My Blog
By Century Ear, Nose, Throat, Head & Neck Surgery
September 08, 2020
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Allergies  

It might be the most wonderful time of the year if it weren’t for your runny nose, sneezing and watery eyes. If you are an allergy sufferer then you may spend certain months of the year hiding inside longing to be outdoors. While minor allergies can be managed with home remedies and over-the-counter antihistamines, when these medications and DIY treatments just aren’t cutting it, it’s time to turn to our Evergreen Park, New Lenox, and Orland Park, IL ENT doctor for answers.

Who develops allergies?

Allergies can happen to anyone; however, we tend to see allergies first flare-up in childhood. These symptoms may disappear as your child gets older but appear again once they become adults. If your immediate family deals with allergies, chances are good that you’ll also deal with them at some point. Smoking, hormones and perfume may also trigger reactions in those with allergies.

Should I see an ENT doctor about my allergies?

If symptoms are mild perhaps you aren’t too bothered by them and can handle them on your own; however, there are countless individuals who battle months-long or even year-round allergies. If you feel like you’re always dealing with allergy symptoms then it’s time to see your otolaryngologist.

What can an ENT doctor do?

Instead of turning to a regular physician, an ENT doctor specializes in treating problems that affect the ears, nose and throat. This means that you’ll get more comprehensive care and treatment when you come into our office. Our Orland Park, IL, ENT doctors can provide a battery of allergy tests to confirm what type of allergies you have.

From there, we can offer a wide range of treatments depending on the type and severity of your allergies. We may prescribe stronger antihistamines, or recommend immunotherapy (aka: allergy shots) for those with more severe and persistent symptoms. There are a variety of medications on the market that can help you get your allergy or asthma symptoms under control. We will also provide you with lifestyle modifications to reduce allergen exposure.

Century Ear, Nose and Throat - Head and Neck Surgery has been providing allergy treatment to patients in Orland Park, New Lenox and Evergreen Park, IL, since 1960. If you are looking for professional allergy relief, or you want to find out what allergies you’re dealing with, give us a call at (708) 460-0007.

By Century Ear, Nose, Throat, Head & Neck Surgery
September 02, 2020
Category: ENT Care
Tags: Tonsillectomy   Tonsillitis  
TonsillectomyThe 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
  • Fever
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.
By Century Ear, Nose, Throat, Head & Neck Surgery
July 31, 2020
Category: ENT Care
Eustachian Tube DysfunctionThe eustachian tube is a narrow canal that runs from the throat to the middle ear, and it is responsible for regulating pressure within the middle ear. If you’ve ever yawned and felt your ears become “unplugged” then you’ve experienced the Eustachian tube at work. However, sometimes people can deal with eustachian tube dysfunction, which can affect the pressure in the ears. Those with eustachian tube dysfunction may experience:
  • Pressure or fullness in the ears
  • Muffled hearing
  • Pain in the ears
  • Ringing in the ears (known as tinnitus)
  • Issues with balance
  • A popping or clicking sensation in the ears
Sometimes these symptoms are exacerbated by altitude changes such as flying or riding in an elevator.

Children are often more at risk for developing Eustachian tube dysfunction because these tubes are shorter than they are in adults. This means that it’s easier for bacteria or fluid to get trapped within the middle ear. The good news is that these symptoms usually go away on their own and typically without treatment. There are things you can do such as chewing gum to help make the issue go away. If the problem persists then it’s time to see an otolaryngologist.

Once your ENT doctor has conducted a thorough examination of you or your child’s ears there are several approaches for alleviating the symptoms of eustachian tube dysfunction:
  • If Eustachian tube dysfunction is due to an allergic reaction then your doctor may prescribe decongestants or antihistamines, which can reduce swelling and target the body’s response to the allergen.
  • A minor procedure can be performed in which an otolaryngologist makes a small incision in the eardrum to remove the fluid that’s trapped in the middle ear. The eardrum will then heal in a couple of days.
  • Sometimes implants are placed into the eardrums to help drain the fluid and to prevent fluid from building up. This is a recommended treatment for children who develop frequent ear infections due to eustachian tube dysfunction.
  • A special balloon catheter procedure (similar to the one used to treat chronic sinusitis) can be directed into the nose and into the eustachian tube, where it opens up the tubes to help them drain properly.
Your ENT doctor can talk to you about the different options for helping you or your child deal with eustachian tube dysfunction. While this condition is often self-limiting and will usually go away on its own. If symptoms become severe or problematic then it’s time to see a qualified medical professional.
By Century Ear, Nose, Throat, Head & Neck Surgery
June 24, 2020
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Throat Cancer  
Throat CancerYour ENT doctor sees, diagnoses, and treats many conditions related to the ear, nose, and throat. One of the most worrisome is throat cancer, along with malignancies of the pharynx, tonsils, and larynx. The Cancer Treatment Centers of America reports that the incidence of throat cancer increases with age (65 and older) and gender (male). As with most cancers, early recognition of symptoms, a proper diagnosis, and the right treatment are the keys to recovery.
 
