Congestion and other nasal issues can make you feel miserable and affect your ability to breathe easily. Here are five common nasal problems and discusses treatment options.
Your nose is particularly sensitive to the effects of allergens in the air. Exposure to pollens, grass, weed, or mold can trigger uncomfortable symptoms, including:
Congestion that makes breathing more difficult
Pain and pressure in your sinuses
Itchy nose, eyes, ears, and throat
Allergy medications or shots, prescription nasal sprays, decongestants, and antihistamines can help prevent or reduce your symptoms.
Non-allergic rhinitis isn't caused by airborne allergens, even though the symptoms are the same. Exposure to strong irritants, such as smoke, dust, pollution, and strong odors can cause the problem. Saline nasal spray can help wash away irritants, reducing your symptoms. Decongestants and prescription corticosteroid or antihistamine nasal sprays may also be helpful.
Nosebleeds happen to nearly everyone occasionally and are usually caused by dry nasal passages or a blow to the nose. Saline nasals sprays and water-based nasal gels help moisten your nasal passages. If your nosebleed is severe, it may be necessary to cauterize the blood vessel to stop the bleeding.
Your septum is a layer of bone and cartilage that separates your nostrils. Very few people have perfectly proportional septums. Although many of us have deviated septums, in most cases the deviation is minor and doesn't affect breathing. If the deviation is severe, you may experience:
Frequent sinus infections
Snoring and sleep apnea
Nasal polyps are small growths that occur on the lining of your nose. Although they're usually benign, they can make it more difficult to breathe, cause runny noses and sinus pain, and increase your risk of sinus infections. Nasal corticosteroid strays can help shrink polyps, and antihistamines may be useful in reducing chronic nasal inflammation. If your polyps are large and other treatments haven't been unsuccessful, your ENT may recommend surgery.
Not sure what's causing your nasal issues? An ear, nose and throat doctor can diagnose the problem and offer treatments that will help you breathe easier. Call your ENT to schedule your appointment.
Having trouble breathing or catching your breath can certainly be a cause for concern. While it’s normal to be out of breath after an intense workout there are times when symptoms such as chest tightness, persistent coughing, wheezing and trouble breathing appear and any of these symptoms are usually signs that something more serious is going on.
As you might imagine, most breathing problems are associated with lung or respiratory conditions. These are problems that an otolaryngologist can easily help you treat or manage. Common lung conditions that can affect breathing include:
Asthma: a chronic condition that affects millions and causes inflammation and airway constriction, which results in coughing, wheezing and chest tightness. Symptoms can range from mild to life threatening.
Pneumonia: an infection of the respiratory tract that causes inflammation and fluid buildup in the lungs. It’s important to see an otolaryngologist immediately for treatment, as untreated pneumonia could be dangerous (and also highly contagious). Symptoms of pneumonia include:
- Shortness of breath
- Shallow breathing
- Productive cough, often with yellow or green mucus
- Chest pain that occurs when breathing deeply or coughing
- Muscle aches
- Sweating and fever
- Loss of appetite
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): this is a group of chronic inflammatory lung diseases that cause airway obstructions within the lungs. The most common types of COPD are chronic bronchitis and emphysema, a condition that most often occurs in smokers. Common symptoms of COPD include:
- Mucus production
- Persistent cough
- Trouble breathing
- Chest tightness
This is a progressive condition that will make breathing even more difficult as the condition advances. It’s important to see an ENT doctor right away if you notice any symptoms of COPD. Early symptoms include exercise-induced rapid breathing, a persistent cough, and clearing your throat often (usually in the morning).
Lung cancer: this type of cancer develops anywhere in the lungs, allowing abnormal cells to multiply until a tumor forms. While many people who develop lung cancer are smokers, this form of cancer can also develop in those who have never smoked a day in their life. Early warning signs of lung cancer include:
- Vocal changes
- Chronic cough
- Bloody mucus when coughing
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling weak
- Unexpected weight loss
Since the early warning signs associated with lung cancer can also be caused by other respiratory conditions it is important to turn to an ear, nose, and throat doctor who will be able to perform the proper diagnostic tests to determine the cause of your symptoms.
