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Posts for category: ENT Care

By Ko'olau Ear, Nose and Throat
July 01, 2019
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Asthma   Breathing Problem  

From outdoor allergies to asthma, there are many reasons why you or your child may be having trouble with your breathing. Breathing problems can be distressing and it’s important to understand when symptoms warrant seeing an otolaryngologist for a proper evaluation.

Common Causes of Breathing Problems

You may have trouble breathing if you are dealing with:

  • Common cold
  • Acute or chronic sinusitis
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Deviated septum
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Emphysema
  • Bronchitis
  • Other upper respiratory infections (e.g. pneumonia)

While some conditions like the common cold will only cause mild and temporary symptoms, if you notice that your symptoms are serious, don’t respond to at-home care or are getting worse then it’s time to seek medical attention. After all, there are certain conditions such as sinusitis that can become chronic if not properly treated. An ENT doctor will know exactly what medications and treatments to offer to reduce sinus inflammation and to make breathing easier.

Chronic breathing problems, particularly those caused by allergies and asthma, may also be associated with:

  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness or congestion
  • Nasal congestion
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Coughing that gets worse at night
  • Shallow breathing

Asthma symptoms are usually detected early in childhood; however, it is still possible for adults to be diagnosed later in life (known as adult-onset asthma). If you or your child are experiencing difficulty breathing and tightness in the chest made worse by cold air, stress, or exercise it’s important that you see an ENT doctor right away. While asthma cannot be cured it can be properly managed with long-term medication. Leaving asthma untreated could be harmful to your health.

Testing and Diagnosis

When you come into the office an otolaryngologist will have you fill out detailed information about your family and personal medical history. Your doctor will also perform a physical exam. Pulmonary function tests are often used to test lung function in those suspected of having asthma. Of course, there are other breathing tests such as spirometry. Your doctor will also ask you questions about the symptoms you’ve been experiencing in order to rule out certain conditions or illnesses.

The treatment plan you receive will depend on the issue you are dealing with. For example, acute sinusitis can often be managed with over-the-counter nasal decongestants and antihistamines while chronic sinusitis may require more aggressive treatment such as prescription steroid sprays, oral corticosteroids, and endoscopic nasal surgery to remove the blockage or to repair the deviated septum. Your otolaryngologist can help you get your breathing problems under control.

By KO'OLAU EAR, NOSE AND THROAT
June 03, 2019
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Breathing Problems  

Do you have breathing problems such as wheezing, shortness of breath, a chronically stuffed nose, or throat tightness? If so, you should seek a consultation with your local ENT physician. These doctors have numerous ways to diagnose and treat your breathing problems associated with the nose and upper airway so you can function well and get on with your daily life.

The symptoms of breathing problems

Breathing problems associated with asthma, pneumonia, COPD, or bronchitis usually differ from those stemming from the nasal passages, larynx, or trachea. For respiratory difficulty associated with the lungs, patients see a pulmonary specialist. For the upper airway, people see an otolaryngologist.

What are the symptoms of upper airway breathing problems? You may experience some or all of the following:

  • Wheezing which is noticeable to other people
  • Persistent coughing
  • Mouth breathing
  • Voice hoarseness
  • Fatigue to the extreme, particularly on exertion
  • Throat tightness
  • Constant nasal congestion and frequent nose blowing

What could be the cause?

According to Michigan Medicine, chronic or acute sinusitis (aka sinus infection) affects millions of people in the US. If left untreated, sinusitis leaves patients feeling fatigued due to the increased symptoms of coughing, congestion, and nose blowing.

Common causes for acute sinusitis include inflammation from allergies and exposure to viruses and bacteria from environmental pollution. Chronic sinusitis may stem from exposure to tobacco smoke, although it arises more commonly from nasal polyps, inflamed sinus turbinates, and deviated septums.

Diagnosing and treating breathing problems

As related to the upper airway, your ENT will ask you to describe your symptoms. Then, your nasal passages and sinuses will be examined with an endoscope, a thin, lighted tube which contains a small camera.

The otolaryngologist takes images of structures which could be obstructing your airway and causing your symptoms. Precise CT scanning gives the doctor more views of what's happening inside the air-filled cavities that we call sinuses.

