Also known as canker sores and ulcers, mouth sores usually result from bite injuries or allergic reactions. They can also be a symptom of an underlying health condition. Unlike cold sores, which are caused by the herpes simplex virus (HS1 and HS2) and develop on the lips and the skin around the mouth, non-Herpes related mouth sores can form on the gums, tongue, lips, the lining of the cheeks and throat. Canker sores are not contagious, and usually clear up on their own. They tend to be painful and can be treated with topical over the counter analgesics, mouthwashes and rinses. If mouth sores do not resolve on their own and last longer than three weeks, it may be necessary to seek treatment from an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor.
Common Causes of Mouth Ulcers and Canker Sores
Accidental biting is the most common cause, along with friction from toothbrushing, orthodontics or dentures. Diet can also play a role, in the form of food allergies to anything from coffee, chocolate and highly acidic foods and citrus fruits. Deficiencies of essential vitamins and minerals like folic acid, B12, iron, folate and zinc can also cause mouth ulcers. Sodium lauryl sulfate in toothpaste and oral bacteria like Helicobacter pylori (which is also responsible for stomach ulcers) can cause lesions in the mouth as well.
Lifestyle factors like smoking and elevated stress levels are another cause. Ulcers that persist for more than a few weeks, do not respond to self-care and over the counter treatments and are accompanied by additional symptoms like fever, excessive pain, swelling and difficulty eating and drinking, can be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
Schedule an appointment with an ENT (ear, nose and throat doctor) if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:
- swollen lymph nodes
- difficulty swallowing or speaking
Is an Underlying Medical Condition Causing My Mouth Sores?
Persistent and chronic mouth sores can sometimes be a symptom of immune deficiencies or inflammatory conditions like lupus, Celiac, Behcet's and Chron's Disease. Contact an ear, nose and throat specialist (ENT) for more information on treatment options and symptom relief.
Do you hear as well as you once did? Our ENT specialist, Dr. Gordon Siegel of Midwest ENT in Chicago, IL, shares a few common signs that may indicate that your hearing has deteriorated.
The entire world has started mumbling
Some people do tend to mumble when they speak, which can make it challenging to hold conversations with them. If it suddenly seems as if everyone has begun to mumble, the problem may actually be caused by hearing loss. Hearing loss effectively turns down the volume on your life, making it much more difficult to follow conversations or identify words, particularly those that sound similar.
You've become an excellent guesser
If you're affected by hearing loss, you may miss words or phrases when you talk to other people. Often, it's possible to fill in those gaps based on the subject of the conversation. When guessing becomes a regular part of your life, it's time to visit our Chicago office for a hearing evaluation.
You've had difficulty getting along with other people
Have you noticed that you're involved in many more disagreements than ever before? If you don't hear questions or comments or miss crucial words in a conversation, your friends or family members may think that you're becoming difficult or uncaring. Relationship problems at home are bad enough, but unfortunately, hearing loss can also affect your relationships at work. Although your family may be willing to overlook issues caused by your poor hearing, your boss may not be quite so forgiving.
It's difficult to hear if there are competing noises
When you have hearing loss, holding a conversation at sporting events or following the dialogue in a movie can be particularly challenging. The problem occurs when background noise makes it hard to hear dialogue or the person next to you.
You prefer emailing and texting to talking on the phone
If you've given up on phone conversations and now resort to emails and texts instead, hearing loss may be to blame. You may be unknowingly relying on visual cues when you hold in-person conversations. Without those cues, it might be very difficult to hear telephone conversations.
Hearing aids may be the solution to your problem
Hearing aids can help improve hearing caused by damage to the hair cells in your inner ear. Hair cell damage can occur as a result of exposure to loud noises or may be caused by aging or certain diseases. Hearing aids not only amplify sounds but also reduce background noise.
Do you have any of these symptoms? Call Dr. Siegel of Midwest ENT in Chicago, IL, at (312) 988-7777 to schedule an appointment and hearing evaluation.
