Posts for category: ENT Conditions
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.
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.
If you're experiencing problems with your ears, you should have them checked by an ear, nose, and throat specialist (ENT) before the issues turn severe. If your symptoms result in hearing loss, an audiologist or an ENT in Orland Park, New Lenox, Evergreen Park IL can provide a broad range of services. Dr. Brian Farrell and his team at Century Ear, Nose and Throat can diagnose and treat any medical conditions causing your hearing loss.
What Is an ENT?
ENT is the abbreviation for an ear, nose, and throat specialist. Most ENTs are highly-qualified, highly-educated doctors who are also skilled surgeons. An ENT in Orland Park, New Lenox, Evergreen Park IL can diagnose, treat and perform surgical procedures on most problems related to your ears. Ear, nose, and throat specialists can also diagnose and treat any medical-related issue that may cause hearing loss.
What is an Audiologist?
An audiologist specializes in the maintenance of hearing loss. In many cases, audiologists are experts in the technology that can help restore hearing loss. However, they specialize in the auditory system and are generally unable to treat any medical issues that cause you to lose your hearing. If you're losing your hearing because of age or any non-medical-related problem, you may want to visit an audiologist to discuss your treatment options.
Advanced Medical Issues and Hearing Loss
Advanced medical problems, such as an ear infection, hypertension, diabetes, or other diseases, can cause temporary or even permanent hearing loss. Other issues like earwax build-up, swimmer's ear, and sinus infections are generally minor problems, but they can also lead to temporary or permanent hearing loss.
All of these issues should be diagnosed and treated by ENTs if you're experiencing any hearing loss. If you see an audiologist for any of these medical-related issues for hearing loss, you'll more than likely get a referral to an ENT.
Our team at Century Ear, Nose, and Throat hopes this helps you choose the right medical provider for your hearing concerns. Contact Dr. Farrell and his professional and friendly ENT staff in Orland Park, New Lenox, Evergreen Park IL at (708) 460-0007 if you want to learn more about what we do and how we can help with your hearing loss.
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.
- Fluid drainage in the ear
- Foul-smelling drainage
- Feeling pressure or fullness in the ear
- Hearing loss
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Numbness or weakness on one side of the face
Developing congenital cholesteatoma is incredibly rare. However, it is possible to acquire it in adulthood.
- Re-occurring middle ear infections
- Poor eustachian tube function
- Being of Caucasian descent (incidence is rarest in Indian Asians)
- Being born with craniofacial syndromes such as cleft lip
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
It’s important to look to your environment and your lifestyle for clues as to what’s going on. For one, if you were out singing or talking in a loud club the night before you may have simply strained your vocal cords. If you have seasonal allergies such as hay fever, you may notice that you wake up with persistent scratchy or sore throats several months out of the year. If your bedroom is particularly dry, especially during the colder months, this could be another reason you wake up with sore throats.
There are a host of infections that also cause sore throats; however, they are often short-lived and don’t persist for more than 10 days. Viral infections are often to blame, and they will go away without treatment (antibiotics will not be effective against the common cold or influenza virus). People who deal with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) often complain of a scratchy or sore throat. If you are also dealing with heartburn or acid reflux two or more times a week, this could be the culprit.
- Waking up with a sore throat
- Persistent morning headaches
- Waking up tired despite a full night’s sleep
- Loud, chronic snoring
- Increased mood swings
- Trouble concentrating and poor memory
If you experience recurring or persistent sore throats it’s always a good idea to see your ENT doctor for a proper diagnosis so you know how to best treat your symptoms. Since some infections such as strep can be dangerous to both kids and adults, it’s important to know when to come in for treatment.
- You should see an ENT doctor right away if:
- You are having trouble swallowing or breathing
- You have extremely painful or swollen lymph nodes
- Your sore throat is accompanied by a high fever
- Your sore throat persists for more than a week
- You have trouble sleeping due to swallowing or breathing issues
What are the signs and symptoms of nasal polyps?
Nasal polyps are typically to blame for chronic inflammation and swelling of the nasal cavity. People with nasal polyps may not realize that they have them, but they may be more likely to deal with other problems such as chronic sinusitis.
Chronic sinusitis and other nasal issues are typically what bring people into our ENT practice in the first place. From there, we can run the appropriate diagnostic tests to see if you could be dealing with nasal polyps.
Other warning signs include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Postnasal drip
- Decreased sense of smell
- Loss of smell or taste
- Referred pain in the upper teeth
- Facial pressure and pain
- Recurring nosebleeds
If you are dealing with nasal symptoms that last more than 10 days, then it’s a good idea to see your otolaryngologist to find out what’s going on. After all, these symptoms can also be caused by other respiratory conditions that may require treatment or special care, and it’s important to be able to determine what’s causing your symptoms so we know how to best treat them.
How are nasal polyps treated?
Medication is typically the first line of treatment for managing symptoms of nasal polyps. The most commonly prescribed medications include:
- Antileukotrienes to reduce inflammation
If you are battling symptoms of chronic sinusitis, you could actually be dealing with nasal polyps. Any sinus or nasal symptoms that last for weeks on end should be evaluated by an otolaryngologist.