THE MOST COMMON ENT PROBLEMS EXPLAINED: A QUICK GUIDE
You wake up feeling like death. A river of phlegm courses its way down the back of your throat, only to form a pool in your chest. Now, all you can do is cough and kiss sleep goodbye.
Yes, you have a sinus infection. Again.
Sinusitis remains one of the most common ear, nose, and throat (ENT) problems. In fact, nearly 30 million people end up being diagnosed with this condition every year.
However, it’s not the only ENT issue that many patients face.
Here’s a rundown on the most common ENT problems that you should know about.
Let’s jump in!
This problem, commonly known as a sinus infection, is where your sinuses become infected or inflamed. The symptoms of sinusitis include the following;
- Stuffy nose
- Runny nose
- Cough (particularly at night)
- Postnasal drip
- Facial swelling
- Bad breath
If you develop sinusitis, your symptoms’ cause will be either allergic, viral, or bacterial. Your doctor can explore all of your symptoms and examine you to determine what is causing your sinus issues.
If you have bacterial sinusitis, you will likely experience localized tenderness as well as mucus that consists of pus. In addition, you might suffer from a headache, fever, and a toothache in one of your upper teeth. An antibiotic can help with treating this type of sinusitis.
Allergic and viral sinusitis mirror each other. However, with the viral form, you may experience a sore throat coupled with a low-grade fever as well. These symptoms should eventually resolve over a few days.
The allergic form is usually recurrent or chronic and doesn’t come with fever. However, your eyes may itch, you may sneeze a lot, and your throat may be raspy. In this situation, it is wise to see a reputable allergy specialist, as this professional can help to treat your underlying allergy.
Loss of Hearing
Another common ENT problem is hearing loss. If you’re facing this issue, your doctor will inspect your ear drum and evaluate your hearing capability. It is critical that you tell your doctor about any of the following problems you may have been struggling with leading up to your hearing loss:
- Previous ear trauma
- Ear canal pain
- Pain in your external ear
In some cases, patients experience hearing loss as a result of ear infections. Meanwhile, other patients’ hearing loss may stem from anatomical issues.
Still other patients experience what’s called sensorineural hearing loss. This happens due to damage to your cochlea or auditor nerve, for example. The treatment window for this type of hearing loss is narrow, so seeing an ENT specialist right away is critical.
This is another common ENT problem, but it is often not worrisome. It is characterized by a buzzing sound in the ear.
If your ear buzzing lasts for half a year or more, it is important that you see an ENT specialist. Your doctor will evaluate you for the loss of hearing, and a hearing aid may be recommended if necessary.
Tinnitus becomes increasingly common with age. However, sometimes using a machine that produces white noise can help people with tinnitus to cope with this condition at night.
In addition, in a small number of tinnitus cases — specifically, cases involving pulsatile tinnitus — surgery may be recommended. Pulsatile tinnitus is where you feel that the noise in your ear is beating right along with your heartbeat.
If you’re like most patients who suffer from vertigo, your symptoms may not last long.
However, in some situations, vertigo is severe. Ear-related causes include the following:
- Vestibular neuritis
- Positional vertigo
- Ménière’s disease
How long you’ve experienced dizziness, and your patient history may help with determining the cause of your vertigo issue. An Epley maneuver and vestibular exercise can both help with dealing with vertigo. In addition, some patients may be prescribed medication like Meclizine to treat their vertigo.
Snoring & Sleep Apnea
Snoring is yet another fairly common ENT problem. It occurs if your airways are blocked or if your throat is weak, which can cause it to close as you sleep.
Snoring is one of the signs of sleep apnea, a condition where you experience abnormal pauses in your breathing.
A wide variety of treatment options are available for snoring and sleep apnea. For example, your doctor may recommend that you undergo the pillar procedure. This procedure hardens your soft palate to curb a mild level of sleep apnea.
In addition, a doctor could reshape a part of your throat called the uvula to alleviate snoring and decrease the gasping associated with sleep apnea.
Another snoring treatment option is called turbinate radiofrequency ablative therapy. This therapy is designed to quiet your snoring and mouth breathing by decreasing your turbinate size.
How We Can Help with ENT Problems
As a leading snoring and sinus center in the Houston area, we are passionate about providing patients with real solutions to their allergy, snoring, and sinus issues.
Our approach to patient care is a holistic one. We spend time trying to understand your lifestyle so that we can pinpoint the cause of your allergy issue. After all, we realize that all patients are unique.
Rather than merely focusing on diagnosis, we concentrate on educating and informing you about all of your options as well.
Get in touch with us to learn more about the top ENT problems and how we can help you to effectively address them in the months ahead.
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