortable symptoms, including:
Congestion that makes breathing more difficult
Pain and pressure in your sinuses
Itchy nose, eyes, ears, and throat
Allergy medications or shots, prescription nasal sprays, decongestants, and antihistamines can help prevent or reduce your symptoms.
Non-allergic rhinitis isn't caused by airborne allergens, even though the symptoms are the same. Exposure to strong irritants, such as smoke, dust, pollution, and strong odors can cause the problem. Saline nasal spray can help wash away irritants, reducing your symptoms. Decongestants and prescription corticosteroid or antihistamine nasal sprays may also be helpful.
Nosebleeds happen to nearly everyone occasionally and are usually caused by dry nasal passages or a blow to the nose. Saline nasals sprays and water-based nasal gels help moisten your nasal passages. If your nosebleed is severe, it may be necessary to cauterize the blood vessel to stop the bleeding.
Your septum is a layer of bone and cartilage that separates your nostrils. Very few people have perfectly proportional septums. Although many of us have deviated septums, in most cases the deviation is minor and doesn't affect breathing. If the deviation is severe, you may experience:
Frequent sinus infections
Snoring and sleep apnea
Nasal polyps are small growths that occur on the lining of your nose. Although they're usually benign, they can make it more difficult to breathe, cause runny noses and sinus pain, and increase your risk of sinus infections. Nasal corticosteroid strays can help shrink polyps, and antihistamines may be useful in reducing chronic nasal inflammation. If your polyps are large and other treatments haven't been unsuccessful, your ENT may recommend surgery.
Not sure what's causing your nasal issues? An ear, nose and throat doctor can diagnose the problem and offer treatments that will help you breathe easier. Call your ENT to schedule your appointment.
Having trouble breathing or catching your breath can certainly be a cause for concern. While it’s normal to be out of breath after an intense workout there are times when symptoms such as chest tightness, persistent coughing, wheezing and trouble breathing appear and any of these symptoms are usually signs that something more serious is going on.
As you might imagine, most breathing problems are associated with lung or respiratory conditions. These are problems that an otolaryngologist can easily help you treat or manage. Common lung conditions that can affect breathing include:
Asthma: a chronic condition that affects millions and causes inflammation and airway constriction, which results in coughing, wheezing and chest tightness. Symptoms can range from mild to life threatening.
Pneumonia: an infection of the respiratory tract that causes inflammation and fluid buildup in the lungs. It’s important to see an otolaryngologist immediately for treatment, as untreated pneumonia could be dangerous (and also highly contagious). Symptoms of pneumonia include:
- Shortness of breath
- Shallow breathing
- Productive cough, often with yellow or green mucus
- Chest pain that occurs when breathing deeply or coughing
- Muscle aches
- Sweating and fever
- Loss of appetite
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): this is a group of chronic inflammatory lung diseases that cause airway obstructions within the lungs. The most common types of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema, a condition that most often occurs in smokers. Common symptoms of COPD include:
- Mucus production
- Persistent cough
- Trouble breathing
- Chest tightness
This is a progressive condition that will make breathing even more difficult as the condition advances. It’s important to see an ENT doctor right away if you notice any symptoms of COPD. Early symptoms include exercise-induced rapid breathing, a persistent cough, and clearing your throat often (usually in the morning).
Lung cancer: this type of cancer develops anywhere in the lungs, allowing abnormal cells to multiply until a tumor forms. While many people who develop lung cancer are smokers, this form of cancer can also develop in those who have never smoked a day in their life. Early warning signs of lung cancer include:
- Vocal changes
- Chronic cough
- Bloody mucus when coughing
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling weak
- Unexpected weight loss
Since the early warning signs associated with lung cancer can also be caused by other respiratory conditions it is important to turn to an ear, nose, and throat doctor who will be able to perform the proper diagnostic tests to determine the cause of your symptoms.
If you are having trouble catching your breath it’s important that you find out why this is happening to you. Call your ENT doctor today for an evaluation.
Dealing with an earache can be quite painful. Children are often more likely to develop ear infections than adults, which is why it’s important to understand why ear infections happen and how to spot the warning signs. After all, the majority of children will experience at least one ear infection by the time they turn three years old.
Causes of Ear Infections
Within the ears lie Eustachian tubes, which are small passages that connect the middle ear to the back of throat. Every time you yawn or swallow the Eustachian tubes open, which is why when an ear infection occurs this causes pain and pressure whenever you sneeze or swallow. During an infection, the Eustachian tube either swell or become blocked, which causes fluid buildup within the middle ear.
There are many things that can cause an ear infection but the most common causes include:
- Changes in air pressure
- Common cold
As we mentioned above, children are more likely to experience ear infections because they have narrower Eustachian tubes. Children are also more likely to develop ear infections if they are dealing with another illness or infection such as a cold, are exposed to smoke or experience changes in climate or altitude.
Symptoms of an Ear Infection
Unfortunately, young children can’t always tell us when they are experiencing an ear infection; however, there are signs you can lookout for. A classic sign is pulling or tugging at the ear. You may also notice that your child is fussier than usual or cries when lying down. Your child may also become clingier.
If you notice pus draining from the ear or if your child is displaying sudden symptoms of hearing loss (e.g. not responding to vocal cues or sounds) then it’s time to bring them to an otolaryngologist as soon as possible. If your child’s ear infection is accompanied by a fever over 102 degrees F, it’s also important that you seek immediate medical care.
Of course, older children will be able to complain about pressure or pain in their ear, common signs of an infection. The pain may be dull and achy or it can be sharp and stabbing. Any ear pain warrants seeing an ENT doctor just to be on the safe side.