Common treatments include steroidal sprays, oral steroids, antibiotics, allergy testing, pain treatment, and sinus surgery (a last resort option). Additionally, simple nasal irrigation with a Neti pot can flush out excess mucus, open passages, and reduce breathing difficulties.

Tackle your breathing problems

Your ENT doctor can help relieve your discomfort by listening to your symptoms, carefully performing a full assessment, and curating a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Make the call today!

By KO'OLAU EAR, NOSE AND THROAT
April 29, 2019
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Sinus Surgery   Sinusitis  

Do you find yourself dealing with persistent sinus infections? Have nasal congestion and facial pressure become the norm? If so, then it’s time to turn to an otolaryngologist who can provide you with the relief that you need! While acute sinusitis is usually nothing to worry about and will go away fully after a few weeks of treatment, chronic sinusitis often needs a more proactive solution. If you have been battling a sinus infection for over 12 weeks and it’s not responding to treatment, then it’s time to consider other treatment options. Read on to learn more!

How to Treat Chronic Sinusitis

One of the ways to treat chronic nasal inflammation and blockages is through a simple endoscopic sinus procedure. Unlike traditional surgery, this procedure is minimally invasive and doesn’t require major incisions or removal of bone or tissue.

While this procedure isn’t necessary for patients dealing with acute bouts of sinusitis, if you are someone dealing with a true chronic form of sinusitis, then it might be time to consider endoscopic sinus surgery.

When you come in for a consultation, an ENT doctor will perform a physical exam and talk to you about your symptoms. Common symptoms of chronic sinusitis include,

  • Nasal drainage
  • Nasal obstruction and congestion
  • Facial pressure or pain
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Frequent headaches
  • Reduced smell or taste

Along with a physical exam, an otolaryngologist will insert an endoscope (a small tube with a camera) into the nostrils to look for drainage, blockages, or signs of infection or inflammation. Sometimes a CT scan is necessary to diagnose your infection.

When it comes to treating chronic sinusitis, your doctor will first turn to non-surgical treatment options like prescription steroids, antibiotics, nasal sprays, or allergy treatments (e.g. antihistamines).

If these treatments aren’t giving you the symptom relief that you need, then we will talk to you about whether minimally invasive sinus surgery is the right way to treat your chronic sinus symptoms.

How Minimally Invasive Sinus Surgery Works

During this procedure, an ENT specialist will insert an endoscope into the blocked or inflamed nostril and guide it gently through the sinuses. There are different methods involved in this type of sinus surgery. Sometimes at the end of the endoscope is a camera, which allows us to carefully remove enlarged tissue to improve breathing. Any pus or signs of infection are also drained out. Once this procedure is performed, certain medications are prescribed for long-term management.

Balloon sinuplasty has become another popular minimally invasive sinus procedure because it does not require any tissue removal. Instead of a camera at the end of the endoscope, there is a deflated balloon that is inflated once it’s placed into the blocked or inflamed nasal cavity. As the balloon is inflated, it opens up the blocked passageway so it can properly drain. Then the doctor will clean out the sinuses with a saline solution to remove any remaining pus or bacteria.

Give Us a Call!

Minimally invasive sinus surgery is extremely effective at treating chronic sinusitis. If you are dealing with this condition, then it’s time to talk to your otolaryngologist about whether this procedure is right for you.

By KO'OLAU EAR, NOSE AND THROAT
April 18, 2019
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Mouth Sores   Sore  

Mouth sores or ulcers can certainly be painful when they occur, making it uncomfortable whenever you eat or drink anything. Luckily, most of the time the cause is truly benign and the ulcer will go away on its own without treatment. Of course, if this is a problem that occurs frequently or causes you significant pain than it’s worth talking to an otolaryngologist to find out what’s going on.

Causes of Mouth Sores

So, what could be causing these painful oral sores? Well, there are several things it could be:

  • Traumatic injury (e.g. biting your cheek)
  • Poor hygiene
  • Irritation from dentures, braces, or a sharp tooth
  • Burns
  • Oral thrush infection (a type of yeast infection)
  • Herpes simplex viral infection (causes cold sores that often develop on the mouth or lips)
  • Autoimmune disorder
  • Syphilis
  • Certain chronic diseases such as diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and HIV
  • Cancer of the lip

Sometimes adults suffer from aphthous ulcers (better known as canker sores), which are mouth sores that have no known cause. These sores can affect the mouth, gums or tongue and result in small whitish ulcers that can occur during times of emotional stress or around a woman’s menstrual cycle.