If you are having trouble catching your breath it’s important that you find out why this is happening to you. Call your ENT doctor today for an evaluation.
Did you know that whether you’re talking normally, yelling or whispering, two tiny structures in your throat, commonly known as the vocal cords, collide and vibrate in various patterns to generate sound? If your vocal cords rub up against each other in a manner that generates more than enough friction, the specific spot where your vocal cords collide repeatedly could become inflamed and irritated. With this in mind, to prevent damage and further, you need to take good care of your vocal cords.
But first, you need to know about the common types of vocal cord lesions. When you come in for your consultation here at Midwest ENT in Chicago, IL, our ENT doctor, Dr. Gordon Siegel will examine your symptoms and recommend the best treatment plan for you. Depending on your symptoms you may be diagnosed with one of these vocal cord lesions.
Cysts are, basically, sacs filled with mucus or fluid. They typically develop when irritation on your vocal cords cause a glandular duct blockage. This duct is a tiny opening situated in your vocal cords’ tissue lining and it emits mucus and other kinds of substances. When this gets clogged, mucus accumulation may occur and result in the development of a vocal cord cyst. The cyst could then significantly change the natural vibration frequency of your voice that, in turn, could lead to an obvious change in your voice.
These are the most common kind of vocal cord lesions. A polyp can develop when your vocal cords repeatedly knock into each other and become inflamed or irritated. In general, polyps form during a traumatic event, like a prolonged period of shouting for instance, that causes blood blisters that turn into polyps. Polyps come in different sizes and can form on just one or both of your vocal cords.
Nodules are usually caused by repeated irritation of the vocal cords. They typically appear on both vocal cords, are firm, and look like calluses. Left unaddressed, nodules will continue growing and stiffening. This is why early diagnosis and prompt treatment is vital. Here at Midwest ENT in Chicago, IL, our ENT doctors can determine which vocal lesion you may have and suggest the most suitable treatment options available for your specific case.
These occur when your body tries to repair a vocal cord injury. Scar tissue is harder than normal tissue and can create vibrations that will alter your voice. Unlike polyps and nodules that you can treat with medications and therapy, scars on your vocal cords are permanent, unless you opt for surgery.
Do you suspect that you have a vocal cord lesion?
Vocal cord lesions can negatively affect the function of your vocal cords and change how your voice sounds. To that end, call Midwest ENT in Chicago, IL, at (312) 988-7777 to schedule your consultation with our ENT doctors, Dr. Gordon Siegel.
Midwest ENT is a member of Northwestern Private Practice, a group of independent physicians that provide top medical care to patients living in Chicagoland. We are all physicians with teaching appointments in the Feinberg Northwestern School of Medicine, and have the same privileges as the employed physicians. In most cases, we can see our existing or new patients in a timely fashion. We have physicians in almost every field of medicine and are committed to preserving the best quality of care. You can learn more about us on our website: www.northwesternprivatepractice.com. We look forward to the privilege of serving you now and for many years in the future.
It’s normal to experience bouts of dizziness if we are stressed, taking certain medications or haven’t eaten in a while; however, what might be going on if your dizziness persists? Dizziness isn’t an uncommon symptom. In fact, most people will experience dizziness that is serious enough to warrant seeing a doctor. While you may visit a family physician to find out what’s going on, don’t be surprised if you end up being referred to an ear, nose & throat doctor.
What causes dizziness?
Dizziness refers to a serious of sensations that make you feel lightheaded, off balance, unsteady or feeling like the world around you is spinning (vertigo). Sometimes dizziness may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting, particularly during more severe episodes. These symptoms can be unnerving but an otolaryngologist can often help.