Signs of throat cancer
The American Cancer Society says a persistent sore throat--one lasting two weeks or more--is a danger sign you should report to your primary care physician or otolaryngologist right away. Other signs of malignancy include:
  • A continuing cough
  • Hoarseness of voice
  • Unexplained and significant weight loss
  • Trouble swallowing easily (dysphagia)
  • Pain in the jaw or ear
  • White or red patches or sores in the mouth which do not heal
  • Nose bleeds
  • Headaches
  • Swollen tissues anywhere in the head/neck area
  • Numbness in the mouth and especially the tongue
  • Continual nasal congestion
Sadly, untreated throat cancer spreads to other parts of the body, including the lips, lungs, and bones. More severe symptoms, such as bone pain or coughing up blood, can indicate metastasis of throat cancer.
 
Risk factors and prevention
Many throat cancers can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle. Lifestyle risk factors include:
  • Smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco
  • Excessive alcohol consumption (more than two drinks daily if you a man and more than one a day for women)
  • HPV exposure (Human Papilloma Virus) through oral sex
  • A diet low in vegetables and fruit
  • GERD, or acid reflux disease, in which stomach acid backs up into the esophagus
  • Trouble with breathing and speaking
  • Headaches
To minimize your risk, your physician may recommend smoking cessation, losing weight to avoid GERD, a diet rich in fiber, fruits, and vegetables, and less alcohol. Asbestos exposure poses a cancer risk. Additionally, your dentist helps with early detection as he or she checks you for oral cancer with each routine office visit.

How to beat it
The American Cancer Society reports that about 12,000 people in the United States receive a throat cancer diagnosis annually. Five-year survival rates improve with early staging. See your doctor right away if you exhibit these concerning symptoms. Live longer, and live well.
By Century Ear, Nose, Throat, Head & Neck Surgery
June 01, 2020
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Dysphagia  
You may take it for granted, but swallowing water, food, or saliva is actually a very complicated process. It requires vast systems of nerves and muscles working together. Patients that struggle to swallow normally have what is known as Dysphagia. This is not a stand-alone condition but a symptom of something else. It’s why you need to schedule an appointment with an Ears, Nose, and Throat specialist (ENT) right away. The elderly are especially at risk and can end up aspirating. 
 
The Swallowing Process
There are four distinct stages of swallowing. You do this hundreds of times every day without even realizing it. 
  • The oral preparation stage is where the food or liquid is made ready for swallowing. In terms of food, this means chewing your food. 
  • Next is the oral stage where the tongue moves food or liquid to the back of the mouth. This starts the swallowing process.
  • Then comes the pharyngeal stage, where the contents of the mouth go through the pharynx, throat, and esophagus. 
  • Last is the esophageal stage, where it transfers from the esophagus into your stomach. 
Symptoms of Dysphagia
Pay attention to these symptoms if dysphagia is suspected:
  • A constant feeling of something, either water or liquid, being stuck in the throat.
  • Problems controlling saliva production, i.e. drooling.
  • The sensation of a lump in the throat.
  • Discomfort in the chest or throat.
  • Coughing or choking when trying to swallow, drink, or eat. This is due to substances being pulled into the lungs. 
  • Difficulties sustaining a normal weight caused by swallowing interfering with nutritional intake. 
What Is Causing My Dysphagia? 
The most common cause is Gastroesophageal Reflux. This is a GI condition where stomach acid travels up the esophagus and pharynx. Other possibilities include: 
  • Tonsillitis or throat infections
  • Scarring or damage to the esophagus
  • Medication side effects 
  • Tumors in the lungs, esophagus, or throat
  • Nerve diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
What to Expect With Treatment
Your ENT specialist works with you to determine the cause of your dysphagia. Addressing the underlying condition can start a path to recovery. 
 
In some cases the cause is unclear. Your ENT will do everything possible to determine what is behind your dysphagia. They will ask you about the history of this problem and examine your throat. They might recommend a swallow test or various types of laryngoscopy. 




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