The Symptoms of a Mouth Sore

Along with a round ulcer or sore in the mouth, you may also experience pain and tenderness around the sore. The skin around the sore may also be inflamed. Certain foods, such as citrus or spicy foods, can cause further irritation.

Treatment Mouth Sores

If you are someone who is dealing with persistent mouth sores it’s important that you find out what’s causing your symptoms so you know the best course of action. In order to provide an accurate diagnosis an ENT doctor will perform a physical examination to inspect the sore. Based on its appearance a doctor can often decide what the sore is and how to treat it.

For example, if the ulcer is yellow and a bit larger this is usually caused by some sort of trauma to the soft tissue. If a fever is present, the ulcer may be the result of the herpes simplex virus. Sometimes blood tests or a biopsy is necessary to make a more accurate diagnosis.

As we mentioned, most sores will go away by themselves after a few days. Of course, there are other types of ulcers that may require treatment, especially if they are causing you significant pain. Simple conservative treatment options and care include:

  • Using an antiseptic rinse or gel
  • Taking pain relievers
  • Maintaining good oral hygiene
  • Avoiding spicy, sour, and citrus foods
  • Rinsing your mouth out with warm salt water

Certain ulcers, such as ones caused by the herpes simplex virus or oral thrush may require a prescription medication. This is why it’s a good idea to turn to an ENT specialist if you are dealing with mouth sores and don’t know what’s causing them.

By KO'OLAU EAR, NOSE AND THROAT
April 09, 2019
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Hearing Aids  

Find out which type of hearing aid will help you get back in the conversation again.

Has an ENT doctor or audiologist determined that you have hearing loss? If so, you may be wondering, “What now?” Well, the next step is to get fitted for a hearing aid. Of course, with all the advancements in technology there are now so many options when it comes to hearing aids that it can be a bit confusing. Here are some things to consider when shopping for a hearing aid,

The Style

Discretion is usually one of the most important factors that someone mentions when getting a hearing aid (we know being able to hide your hearing aid from others is important). Of course, there are other factors to consider that can help you determine the right style for you. Common hearing aid styles include:

  • Invisible-in-the-canal
  • Completely-in-the-canal
  • In-the-canal
  • In-the-ear
  • Receiver-in-canal
  • Behind-the-ear (often the most versatile hearing aid to accommodate all severities of hearing loss)

Special and Advanced Features

Hearing aids now come with some pretty awesome features and while some may not apply to you or be particularly important for your lifestyle, there are other features that you may wish to have. Top features include:

Noise reduction

This feature separates out dynamic sounds (e.g. television; conversations) from static sounds (e.g. running water) and increases the dynamic sounds while reducing static sounds, making it easier to hear what you actually want to hear.

Directionality

Noisy environments can be a real pain for people with hearing loss. Here’s where the directionality feature on a hearing aid comes in handy. Instead of just “turning up” the volume on all sounds around you, this feature allows you to hear what’s in closer proximity and help you turn your attention and focus on the person in front of you rather than the noisy environment around you. This is particularly helpful for those who work in loud environments such as restaurants.

Multiple channels

Just because a hearing aid has more channels than another doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better. What it means is that these different channels offer ways to adjust different frequencies. Therefore, those dealing with both low-end and high-end pitch problems can adjust the volume on one without necessarily adjusting the volume on another. The idea is that these different channels help even out what a person can hear.

Your Hearing Loss

Of course, the type and severity of your hearing loss will also play a factor in which kind of hearing aid will truly give you the best opportunity to understand those around you. This is something that your otolaryngologist can discuss with you during your evaluation and fitting. There are many options available for those dealing with everything from mild to profound hearing loss.

Are you ready to sit down with an ENT specialist to discuss your hearing aid options? Don’t put off addressing your hearing difficulties. The sooner you treat your hearing loss the better.