My Blog
By KO'OLAU EAR, NOSE AND THROAT
April 21, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Swimmer's Ear  
Swimmer's EarIf you or your child loves to swim, then at some point you or they may develop Swimmer’s ear, an outer ear infection that can lead to itching, redness, and pain. Of course, it can be challenging to differentiate Swimmer’s ear from other types of ear infections. An ENT doctor can happily answer any questions you may have regarding Swimmer’s ear.

What are the signs of Swimmer’s ear?

Since this infection impacts the outer ear canal, you’re more likely to experience,
  • Itchy skin, particularly inside the ear
  • Redness and swelling
  • Pain or pressure that gets worse when tugging on or pulling on the ear
  • Drainage from the ear
Symptoms associated with Swimmer’s ear are typically localized to the ear, as compared to middle ear infections, which may also lead to dizziness, nausea, or fever.

What Causes Swimmer’s ear?

Despite the name, you don’t have to be a swimmer to be at risk for developing this common ear infection. In fact, risk factors that can increase the likelihood of developing Swimmer’s ear include,
  • Living in warm, humid climates
  • Excess ear wax or ear wax buildup
  • Sustaining an injury to the ear canal
  • Dry skin within the ear canal
If you are someone who cleans out their ears with cotton swabs, you are also at great risk for Swimmer’s ear. Swimmer’s ear occurs when bacteria get inside the ear canal; therefore, trauma, cuts, or injuries to the ear can increase the risk for a bacterial infection. Hearing aids and headphones can also increase your risk for Swimmer’s ear if you don’t clean and disinfect these items regularly.

How is Swimmer’s ear treated?

Since Swimmer’s ear is due to bacteria, you’ll need to see a doctor for treatment. This type of ear infection will not go away on its own. Your ENT doctor can prescribe antibiotic ear drops that you’ll need to use daily for up to 10 days. You may also be prescribed pain medication or steroid ear drops to reduce swelling. It’s important to follow the instructions for each of these medications to ensure that the infection doesn’t return.

If you or your child is dealing with an ear infection that is causing significant pain, swelling, or changes in your hearing, it may be prudent to see an ENT doctor right away to find out the best course of action. After all, some ear infections will require antibiotics. Schedule your evaluation with an ear, nose, and throat doctor today.
By KO'OLAU EAR, NOSE AND THROAT
April 08, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Dizziness   Vertigo  
Vertigo and DizzinessAs kids, most of us loved putting out our arms and spinning and spinning until we fell dizzy. Of course, experiencing a spinning world around us when we are planted firmly on earth or aren’t on an amusement park ride, can feel incredibly scary. Welcome to the world of those with vertigo. Vertigo is a condition that makes you feel off-balance, lightheaded, and perhaps a bit disoriented. If this is happening to you here’s what you should know.

Vertigo and dizziness are different

Vertigo makes you feel as if you are moving even though you are standing still. The room around you may spin. You may feel nauseous, or you may even vomit if the vertigo is severe. Dizziness, on the other hand, occurs when you simply feel off-balance or lightheaded. Vertigo truly makes you feel as if you are spinning.

Vertigo is typically the result of a health problem

Vertigo is usually a symptom of an underlying medical condition that impacts the function of the inner ear. How do we know that? Within our inner ears lie our vestibular system, which helps us stay oriented and balanced. Every day, an ENT doctor diagnoses and treats a variety of conditions and diseases that impact the vestibular system and cause vertigo. Some of the most common causes of vertigo include,
  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo
  • Labyrinthitis
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Vestibular neuritis
  • Head injuries
  • Stroke
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Colds
Vertigo may be acute and simply go away on its own, while other causes will require treatment from an ear, nose, and throat doctor. If your vertigo is severe, is persistent, or is accompanied by hearing loss or vision changes, you must see your doctor immediately.

There are many ways to treat vertigo

It’s important for an ENT doctor to first determine the cause of your vertigo before prescribing any medications or treatments. We need to treat the underlying cause effectively to get rid of your vertigo. Some of how we may treat your vertigo include,
  • Medications: Antibiotics or steroids are prescribed to treat infections or inflammation, while other medications may help alleviate nausea and vomiting caused by the vertigo
  • Vestibular rehabilitation: If you deal with chronic or recurring bouts of vertigo your ENT may recommend vestibular rehab to help retrain the vestibular system to be able to better recognize the spatial orientation
  • Canalith repositioning maneuvers: This technique is most often used to treat benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and uses certain head movements to reposition calcium deposits within the canal of the inner ear
If vertigo or dizziness is happening to you or a loved one, an ENT doctor may be the perfect doctor to turn to for answers and an evaluation. Don’t ignore your symptoms of lightheadedness and dizziness. An ENT professional can help.
By KO'OLAU EAR, NOSE AND THROAT
March 19, 2021
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Ear Piercing  
Ears PiercedBetween 80-90 percent of American women have their ears pierced, and men are also joining the ear-piercing ranks. Body modifications have been trendy for centuries, first discovered in Otzi, the famous “Iceman” mummy that lived between 3400-3100 BCE. In earlier centuries, ear piercing was a sign of nobility. Today, it’s simply a fashion statement. Of course, getting ears pierced do come with some potential risks, which is why it might be best to skip that local jewelry shop’s ear-piercing services and turn to a qualified ENT doctor instead.
 
