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Posts for: November, 2019

By Ko'olau Ear, Nose and Throat
November 22, 2019
Category: Otolaryngology
Tags: Nosebleeds  

Nosebleeds happen to most of us at some point during our lifetime. While it can be startling, nosebleeds are typically harmless and nothing to worry about. Of course, if you battle nosebleeds rather regularly you may be wondering what’s going on and whether you should turn to an otolaryngologist for an evaluation. Here’s what you should know about getting a nosebleed.

Common Causes of a Nosebleed

The blood vessels within our nose are very delicate, which means that they are prone to bursting and causing nosebleeds. Therefore, the two most common causes of nosebleeds are nose picking and dry air. Dry air can dry out the nasal passages, which leaves the area prone to infection and cracking.

Other causes include:

  • Repeated nose blowing
  • Allergies
  • Broken nose
  • Acute or chronic sinusitis (a sinus infection)
  • Common cold
  • Irritants
  • Certain allergy medications (these medications can dry out the nose)
  • Traumatic injury to the nose
  • Deviated septum
  • Bleeding disorders
  • High altitude
  • Excessive use of blood thinners or anti-inflammatory medications

There are two main types of nosebleeds: anterior and posterior. An anterior nosebleed is a bleed that originates in the septum of the nose (the wall that separates the two nasal passages). These nosebleeds are minor and can be treated with home care. If your child experiences nosebleeds an anterior nosebleed is usually the cause.

Posterior nosebleeds occur further back in the nose where the artery branches are located. This type of nosebleed is much heavier, occurs more often in adults and may require medical care. While rare, it is possible for a posterior nosebleed to be a sign of high blood pressure or a blood disorder (e.g. hemophilia).

When to See a Doctor

While most people will be able to treat a simple nosebleed on their own without having to seek medical care, it’s important to see a doctor right away if:

  • Your nosebleed is affecting your ability to breath
  • Bleeding lasts more than 20 minutes
  • Your nosebleed is the result of a traumatic injury or accident
  • There is a significant amount of blood

While it’s not considered an emergency situation, it is a good idea to talk with your ENT doctor if you or your child experiences nosebleeds often. During an evaluation an ear, nose and throat doctor can ask you questions about your symptoms, perform a quick examination of the nose and determine the underlying cause of your persistent nosebleeds.

If you are concerned about you or your child’s nosebleeds then it’s best to play it safe and to schedule an appointment with an otolaryngologist. Call our office today.


By Ko'olau Ear, Nose and Throat
November 08, 2019
Category: Otolaryngology

Cancer can grow anywhere in the body, even the head and neck. These cancers are twice as common among men and they are usually diagnosed in adults over 50 years old. The common types of head and neck cancer include:

  • Oral cavity
  • Oropharnygeal (in the throat or back of the mouth)
  • Nasal cavity
  • Paranasal sinus
  • Nasopharyngeal
  • Laryngeal (in the voice box)
  • Hypopharyngeal (behind or beside the voice box)

Most of the time people don’t find out that they have head and neck cancer until symptoms start to surface that warrant visiting the doctor. Sometimes a dentist may be able to pinpoint early changes during your routine dental cleanings; however, your doctor may send you to an otolaryngologist for a more comprehensive evaluation and diagnosis.

During your evaluation, an ENT doctor will ask you questions regarding your current health and any symptoms you are experiencing. From there, your doctor will determine the best tests to perform to detect head and neck cancer. These tests may include a physical examination of the head and neck, a CT or MRI scan, or a biopsy.

If you are diagnosed with head and neck cancer the first thing your doctor will want to do is determine what stage the cancer is (which simply means determining how far the cancer has spread). The stages let us know the extent of the cancer’s growth but also which organs have been affected or could soon be affected. Stages of cancer range from 0-4, with the lower stages indicating that the cancer hasn’t spread to other organs or isn’t spreading quickly.

Treating Head and Neck Cancer

Today, there are many treatment options for head and neck cancer and your doctor will be able to go through the different options to determine the right plan for you. The type of treatment or treatments you will receive will depend on the stage and location of your cancer.

Localized treatments such as surgery or radiation are used to treat only the cancer and do not affect the body as a whole, while systemic treatments such as chemo and targeted therapy drugs will affect the whole body. Systemic treatments are often used on patients with more advanced stages of cancer that have spread to other areas of the body.

Surgery may be recommended if the cancer isn’t in a difficult location in which to operate. Surgery can be performed to remove lymph nodes from the neck or to remove part or all of a structure such as the voice box or jawbone.

If you are noticing changes in your voice, an oral sore or lesion that doesn’t heal, or a mass in the head or neck region it’s a good idea to see your ear, nose, and throat doctor right away for a thorough examination. The sooner head and neck cancer is detected the better.