If you hear only mumbling when other people speak, need the television louder than others or strain to hear conversations, you may have hearing loss. Hearing loss is more common as we age, but can occur for a variety of reasons. If you think what you’re experiencing may be hearing loss, talk to your ear, nose and throat doctor about a hearing aid.
Signs of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is more than just a lowering of the volume. Hearing loss may make it difficult to distinguish one sound from another. To consider whether you need a hearing aid, ask yourself if you experience any of the following:
Needing the phone volume turned all the way up
Difficulty understanding people when you can’t see their faces
Feeling impatient and withdrawn because conversations are becoming difficult
Difficulty hearing high pitched sounds
Difficulty focusing when more than one person speaks
If you experiencing any of these common symptoms of hearing loss, make an appointment with your ENT for a hearing test and medical evaluation.
What Can a Hearing Aid Do?
A hearing aid will help to amplify the sound to a volume that you can comfortably hear. It can also improve your ability to understand speech so it doesn’t sound like people are mumbling to you. Certain hearing aids can help to amplify the higher pitched sounds. They can also enable you to hear someone speaking in a noisy environment.
One or Two Hearing Aids?
Some people wonder if they need a hearing aid for each ear. Even if you only have hearing loss in one of your ears, your doctor may recommend wearing a hearing aid in each ear to improve the quality of sound.
If you think it may be time about a hearing aid, your ENT has services to meet all your hearing needs. Schedule a consultation today to get on the road to hearing clearer, more vibrant sounds with a hearing aid.
- Hear muffled speech and muffled sounds
- Have difficulty distinguishing words from background noise
- Need people to speak more clearly, loudly and slowly
- Have trouble hearing consonants
- Tend to withdraw from conversations
- Avoid social situations
- An improved, more positive view of life
- Increased self-confidence and self-esteem
- Closer personal relationships
- Less depression
Has sinus pain become a daily occurrence? When over-the-counter and prescription medications just don't do enough to ease your pain, sinus surgery may be an option. Our Chicago, IL, otolaryngologist, Dr. Gordon Siegel of Midwest ENT, discusses chronic sinusitis symptoms and explains treatment options.
How do I know if I have chronic sinusitis?
You may have chronic sinusitis if your symptoms last three months or longer. Symptoms of chronic sinusitis may include:
- Pain in your nose, eyes, cheeks and forehead
- Pressure in your sinuses
- Thick yellow or green nasal discharge
- Post-nasal drip
- Nausea, which may be worse in the morning due to post-nasal drip
- Sore throat
- Bad breath or an unpleasant taste in your mouth
What causes chronic sinusitis?
These factors may increase your risk of developing chronic sinusitis:
- Polyps in your nasal passages
- Deviated septum
- Enlarge turbinates
- Respiratory tract infections
- Certain diseases, such as asthma, GERD, cystic fibrosis or immune system disease, including HIV/AIDS
What are the treatment options for chronic sinusitis?
Medications that are helpful for acute sinusitis, which lasts less than 12 weeks, may not be quite as effective when your symptoms linger. If you don't experience enough relief by irrigating your sinuses and taking over-the-counter or prescription decongestants, corticosteroids and antibiotics, surgery may be helpful.
Endoscopic surgery relieves chronic sinusitis symptoms by removing inflamed tissue, scar tissue and blockages, and may also be used to straighten deviated septums. During surgery, a tiny probe that contains a camera is inserted into your sinuses via your nostrils. The camera transmits images to a digital monitor, allowing your ear, nose and throat doctor to clearly see and treat problem areas in your sinuses.
Balloon sinuplasty is another option for Chicago patients. Benefits of the minimally invasive procedure include less pain after the procedure, reduced risk of infection and less downtime. Both endoscopic surgery and balloon sinuplasty are performed under general anesthesia. During balloon sinuplasty, a small wire catheter that contains a deflated balloon is inserted into your sinuses. Once it's in position, the balloon is inflated, opening up blocked sinus passages.
Sinus surgery can help relieve your sinus pain. Call our Chicago, IL, otolaryngologist, Dr. Siegel of Midwest ENT, at (312) 988-7777 to schedule an appointment.
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