The most common causes of dizziness that we see include:
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): This problem affects the inner ear and can lead to persistent episodes of vertigo. Symptoms usually last no more than a minute and will typically come and go. Unfortunately, there often is no cause of BPPV; however, sometimes migraines or inner ear damage may be to blame. Sometimes this condition will go away on its own but an ENT doctor can also provide you with treatment options such as physical therapy that can get rid of symptoms sooner.
Vestibular neuronitis: Inflammation of the eight cranial nerve, known as the vestibular nerve, results in severe vertigo episodes that may cause you to lose balance. This condition can also cause nausea and vomiting. Symptoms usually last anywhere from 7 to 10 days and become milder over the course of several months. A viral or bacterial infection is usually to blame for inflammation of the vestibular nerve.
There are certain medications that can be prescribed by an ENT specialist to help lessen the severity and duration of your symptoms. Sometimes a special type of physical therapy is performed to treat this condition.
Labyrinthitis: This inner ear disorder occurs when one of the two vestibular nerves becomes inflamed. Along with dizziness, vertigo, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and nausea you may also lose hearing in one ear. Any changes to your hearing warrant immediate medical attention. Viral, respiratory, and bacterial infections can all cause this disorder.
Medications such as corticosteroids, sedatives and antihistamines may be prescribed to help with your symptoms. Just like with vestibular neuronitis, a type of physical therapy known as vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) may also be recommended.
Meniere disease: This progressive inner ear condition also causes similar symptoms to labyrinthitis including tinnitus, hearing loss, pressure in the ears, and dizziness. Symptoms will gradually get worse over time, and these attacks may also cause a rapid pulse, blurry vision and anxiety.
While there is no cure, there are treatment options that can effectively manage your dizziness and also reduce fluid in the ear. Medications such as steroids, motion sickness medicines, and diuretics are often used, as well as rehabilitation, therapy, hearing aids, and sometimes surgery.
If you are dealing with dizziness or any other warning signs of an ear problem it’s a good time to turn to an ENT doctor who can help you find the right treatment to get you back on two steady feet again.
Has chronic sinusitis affected the quality of your life? Sinus pain, congestion, headaches and fatigue can make focusing at work or school or even enjoying hobbies difficult. Balloon sinuplasty, offered by Dr. Gordon Siegel of Midwest ENT in Chicago, can ease your sinus symptoms.
What is balloon sinuplasty?
During balloon sinuplasty, Dr. Siegel inserts a thin catheter that contains a small balloon through your nostrils and into your sinuses. Once the catheter is inside the sinuses, he inflates the balloon. Inflating the balloon widens your sinus passages, which reduces congestion and makes it easier to breathe.
Before the procedure begins, you'll receive a local anesthetic to ensure that you won't feel a thing. After deflating the balloon, your doctor uses a saline solution to clean your sinuses.
What are the benefits of balloon sinuplasty?
Balloon sinuplasty is an alternative to endoscopic sinus surgery. Both procedures are effective in treating chronic sinusitis, but balloon sinuplasty offers a less invasive approach. Balloon sinuplasty doesn't require any cutting, which can decrease the length of the recovery period. In fact, you only need to take it easy for two or three days after your procedure.
Since balloon sinuplasty only involves a local anesthetic, you won't feel nauseous or groggy afterward.
After balloon sinuplasty, you'll be able to breathe much easier and won't struggle to fall asleep because you're so congested. Thanks to the procedure, you'll finally experience pain-free days and can enjoy life without a constant headache or sinus pressure.
Would you like to find out if balloon sinuplasty is a good option for you? Call Dr. Gordon Siegel of Midwest ENT in Chicago, at (312) 988-7777 to schedule an appointment. Midwest ENT is a member of Northwestern Private Practice, a group of independent physicians that provide top medical care to patients living in Chicagoland. All Northwestern Private Practice members are committed to providing patients with an appointment as soon as possible. Many patients receive appointments within a week. Learn more about us on our website: www.northwesternprivatepractice.com.
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