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Posts for category: ENT Health

By Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Corpus Christi
November 20, 2020
Category: ENT Health
Tags: Adenoids  
What Are AdenoidsWhen we think about the first line of defense against infection we often think about the tonsils; however, the adenoids also play a part in protecting against infection. Together the tonsils and adenoids make up the lymphatic system and stop viruses and bacteria from entering the mouth and nose. While the tonsils are found in the back of the throat the adenoids sit in the far back of the throat behind the nose. Unfortunately, just as tonsils can get infected and cause problems, so too can adenoids.

What causes enlarged adenoids?

Since adenoids frequently come into contact with germs, it’s common for adenoids to swell a bit to get rid of an infection. Allergies also have the ability to cause enlarged adenoids. While the swelling will often go away on its own, there are instances where the swelling can actually turn into an infection.

What are the symptoms of enlarged adenoids?

While tonsil problems will mostly affect the throat, if you are dealing with enlarged adenoids most of the symptoms are concentrated in the nasal cavity. Those with enlarged adenoids may experience:
  • Trouble breathing through the nose
  • Mouth breathing
  • Dry lips and mouth (as a result of mouth breathing)
  • Snoring
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Chronic or persistent sinus infections
  • Ear infections
  • Obstructive sleep apnea (pauses in the breath that happening while asleep)
Should I have my adenoids removed?

It’s important to talk with your ENT doctor if you or your child are dealing with persistent symptoms of enlarged adenoids. We will ask you questions about the symptoms you are experiencing and go through your medical history to determine whether you could benefit from an adenoidectomy. It may be time to considering having your adenoids removed if:
  • You are dealing with obstructive sleep apnea or poor sleep as a result of enlarged adenoids
  • You are dealing with recurring, antibiotic-resistant ear infections
  • You have recurring adenoid infections that don’t respond to medication
  • Your symptoms are impacting your life, including work or school performance
In some cases, your ENT doctor may recommend getting both the adenoids and tonsils removed at the same time.

If you or your child is dealing with enlarged adenoids or other problems that affect your breathing, you must see an ENT doctor that can provide you with the treatment you need. 
By Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Corpus Christi
November 05, 2020
Category: ENT Health
Tags: Cleft Palate  
A cleft palate is a common birth defect that occurs in the first six to nine weeks of pregnancy in which the tissue of the roof of the mouth doesn’t fuse. This results in an opening in the roof of the mouth that over time can lead to other problems such as recurring ear infections, difficulty with feedings, and speech problems. This is why it’s important to work with a qualified ear, nose, and throat doctor who can ensure that your child gets the proper treatment to correct their cleft palate.

Detecting a Cleft Palate

During your child’s very first examination after birth, a doctor will be able to easily tell whether your child has a cleft palate through a simple oral exam. From there, your pediatrician may recommend seeing an ENT doctor who can correct the birth defect.

Cleft Palate Treatment

The only way to correct a cleft palate is through a procedure known as a palatoplasty. This usually isn’t performed until the baby is around 10 to 12 months old. A palatoplasty will close the gap in the roof of the mouth to improve feedings and to prevent speech delays. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia and takes about 2-3 hours to complete.

The surgery will close up the gap in the palate and repair any of the muscles of the palate, if necessary. Stitches will dissolve on their own and your ENT doctor will provide you with detailed care instructions both before and after surgery. For example, your baby will need to stick with a liquid diet for about a week after surgery and then only eat soft foods for several weeks after.

Even after surgery, your child may require additional surgeries or other specialists and care such as orthodontics or speech therapy. This is something that you can discuss with your ENT doctor. This procedure is designed to not only improve your child’s appearance but also to prevent speech impediments and language delays, as well as breathing, hearing, or feeding problems.

If your baby was born with a cleft lip or palate, an otolaryngologist will be able to provide you with the specialized surgical treatment you need to correct this birth defect. To learn more about this procedure and your child’s treatment options, call your ENT today.
By Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Corpus Christi
October 20, 2020
Category: ENT Health
Tags: Nasal Irrigation  
Nasal IrrigationDealing with a blocked nose thanks to a cold or a sinus infection? If so, you may be wondering about ways to help alleviate your symptoms until the infection clears up. Many people swear by nasal irrigation, a simple remedy that involves pouring a saline solution into the nose to help wash out mucus and other bacteria. Is this the best way to manage your stuffy nose? Your ENT doctor is here to help you determine the best home remedies for treating blocked or clogged nasal passages.

What is nasal irrigation and how does it work?

Nasal irrigation has roots in ayurvedic medicine and involves flushing out the sinuses to help manage symptoms associated with:
  • Sinusitis (both acute and chronic)
  • Colds and other respiratory infections
  • Allergies
  • Irritants
Most people have heard of a neti pot, a small pot that holds and pours saline solution through the nasal passages. It’s crucial that you only use distilled or sterilized water when using an at-home nasal irrigation system. Your ENT doctor may recommend a neti pot for thinning out mucus and improving your symptoms, particularly if you deal with chronic or recurring sinus infections. In some cases, this may be beneficial for patients to do regularly, especially for those who are looking to avoid surgery to treat partially blocked or clogged sinuses.

