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.
Just like breathing or blinking, swallowing is an involuntary habit that we don’t often think about; however, swallowing is an important part of everything from speaking and socializing to consuming delicious food. Unfortunately, there are disorders that can affect a person’s ability to swallow. A swallowing disorder can be uncomfortable and troublesome, and a visit to an otolaryngologist can give you the answers you’re looking for as to what’s going on.
Some people having pain when they swallow while others may have trouble swallowing certain foods or feel as if there is something stuck in their throat. As a result, they may have trouble getting the proper nutrients and calories they need. Swallowing disorders are more common as a person ages. Swallowing disorders usually fit into one of two categories: esophageal and oropharnygeal dysphagia.
People who often feel like they have something in their throats are often dealing with esophageal dysphagia as a result of:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disorder (GERD)
- Esophageal spasms
- Achalasia (esophageal sphincter dysfunction)
- Scar tissue of the esophagus
- Certain medications that can cause dry mouth
There are certain conditions that can also affect how the muscles in the throat function, which makes it more difficult to swallow food properly. Common causes include neurological disorders, nerve damage (spinal cord or brain injuries) and cancers of the head, neck, and throat.
Along with trouble swallowing, those with swallowing disorders may also experience:
- Coughing after swallowing
- The sensation of food being stuck in the throat
- Sore throat
- Chest discomfort
If you experience persistent issues swallowing or if you also experience vomiting, regurgitation, or unexpected weight loss along with swallowing difficulties then it’s time to see an otolaryngologist.
Diagnosing Swallowing Disorders
To determine the cause of a patient’s swallowing problems their ENT doctor will go through their medical history, ask questions about the symptoms they are experiencing and then perform a physical examination. Based on the patient’s answers, your doctor will then determine which testing is needed to make a diagnosis. Common diagnostic tests include:
- Esophageal muscle test (manometry)
- CT scan
- Dynamic swallowing study
- Barium esophagram
- 24-hour pH impedance (to evaluate acid reflux and regurgitation)
Treating Swallowing Disorders
As you can see from the list above, there are many conditions and causes that could result in swallowing disorders. Therefore, the treatment you receive will depend on the cause and severity of your symptoms. Your ENT specialist will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan to reduce symptoms. With chronic conditions, your doctor will find ways to help you manage the underlying condition to make swallowing easier.
Nosebleeds happen to most of us at some point during our lifetime. While it can be startling, nosebleeds are typically harmless and nothing to worry about. Of course, if you battle nosebleeds rather regularly you may be wondering what’s going on and whether you should turn to an otolaryngologist for an evaluation. Here’s what you should know about getting a nosebleed.
Common Causes of a Nosebleed
The blood vessels within our nose are very delicate, which means that they are prone to bursting and causing nosebleeds. Therefore, the two most common causes of nosebleeds are nose picking and dry air. Dry air can dry out the nasal passages, which leaves the area prone to infection and cracking.
Other causes include:
- Repeated nose blowing
- Broken nose
- Acute or chronic sinusitis (a sinus infection)
- Common cold
- Certain allergy medications (these medications can dry out the nose)
- Traumatic injury to the nose
- Deviated septum
- Bleeding disorders
- High altitude
- Excessive use of blood thinners or anti-inflammatory medications
There are two main types of nosebleeds: anterior and posterior. An anterior nosebleed is a bleed that originates in the septum of the nose (the wall that separates the two nasal passages). These nosebleeds are minor and can be treated with home care. If your child experiences nosebleeds an anterior nosebleed is usually the cause.
Posterior nosebleeds occur further back in the nose where the artery branches are located. This type of nosebleed is much heavier, occurs more often in adults and may require medical care. While rare, it is possible for a posterior nosebleed to be a sign of high blood pressure or a blood disorder (e.g. hemophilia).
When to See a Doctor
While most people will be able to treat a simple nosebleed on their own without having to seek medical care, it’s important to see a doctor right away if:
- Your nosebleed is affecting your ability to breath
- Bleeding lasts more than 20 minutes
- Your nosebleed is the result of a traumatic injury or accident
- There is a significant amount of blood
While it’s not considered an emergency situation, it is a good idea to talk with your ENT doctor if you or your child experiences nosebleeds often. During an evaluation an ear, nose and throat doctor can ask you questions about your symptoms, perform a quick examination of the nose and determine the underlying cause of your persistent nosebleeds.
If you are concerned about you or your child’s nosebleeds then it’s best to play it safe and to schedule an appointment with an otolaryngologist. Call our office today.
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