The Risks and Complications of Ear Piercing

While getting your ears pierced by a trained medical professional can greatly lessen the risk of infections and complications, sometimes issues still occur after a piercing. Common problems caused by ear piercings include:
  • Allergy to certain metals: If you have an allergy to certain types of jewelry or your skin is particularly sensitive to metals, talk with your doctor about getting jewelry made from materials such as stainless steel or titanium, which are less likely to cause a reaction.
  • Infections: We know that it’s fun to fiddle and play with your piercing, but it’s important to leave it alone while it heals and to practice proper aftercare to prevent infection. If you continue to mess with the piercing before the skin heals, bacteria from your hands can lead to irritation or infection. If you develop redness, swelling, pain, or pus, these are all signs of an infection.
  • Scarring: Certain individuals are prone to scarring, particularly keloid scars (excessive buildup of scar tissue). Keloids scars can be unsightly and uncomfortable but can be treated with laser therapy, steroid injections, or surgery
Certain Medical Conditions Could Make Piercings an Issue

Certain individuals may want to talk with their ENT doctor before getting their ears pierced, as there may be an increase in complications. Let your doctor know beforehand if you,
  • Are pregnant
  • Have diabetes
  • Have an autoimmune disorder
  • Have a blood clotting disorder (e.g., hemophilia)
If you want to get your ears pierced, an ENT specialist will be the best doctor to turn to, as they can provide a clean, sterilized environment to reduce the risk for infection and piercing-related complications. Turn to an ENT doctor for your professional ear piercing.
By KO'OLAU EAR, NOSE AND THROAT
March 10, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Postnasal Drip  
Postnasal DripWe’ve all experienced it: that nasty feeling when mucus drains down your throat. This problem is known as postnasal drip and it can also kick-up a variety of other unpleasant symptoms. While our throat and nasal passages are always producing mucus to protect against foreign invaders and to fight infections, sometimes the body produces too much mucus, which results in postnasal drip. Find out what causes postnasal drip and how an ENT doctor can help you manage this unpleasant symptom.

What are the signs of postnasal drip?

Along with extra mucus draining from the nose into the back of your throat, other signs of postnasal drip include:
  • Hoarseness
  • Persistent cough, often worse at night
  • A need to constantly clear your throat
  • Scratchy or sore throat
  • Painful ear infections
  • Sinus infections
  • Bad breath
  • Nausea (due to mucus going into the stomach)
What causes postnasal drip?

So, what is triggering all that unwanted and excess mucus that’s now draining down your throat? There are a few possible reasons such as:
  • A cold or flu
  • Allergies
  • Sinusitis
  • Dry, cold air
  • Changes in weather
  • Deviated septum (a common malformation in the nasal wall that separates the two cavities)
  • Pregnancy
  • Certain medications (e.g., blood pressure medication; birth control)
  • Chemicals and environmental irritants (e.g., perfumes; smoke)
How is postnasal drip treated?

At-home care and over-the-counter medications such as antihistamines may alleviate your postnasal drip, especially if it is caused by allergies. Saline nasal sprays and neti pots can also provide moisture to the nasal passages. Sleep with your head slightly propped up and make sure that you are staying hydrated throughout the day.

If you’re dealing with recurring postnasal drip, postnasal drip that lasts more than 10 days, or postnasal drip that’s accompanied by fever or green discharge (signs of a bacterial infection), you must turn to an ENT doctor for the appropriate medication and treatment. If a bacterial infection is present, your ENT will prescribe a round of antibiotics. Structural issues such as a deviated septum can only be corrected through surgery.

If other conditions such as acid reflux could be to blame, a doctor can run the right diagnostic tests to determine the cause and to provide you with a custom treatment plan to get your postnasal drip in check.
By KO'OLAU EAR, NOSE AND THROAT
February 25, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Nosebleeds  
NosebleedsThe nose is lined with blood vessels. When one or more blood vessels have been injured, this results in a nosebleed. While a gushing nosebleed—especially when it comes out of nowhere—can be a little unnerving, it’s usually nothing to worry about. Nosebleeds are incredibly common. In fact, according to WebMD, about one out of every seven people in the US will experience a nosebleed during their lifetime, with it being most common among children 2-10 years old. Of course, if nosebleeds are a recurring problem, it may be time to talk with an ENT doctor.

Common Causes of Nosebleeds

If you get a nosebleed every once in a while, this typically isn’t a cause for concern. Nosebleeds are usually caused by,
  • Injury to the nasal membrane
  • Picking at your nose
  • Cold air
  • Dry, heated air
  • Repeated use of nasal sprays
  • Taking aspirin often
  • Blowing your nose regularly
  • Respiratory infections (e.g., colds and flu; sinusitis)
  • An allergic reaction
  • Chemical irritants
If your nosebleed lasts longer than 20 minutes or results from an injury, you must see a doctor right away as this could be a sign of a posterior nosebleed. A posterior nosebleed occurs when there is damage to an artery branch deep within the nose, leading to heavy bleeds that can go down the throat. This is a serious condition that requires immediate medical care.

Causes of Frequent Nosebleeds

If you’re dealing with persistent nosebleeds, here’s what could be going on,
  • You may have ruptured blood vessels in the lining of the nose
  • You could have a polyp or growth in the sinuses or nasal cavity
  • You could have a health problem that affects blood clotting
  • You could have an inherited condition known as Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome, which results in abnormal blood vessels in the nose
If you experience nosebleeds four or more times a week, you must have an ENT doctor find out what’s going on. If you only experience a nosebleed a couple of times a month this could be a sign of a chronic issue such as allergies. If you aren’t able to get your nosebleeds under control on your own, it’s time to see a doctor.

An ENT doctor can help you address all of your ear, nose, and throat problems. If you’re plagued with nosebleeds, we can find out what’s causing your symptoms and how to treat them. Call your ENT doctor today to schedule an appointment.




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