By thinning out mucus, some patients also report a reduction in facial pain, nasal congestion, and sinus pressure, which can also reduce your chances of tension or sinus-related headaches.

How do I use my nasal irrigation system?

You can easily purchase a nasal irrigation system over the counter at your local drugstore. It’s important to read all instructions before starting. If you are unsure how to use it you may want to talk with your ENT doctor first, who can show you how to use your neti pot safely and effectively.

In most cases, you will need to mix a special salt and baking soda mixture into distilled or sterilized water. Once the neti pot has been filled with the saline solution, tilt your head slightly and place the spout of the pot into the nostril and slowly begin to pour the solution into the nose (this should be done over a sink). While it might feel awkward at first, it should not be uncomfortable or hurt. Neti pots can be used for people of all ages, including children.

If you are dealing with a recurrent sinus infection or uncontrollable allergy symptoms, you must talk with a qualified ENT doctor to find out what’s going on and how to get your condition under control.
By Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Corpus Christi
September 18, 2020
Category: ENT Health
Tags: Deviated Septum  
Deviated SeptumThe septum is a thin wall of cartilage that separates the two nasal cavities of the nose. If the septum is crooked or leans more to one side, this is known as a deviated septum. A deviated septum is quite common, and many people don’t even realize that they have one. That’s because this condition is usually rather minor and doesn’t cause serious symptoms; however, if you’re experiencing difficulty breathing through your nose you may want to see your ENT doctor for an evaluation.

If your deviated septum symptoms are mild, then your ENT specialist may recommend over-the-counter or prescription medications that can help reduce inflammation within the nasal tissue to help improve airflow. Common medications used to treat a deviated septum include:
  • Antihistamines: May be effective for treating congestion or a runny nose caused by this structural abnormality
  • Nasal sprays: Most nasal sprays contain steroids, which can greatly reduce inflammation
  • Decongestants: Milder symptoms may respond to simple medications such as decongestants, which can help break up mucus and reduce inflammation within the nasal tissue
Of course, more moderate to severe symptoms may require surgery to fix the underlying problem. Symptoms of a deviated septum include:
  • Nasal obstruction or full blockage of a nasal cavity
  • Severe facial pain and pressure
  • Frequent headaches
  • Snoring
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Severe swelling
Your ENT doctor may recommend surgery to correct the abnormality if you have a fully blocked nostril or you are dealing with recurring or chronic bouts of sinusitis.

What should I expect from surgery?

If your otolaryngologist recommends surgery to correct the deviated septum, this type of surgery is known as a septoplasty. During surgery, an ENT specialist may need to remove some tissue or cartilage to make it easier to straighten the septum. In some instances, this procedure is performed along with a rhinoplasty to improve the overall shape of the nose. A septoplasty is usually only recommended if people are having significant trouble or cannot properly breathe out of their nose.

If you are unable to breathe through your nose fully or properly, we understand just how disconcerting this can be. An otolaryngologist can provide you not just with the answer you’re looking for but also comprehensive care. Find out the best way to manage your deviated septum symptoms. 
By Ear, Nose, & Throat Associates of Corpus Christi
July 17, 2020
Category: ENT Health
Tags: Ear Tube Surgery  
Ear Tube SurgeryMiddle ear infections (known as otitis media) are quite common in young children, and while they are usually nothing to worry about it, it can become a problem if your child is dealing with frequent ear infections. If your child has the occasional ear infection, then you probably won’t need to consider ear tube surgery; usually, your otolaryngologist can treat the problem through antibiotics or other types of non-surgical procedures. While ear tube surgery is one of the most common surgeries performed on children each year, having a couple of ear infections throughout the year usually isn’t enough to warrant surgery.

You may want to speak with an ENT specialist about the benefits of ear tube surgery if your child has experienced at least three ear infections within the last six months. Also, if your child is dealing with muffled hearing or any hearing loss due to fluid build-up in the middle ear, then ear tubes may be beneficial. It's important to treat this quickly, as hearing problems can delay speech. Another situation that may warrant this surgery is if your child has a collapsing eardrum (known as atelectasis).

Your doctor can tell you whether or not your child could benefit from ear tube surgery. The purpose of the procedure is to place ear tubes into the ears to drain the fluid from the middle ear. This will serve two purposes:
  • To prevent future ear infections (or, at the very least, make future infections milder)
  • To improve hearing in your child
This procedure is performed by a qualified ear, nose, and throat surgeon and is performed under general anesthesia (this means your child will be asleep during the procedure). The surgery is fairly simple: a small hole is made in each eardrum to help drain the fluid. Then, once the fluid is properly drained, the surgeon will place these small tubes into the holes of the eardrums so that any fluid continues to drain properly. The surgery itself only takes about 10 to 15 minutes and children can get home the very same day.

Ear tubes typically stay in the eardrums for about 18 months, depending on the type of tube that was placed; however, if the ear tubes do not fall out on their own within a couple of years then an ENT surgeon may need to surgically remove them.

If your child is dealing with severe and recurring ear infections, you must see an ENT doctor right away to find out what’s going on and to make sure that they are getting the treatment they need. Ear tube surgery isn’t for every child, so talk with your qualified medical provider before deciding whether this is the right decision.