Posts for category: ENT Care
By KO'OLAU EAR, NOSE AND THROAT
March 19, 2021
Tags: Ear Piercing
Between 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
January 13, 2021
Dealing with a buildup of earwax? Find out how earwax impaction can affect your hearing.
Earwax is important for the health of the ear, as it helps trap bacteria and other particles that could affect the health and function of the eardrum. So, while you might think that earwax is simply a nuisance that you need to get rid of, it’s best to leave your ears alone. After all, your ears are self-cleaning. In fact, using Q-tips in your ears can simply just push earwax further into the ear canal, leading to impaction. If you are dealing with impacted earwax you may experience,
- Muffled hearing
- A feeling of fullness in the ears
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Ear pain
If an infection develops you may notice a severe earache, drainage comes from the ear or a fever. If you develop symptoms of an infection, you must see your ENT as soon as possible for treatment.
What should I do if I have an earwax impaction?
If you have impacted earwax you may try over-the-counter kits to rinse out the ears and remove the earwax; however, it’s best to have a qualified ENT doctor examine your ear and not just determine if your symptoms are due to impacted earwax but also to safely remove the excess wax.
If you are dealing with impacted earwax you mustn’t stick a cotton swab or other tools into your ears to try and remove the earwax, as this could damage or puncture the eardrum.
Your ENT doctor has special tools and suction devices to be able to flush out the earwax buildup and to clean out the ears. Some people are prone to earwax buildup, particularly seniors. If this is something that you deal with regularly then your doctor may recommend special ear drops that can break up the earwax.
If you’re having trouble with impacted earwax, or earwax buildup talk with your ENT specialist about safe strategies to keep your ears clean. While there are tools that can be effective and safe, when used properly, you may wish to turn to a qualified doctor to find out the best way to keep your ears clean.
By Ko'olau Ear, Nose and Throat
December 28, 2020
Did you know that your ears are self-cleaning? So, if you find yourself reaching for that cotton swab in your bathroom tonight you might want to put it down. Your ears are extremely low maintenance and very rarely need to be cleaned. Of course, older adults may be prone to excessive earwax buildup, which can lead to impaction or obstruction. In these cases, you may want to turn to an ENT doctor to safely clear out impacted wax.
If your ears feel a little blocked or your hearing is muffled, then you could have a buildup of wax. This is known as impaction. Impacted earwax can make the affected ear feel full. You may notice changes in your hearing, dizziness, or a ringing in your ears. If so, it’s time to see your ENT doctor.
Can I clean out my ears myself?
While there are certain earwax removal kits on the market that you can try, the best and safest way to have wax buildup removed is by seeing a qualified doctor. An otolaryngologist will have the proper irrigation tools to remove the blockage with complications. Of course, if you do choose to clean your ears yourself you may wish to try:
An earwax softener: You can pick up these eardrops at your local drugstore. Make sure to follow the exact instructions on the package. Leave the drops in your ears for the amount of time mentioned on the package and then rinse out the ears or simply let the drops drain out.
A syringe: Some kits contain little rubber syringes that you can fill with saline or warm water. This over-the-counter irrigation system can take time to soften the earwax, but you may find it helpful with more mild impactions.
All we ask is that you do not try and use a cotton swab to clean the inside of your ear, which will only push the wax further and could damage the eardrum. Earwax softeners and these syringe and irritation systems are your best bet if you want to try and remove earwax buildup yourself. If you are prone to earwax buildup you can schedule regular appointments with your ENT doctor to have your ears cleaned properly by a professional.
If you have questions about how to safely and properly clean excess earwax an ENT doctor can answer any of your questions.
By KO'OLAU EAR, NOSE AND THROAT
October 02, 2020
If you open your mouth, it’s fairly easy to see your tonsils, as they are the two soft-tissue organs that lie on either side of the back of the throat. These structures are great for being able to stop bacteria from getting into the body, and they even act as the body’s first line of defense against germs. Unfortunately, even tonsils can become inflamed and infected; however, if you are dealing with regular or recurring tonsillitis, severe infections, or bleeding of the tonsil, then your ENT doctor may recommend tonsil removal surgery.
How long does a tonsillectomy take?
A tonsillectomy is performed as a simple outpatient procedure, which means that you will be able to go home the very same day. Surgery is done right in our ENT practice under general anesthesia. This means that you will be asleep throughout the entire procedure.
There are a variety of different methods that can be used to remove the tonsils and your doctor will talk to you about which method may be the best option for you. The surgery is quick, only taking approximately 20-30 minutes to remove the tonsils.
What is the recovery process like?
You may experience a sore throat for a few days after surgery so you will want to consume softer foods and more fluids to stay hydrated and to make sure that you are getting proper nutrients while your mouth heals. Resting is also very important, and you should avoid any physical activities for about two weeks.
You may need pain relievers to ease your symptoms during recovery. Your otolaryngologist will also let you know when you can return to work or when your child can return to school after surgery.
Could I benefit from tonsil removal surgery?
You may want to talk with your otolaryngologist about whether you could benefit from having your tonsils removed if you are experiencing at least seven cases of tonsillitis in one year or more than five cases a year for two years. If antibiotics do not properly clear up your infection, or if an abscess develops behind the tonsils, then surgery to remove the tonsils may also be recommended.
If you are having issues with your tonsils, you may benefit from removal surgery. Talk with your ENT doctor to find out whether a tonsillectomy is a right choice for you or your little one.
By KO'OLAU EAR, NOSE AND THROAT
September 02, 2020
The tonsils are two small glands that are found in the back of the throat. They are our body’s first defenses against harmful bacteria and other foreign invaders; however, sometimes even the tonsils can become inflamed and infected. This condition is known as tonsillitis. While dealing with tonsillitis doesn’t require having your tonsils removed, your ENT doctor may recommend getting a tonsillectomy if:
- You are dealing with seven or more tonsil infections in just one year
- You have more than five tonsil infections a year for two years in a row
- You have three infections per year for three years in a row
- Your infected tonsils are not responding to antibiotics
- You’re dealing with enlarged tonsils (this can also cause obstructive sleep apnea and issues with breathing while sleeping)
If you or your child are experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to speak with a qualified ENT doctor to find out whether it’s time to consider a tonsillectomy. For many adults, a tonsillectomy is recommended when sleep is affected by inflamed or enlarged tonsils.
What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?
Wondering if you or your child is dealing with a case of tonsillitis? It’s possible if these symptoms appear:
- A severe sore throat
- White or yellow patches on the throat and tonsils
- Swollen, inflamed tonsils
- Tender, swollen lymph nodes in the neck
- Persistent bad breath
- Pain or trouble swallowing
What should I expect from a tonsillectomy?
This procedure is performed in a hospital under general anesthesia, so you or your child will not be awake during the procedure; however, this is a minor procedure, so patients can go home the very same day. A tonsillectomy takes anywhere from 20 minutes to one hour and the area does not require stitches.
After a tonsillectomy, it is important to take ample time to rest and recover, which can take up to one week before returning to normal activities and up to two weeks before returning to physical activity. Your otolaryngologist will provide you with detailed recovery instructions to follow after your surgery.
If your child is dealing with persistent and severe tonsillitis, or if you’re dealing with obstructive sleep apnea, it’s important to consult with your ENT specialist to find out if you or your child’s tonsils need to be removed. Schedule an evaluation today.