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Posts for category: ENT Conditions

By Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Corpus Christi
December 10, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Nosebleeds  
NosebleedsWith the dry winter weather approaching, it’s normal for people to experience more nosebleeds; however, it’s also important to recognize what is causing your nosebleeds so you can take the appropriate measures to prevent them. While most nosebleeds aren’t a cause for concern, sometimes they may require turning to an ENT doctor for more specialized care.

Why do nosebleeds happen?

The two most common reasons for nosebleeds are picking at the skin, which leads to injury of the soft tissue in the nose and drying out of nasal tissue, which causes the tissue to crack and bleed. While these issues are unpleasant they are not typically something to worry about. Particularly dry environments can often dry out the nasal cavity and lead to nosebleeds, so you may notice them more often during the winter months.
 
Why do nosebleeds keep happening to me?

What if you are dealing with nosebleeds four or more times a week? If this is what you’re currently experiencing, then you’re dealing with recurring or chronic nosebleeds. This is typically a symptom of an underlying problem that warrants seeing an ENT doctor for an evaluation.

There are several reasons you may be dealing with chronic or persistent nosebleeds and it’s your otolaryngologist’s job to figure out what’s causing them. Through a physical examination of the nose and sinuses, your doctor may be able to figure out what’s going on. In some instances, imaging tests may be necessary to rule out or diagnose a condition or problem. Allergies are a common cause of recurring nosebleeds.

Nasal polyps or tumors in the sinuses can also cause nosebleeds. If you have a blood clotting disorder or you’re on blood thinners this is information that you will need to include in your medical history so that your doctor can determine the best way to reduce your risk for nosebleeds.

Don’t let recurring or severe nosebleeds impact your daily routine. An ENT doctor will be able to figure out what’s causing your nosebleeds and what you can do to prevent them from happening in the first place.
By Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Corpus Christi
December 01, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Strep Throat  
Step ThroatAs the weather gets colder and we gear up for the winter months, we also start to see an uptick in illnesses. Everything from colds and flu to strep throat abound, and ENT doctors certainly start to see more patients. So, how do you know if you’re dealing with a simple sore throat or whether your sore throat might actually be strep? Since strep is the result of a bacterial infection, this problem will require medical treatment to get better.

What is the difference between strep and a sore throat?

Not all sore throats are strep but all strep certainly causes sore throats. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to spot the difference between a good ole sore throat and strep throat. A sore throat is often caused by a viral infection such as a cold, while strep throat is caused by a bacteria called streptococcus. A sore throat will also go away on its own but strep throat won’t.

What are the warning signs of strep?

While strep can happen to both children and adults, ENT doctors most often see it in children. If you have a simple sore throat you’re most likely to also have symptoms of a cold such as a cough, runny nose, or sneezing. A strep throat, on the other hand, can cause,
  • Inflamed, swollen, and red tonsils
  • White or red spots on the roof of the mouth or tonsils
  • A severe sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Swollen, tender lymph nodes in the neck
  • Fever (typically over 101 F)
  • Chills
The main difference between a sore throat and strep is that strep won’t produce a cough. If you or your child is experiencing these symptoms it’s time to visit an ear, nose, and throat doctor for treatment.

How is strep treated?

Since strep is caused by a bacterial infection the only course of action is to treat the problem with a round of antibiotics. Since strep throat can cause complications it’s important that you seek treatment for strep as soon as you notice symptoms. Once starting the antibiotics, you should also begin to feel better within 48 hours (but don’t stop taking your medication just because you feel better!). It’s also important to rest and stay hydrated during this time to help your body heal.

If you are experiencing symptoms of strep throat, it’s always best to play it safe and call your ENT doctor. We would be happy to listen to your symptoms over the phone to determine whether you need to come into the office for an evaluation.
By Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Corpus Christi
October 15, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Cholesteatoma  
CholesteatomaCholesteatoma might sound like a scary illness, and although it is a serious condition, it is treatable by your local ENT. If you’re suffering from reoccurring ear problems, mention Cholesteatoma to your ENT at your next appointment. 

What is Cholesteatoma?

Cholesteatoma occurs when a large collection of skin cells occur deep within the ear. This growth of skin is where cholesteatoma gets its name, toma being the word for swelling or tumor. Fortunately, cholesteatoma presents as a non-cancerous cyst.

Cholesteatoma can be either genetic, known as congenital cholesteatoma, or develop later in life, known as acquired cholesteatoma. Both are caused by keratinizing cells in the temporal bone. Abnormal growths usually present in the middle ear behind the eardrum.

Signs and Symptoms

A cholesteatoma usually only affects one ear.
It can cause symptoms including:
  • Fluid drainage in the ear
  • Foul-smelling drainage
  • Feeling pressure or fullness in the ear
  • Hearing loss
  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Pain
  • Numbness or weakness on one side of the face
Risk Factors

Developing congenital cholesteatoma is incredibly rare. However, it is possible to acquire it in adulthood.
Some of the risk factors of developing cholesteatoma include:
  • Re-occurring middle ear infections
  • Poor eustachian tube function
  • Genetics
  • Being of Caucasian descent (incidence is rarest in Indian Asians)
  • Being born with craniofacial syndromes such as cleft lip
How Is It Diagnosed?

