My Blog
March 31, 2017
Category: ENT Health
Tags: Sinusitis  
SinusitisEveryone, at one time or another, has suffered with sinusitis. However, many people don’t know exactly what sinusitis is or how best to treat it; a lot of misinformation exists. Our doctors want to clear up these misunderstandings. For example, sinusitis, while often caused by the common cold, is not a cold. A cold, which is a viral infection, presents with a number of symptoms, of which sinusitis may be one.
Another common misconception is that sinusitis is always caused by a bacterial infection, therefore, the patient should take antibiotics immediately. However, that is not always the case.
In fact, many cases of sinusitis – even cases caused by bacterial infections -- don’t need to be treated with antibiotics at all. That’s why it’s important to know what is causing your sinusitis so you can properly treat it. An ENT specialist can help you determine what you are dealing with and how best to treat it.
In order to help better understand sinusitis, here are a few commonly asked questions and answers.

What is sinusitis?

Sinusitis is a condition that causes the cavities around your nasal passages (sinuses) to become inflamed and swollen. When this happens, it becomes more difficult for drainage to occur. This causes congestion, blockage, and tenderness.

What causes sinusitis?

Acute sinusitis is most often caused by the common cold. However, other conditions, such as allergies, bacterial and fungal infections, can cause sinusitis flare ups.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can include, but are not limited to: thick, yellow or green discharge; difficulty breathing through the nose; congestion; pain or tenderness around the eyes, cheeks, nose or forehead; and coughing.

How long does a typical bout of sinusitis last?

Generally, sinusitis doesn’t last more than a few days to a week or two. However, sinusitis that lasts more than eight weeks or keeps coming back is referred to as chronic sinusitis and may need more aggressive treatment. Severe cases left untreated can lead to more serious complications.

What are my treatment options?

Treatment will depend on the individual case, but most of the time most cases can be treated with over the counter/home remedies. More severe bacterial infections might require antibiotics.
If you are seeking the services of an experienced ENT doctor, consider contacting our office for an appointment.
If you have irritating allergies, you already know they can affect your life. They can keep you from doing the things you like, and worst of all, they may not be just seasonal. But now there’s help just a phone call away from your ENT specialists. Call today and get some relief from your allergies!
March 27, 2017
Category: ENT
Tags: Allergies  

Woman with AllergiesYou may have allergies that show up in the spring when plants are flowering and grass is growing. You’ve grown used to the itchy, allergies watery eyes and sneezing. But now, you have allergies in winter too, when you’re indoors because of bad weather. Your ENT specialists want you to know that allergies aren’t just seasonal. They can affect you all year long.

Hay fever, also called allergic rhinitis, is common during the spring and summer months and is caused by an allergic response to tree or grass pollen and various other flowering plants. But allergies aren’t confined to just spring and summer. When you are indoors during the fall and winter, you can experience allergies to pet dander, dust mites, mold and many other indoor irritants. You can also be allergic to certain foods and not even realize it.

Your first step in dealing with allergies is to learn what you are allergic to. Your ENT doctors can test you for food allergies and a variety of both indoor and outdoor allergens. Once you’ve found out what you are allergic to, your doctors may prescribe:

Allergy shots—typically given once a week with either a single injection or multiple injections depending on how many things you are allergic to.

Sublingual drop therapy—a convenient option for people on the go, or those who don’t want injections; your doctors mix up a custom treatment solution which you can take at home and use daily, as a drop under your tongue.

There are also some remedies you can try at home to get relief from allergy symptoms, such as:

  • Irrigating your nasal passages with a saline solution
  • Over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants
  • Using allergy-proof pillowcases and linens
  • Using allergy or HEPA filters in your house, especially in the bedroom
  • Vacuuming your carpets regularly
  • Keeping your pets off of furniture and out of your bedroom

If you have irritating allergies, you already know they can affect your life. They can keep you from doing the things you like, and worst of all, they may not be just seasonal. But now there’s help just a phone call away from your ENT specialists. Call today and get some relief from your allergies!

March 20, 2017
Category: ENT
Tags: Vocal Cord Lesions  

Though you may correlate vocal cord lesions to singers, this condition can affect anyone, especially if they use their voice loudly or often. vocal cord lesionsHowever, you may not realize you have vocal cord lesions at all. In this case, knowing the types of lesions and their signs and symptoms is helpful in determining when to see your otolaryngologist. Find out more about vocal cord lesions with Dr. Gordon Siegel at Midwest Ear, Nose and Throat in Chicago, IL.

What is a vocal cord lesion?
A vocal cord lesion is an abnormal, benign growth on the vocal cord. Lesions are usually classified as either polyps, nodules or cysts. A polyp usually grows on one side of the vocal cord and normally do not have a specific shape or size. A nodule occurs due to overuse and is actually a callus and often resolve themselves with rest. A cyst is a sac of tissue which grows on the vocal cord. The severity of the problems associated with vocal cord lesions normally depends on the size and location of the lesion.