Treating Ear Infections
A simple ear exam is often all that’s needed to be able to diagnose an ear infection. While some ear infections will clear up on their own sometimes your ear, nose & throat doctor will provide you with antibiotic drops or even drops to help soothe pain. Children under 2 years old who have an ear infection will likely receive antibiotics.
Dealing with an ear infection? Think your child may have an infection? If so, an ENT doctor is the right person to turn to when these infections start brewing.
It’s normal to experience bouts of dizziness if we are stressed, taking certain medications or haven’t eaten in a while; however, what might be going on if your dizziness persists? Dizziness isn’t an uncommon symptom. In fact, most people will experience dizziness that is serious enough to warrant seeing a doctor. While you may visit a family physician to find out what’s going on, don’t be surprised if you end up being referred to an ear, nose & throat doctor.
What causes dizziness?
Dizziness refers to a serious of sensations that make you feel lightheaded, off balance, unsteady or feeling like the world around you is spinning (vertigo). Sometimes dizziness may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting, particularly during more severe episodes. These symptoms can be unnerving but an otolaryngologist can often help.
The most common causes of dizziness that we see include:
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): This problem affects the inner ear and can lead to persistent episodes of vertigo. Symptoms usually last no more than a minute and will typically come and go. Unfortunately, there often is no cause of BPPV; however, sometimes migraines or inner ear damage may be to blame. Sometimes this condition will go away on its own but an ENT doctor can also provide you with treatment options such as physical therapy that can get rid of symptoms sooner.
Vestibular neuronitis: Inflammation of the eight cranial nerve, known as the vestibular nerve, results in severe vertigo episodes that may cause you to lose balance. This condition can also cause nausea and vomiting. Symptoms usually last anywhere from 7 to 10 days and become milder over the course of several months. A viral or bacterial infection is usually to blame for inflammation of the vestibular nerve.
There are certain medications that can be prescribed by an ENT specialist to help lessen the severity and duration of your symptoms. Sometimes a special type of physical therapy is performed to treat this condition.
Labyrinthitis: This inner ear disorder occurs when one of the two vestibular nerves becomes inflamed. Along with dizziness, vertigo, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and nausea you may also lose hearing in one ear. Any changes to your hearing warrant immediate medical attention. Viral, respiratory, and bacterial infections can all cause this disorder.
Medications such as corticosteroids, sedatives and antihistamines may be prescribed to help with your symptoms. Just like with vestibular neuronitis, a type of physical therapy known as vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) may also be recommended.
Meniere disease: This progressive inner ear condition also causes similar symptoms to labyrinthitis including tinnitus, hearing loss, pressure in the ears, and dizziness. Symptoms will gradually get worse over time, and these attacks may also cause a rapid pulse, blurry vision and anxiety.
While there is no cure, there are treatment options that can effectively manage your dizziness and also reduce fluid in the ear. Medications such as steroids, motion sickness medicines, and diuretics are often used, as well as rehabilitation, therapy, hearing aids, and sometimes surgery.
If you are dealing with dizziness or any other warning signs of an ear problem it’s a good time to turn to an ENT doctor who can help you find the right treatment to get you back on two steady feet again.
Losing your hearing, regardless of how you lost it, could cause significant trauma. Different people react to losing their hearing in many different ways, but for most of them, it could lead to physical, social, and psychological issues. If you’re struggling with hearing loss, our ENT specialists here at Arizona Ear, Nose & Throat Physicians in Sun City and Sun City West, AZ can suggest suitable treatments such as hearing aids, ear wax removal, or surgery.
Treatments for Sensorineural Hearing Loss
The most common hearing loss type, sensorineural hearing loss is usually permanent and is a result of damage to the cilia or auditory nerve. It could result from aging, birth defects, skull or head trauma, working around substantially loud noises, certain infections, Meniere’s disease, ototoxic medications, or acoustic neuroma. Depending on the damage sustained by cilia or auditory nerve, you may be able to treat it with cochlear implants or hearing aids.
Treatments for Conductive Hearing Loss
This hearing loss type typically results from damage or obstruction to the middle or outer ear, which restricts the conduction or transmission of sound into the inner ear. While not everyone could regain their hearing, depending on the extent and exact nature of the problem, some people could regain most or some of their hearing with proper treatment.
In most cases, treating the causes of the blockage such as an ear infection, impacted ear wax, stuck foreign objects, or abnormal growths, could help restore hearing. Foreign objects and wax can be extracted, bacterial infections can be addressed with antibiotic treatment, and abnormal growths can be removed through surgery.
While the treatment options may be limited, our ENT specialists may also offer other suitable solutions such as traditional hearing aids, middle ear implants, bone-anchored implants, or bone-conduction hearing aids.
Treatments for Mixed Hearing Loss
In some cases, conductive and sensorineural hearing loss could result in mixed hearing loss. For instance, having impacted earwax could complicate existing sensorineural hearing loss. When this happens, treatment options will be dependent on the particular conductive and sensorineural hearing loss conditions that you have. Depending on the specifics of your case, your doctor may advise treatment for either the conductive or sensorineural hearing loss or both.
If you’re suffering from hearing loss, don’t lose hope. With proper and prompt treatment, you may have the chance to reverse your hearing loss, whether through surgery, simple earwax traction, or hearing aids. Call Arizona Ear, Nose & Throat Physicians in Sun City and Sun City West, AZ. For Sun City, dial (623) 972-2951 and for Sun City West, (623) 975-1660 and schedule your appointment now.