A doctor will take a look inside your ear using an otoscope to determine if you have cholesteatoma. They can see the cholesteatoma, which often looks like a cyst made of skin cells or a mass of blood vessels.

If the cholesteatoma is too small to be detected, a CT scan may be ordered.

What are the Treatment Options?

Treatment for cholesteatoma often involves surgery for severe cases. However, if caught early, it can be treated through a round of antibiotics, ear drops, and cleaning your ear carefully.

The goal of the treatment is to reduce the chances of an infection occurring, reduce inflammation, and drain the ear of the cyst.

What If It Goes Untreated?

Surgery is perhaps the best way to treat cholesteatomas that won't go away, which is, unfortunately, quite common. Cholesteatomas tend to grow bigger and can eventually lead to:
  • Destruction of surrounding tissues and bones
  • Permanent facial nerve damage, including numbness
  • Severe infections such as meningitis (although rare)
  • Chronic ear infections
  • Swelling of the inner ear
Because of the severe side effects cholesteatoma might have, it's important for people to get checked out by a doctor should they have any symptoms or risk factors.
By Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Corpus Christi
September 30, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Deviated Septum  
Deviated SeptumIf you’re having trouble breathing properly through your nose (or one nostril in particular) you may not be surprised to discover that you could have a deviated septum. A deviated septum occurs when the septum, the wall of cartilage that separates the two nasal passages, is crooked. This means that one nostril may be partially obstructed, which is why you have trouble breathing through your nose. Fortunately, an ENT doctor will be able to provide you with some relief.
 
Medications

While medication won’t treat the nasal deformity, if you are only dealing with mild symptoms then your ENT doctor may simply recommend taking medications to help better control the symptoms you are experiencing. Decongestants are one type of medication that can help reduce swelling within the nasal cavity, making it easier to breathe.

Another medication that is often prescribed is an antihistamine. This is more common if you are also dealing with allergy symptoms that impact your ability to breathe. Those patients exhibiting symptoms such as nasal congestion or a runny nose may benefit most from this type of medication.
Along with decongestants, a steroid nasal spray may also be used in conjunction with this treatment to reduce nasal inflammation to make breathing through your nose easier. This medication is typically only prescribed by your ENT doctor for a couple of weeks.
 
Surgery

If someone is dealing with a severely deviated septum that blocks or partially blocks a nostril, or if symptoms aren’t properly controlled with medication, then surgery may be the best option.

Surgery is the only way to actually repair a deviated septum. This procedure, known as a septoplasty, is performed by an ENT specialist who will make small incisions within the septum to reposition and realign the cartilage. In some instances, your ENT doctor will also instruct as to whether or not a rhinoplasty (“a nose job”) is needed to improve the overall shape and size of the nose after the deviated septum is repositioned.
 
As you can see, there are several ways in which to treat a deviated septum. If you are having difficulty breathing through your nose, know that an otolaryngologist can help you breathe easier.
By Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Corpus Christi
August 26, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Ear PainWhile getting to hop aboard an airplane can be exciting, especially if you are traveling somewhere fun and new, we also know that it’s all fun and games until someone develops ear pain. If you or your child is prone to airplane ear (also known as ear barotrauma), then you may be interested in turning to an ENT doctor for answers. Discover the reason for airplane ear, what makes someone prone to this problem, and ways to prevent it from happening.

What are the symptoms of airplane ear?

Anyone who has ever experienced this knows the symptoms. Most people experience mild to moderate ear pain, fullness, or muffled hearing while flying. Sometimes these symptoms can become severe, resulting in intense ear pressure, vertigo, ringing in the ears, and even significant (but temporary) hearing loss.

Why does airplane ear happen?

Since you are flying at high altitudes in an airplane, the pressure of the air versus the pressure of the middle ear don’t align, which impacts how the eardrum vibrates. Since air pressure changes rather quickly, particularly during takeoff and landing, this is often when people experience bouts of airplane ear. Some people may find that yawning helps open the eustachian tubes to equalize pressure in the ear to alleviate symptoms.

Of course, flying in an airplane isn’t the only time that you may experience this problem. If you are in the mountains, ride an elevator or go scuba diving, you may also notice that your ears get plugged up. This is usually a minor occurrence of ear barotrauma.

Some people may be more prone to airplane ear than others. Newborns and toddlers are at risk because they have smaller eustachian tubes. Other risk factors include ear or sinus infections, allergies, or having a cold.

Are there ways to improve airplane ear?

Fortunately, there are certain techniques and tricks to make dealing with airplane ear a little less painful. Most people have tried the Valsalva maneuver, in which you pinch your nose and keep your mouth closed and then gently blow through the nose. You may also chew gum or suck on a piece of candy. If you believe that your airplane ear is caused by allergies or sinus infections, try taking a decongestant or using a nasal spray before takeoff and landing.

If you find yourself dealing with ear pain or changes in hearing that last for days after flying, it’s important that you call your ENT doctor right away. Even the most minor symptoms may require medical attention, so don’t ignore them.