Do I have vocal cord lesions? 
One of the main symptoms of a vocal cord lesion is unexplained and persistent hoarseness. You may also have a vocal cord lesion if you experience one or more of the following symptoms:

  • vocal fatigue
  • not able to begin speaking or singing easily
  • lower pitch than normal
  • airy, breathy, or low and harsh voice
  • your voice breaks
  • the need for frequently clearing your throat

These symptoms normally persist for longer than a week and do not seem to go away on their own. If you think you could have a vocal cord lesion, Dr. Siegel can help you confirm, diagnose and treat this condition.

Vocal Cord Lesion Treatment in Chicago, IL 
Treatments for most cases of vocal cord lesions begin conservatively with plenty of vocal rest. Voice therapy can also help ease the symptoms of a vocal cord lesion and help resolve the problem. Surgery to remove or repair the lesion is common, especially in patients who undergo therapy and notice positive results in their speaking voice but not their singing voice.

For more information on vocal cord lesions, please contact your otolaryngologist Dr. Siegel at Midwest Ear, Nose and Throat in Chicago, IL. Call (312) 988-7777 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Siegel today!

March 08, 2017
Category: ENT

Are your sinus problems so severe that they impact your life? If you've tried home remedies and prescription medications and still suffer, sinus painsinus surgery or balloon sinuplasty may offer the best way to ease your symptoms. Dr. Gordon Siegel, your Chicago, IL otolaryngologist at Midwest Ear Nose and Throat, shares some information about these procedures.

When is surgery recommended?

Surgery is generally not the first treatment option offered and is only recommended if nothing you've tried helps your sinus issues. When sinus infections, pain and congestion become chronic and recurrent and don't respond well to medications or home treatments, Dr. Siegel may suggest sinus surgery. This procedure is usually performed to eliminate blockages or address other problems that can cause breathing difficulties or make it difficult for your sinuses to drain properly.

Is sinus surgery a major procedure?

Thanks to technological advances, sinus surgery can be performed using minimally invasive techniques. Surgery is conducted using an endoscope, a thin flexible probe that's inserted into your sinuses through your nostrils. The probe contains a camera on the end that sends images to a computer monitor. After inserting tiny surgical instruments into your sinuses, Dr. Siegel consults the images to remove blockages, polyps and scar tissues, and correct structural problems, such as a deviated septum. The same-day surgery is usually performed under general anesthesia and usually only takes a few hours.

How will surgery help me?

After surgery, as the swelling gradually decreases over the next several weeks, you'll begin to notice an improvement in your ability to breathe. After surgery, most people experience fewer infections. If you do happen to get an occasional infection, it will probably be less severe than in the past. Although you may not have realized it, your sinus problems may have affected your sense of smell. After surgery, you'll be able to smell normally once again.

What is balloon sinuplasty?

A balloon sinuplasty is a minimally invasive procedure that is used to clear blockage and inflammation in your sinuses. You might benefit from this procedure if you suffer from sinus problems or have difficulty breathing through your nose and other treatments have not offered relief. A small balloon is placed in your nostril and expanded to widen the sinus drainage pathways.

The benefits of this procedure are that it is minimally invasive and provides long lasting relief. It is a short outpatient procedure done right in our office and can be done in as little as an hour. It also offers a quick recovery period. It may be an alternative to sinus surgery allowing you to breathe normally again.

Do you suffer from breathing problems or frequent sinus infections? Call Dr. Siegel, your Chicago, IL otolaryngologist at Midwest Ear Nose and Throat, at (312) 988-7777 to schedule an appointment to learn if sinus surgery or balloon sinuplasty are a good option for you.

January 09, 2017
Category: ENT
Tags: Cancer   Head   Neck  

The head and neck have a variety of structures which can be affected by cancer, and Dr. Gordon Siegel, an otolaryngologist at Midwest Ear Nose and Throat in Chicago, IL, wants all of his patients to be aware of the ways that cancer may present itself in this region of the body. It's important to understand the signs and symptoms of cancer. Having it diagnosed early makes treatment more effective and makes it easier to manage.

What types of cancer affect the head and neck?

There are many types of cancer in the head and neck area. The most commonly seen cancers originate inside the mouth; many of these can be associated with tobacco use. Any part of the throat may also be affected by cancerous growths, as well as the salivary glands, the sinuses and the nasal passages.

What are the signs and symptoms of head and neck cancer?

No two cases of head and neck cancer are alike. All of the following signs and symptoms can also be attributed to benign causes, which is why it is important to see your otolaryngologist with any concerns you may have so that a proper diagnosis can be obtained. Dr. Siegel is affiliated with Northwestern Hospital and provides the most up to date treatment options. The symptoms can include:

  • Swollen lymph nodes, which may or may not be painful
  • A persistent sore throat
  • A red or white patch or a lesion inside the mouth that does not heal
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing, with or without pain
  • Numbness or weakness in an area of the head or neck

If you have any of the above symptoms or another problem that has persisted longer than two weeks, we here at Midwest Ear Nose and Throat in Chicago, IL urge you to call to make an appointment with our skilled head and neck cancer specialist, Dr. Siegel.

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