Find out how tonsil stones develop and what your treatment options are.
When we think about stones we often think about kidney stones, but this isn’t the only area of the body where these hard and sometimes painful stones can appear. Another area that you may also experience stones is the tonsils, the tissue found in the back of your throat. Find out more about how tonsil stones happen and how an ENT doctor may treat them.
What causes tonsil stones?
It might not seem like it but there are folds and crannies in the tonsils where bacteria, food and dead cells can get trapped. When you eat, small bits of food stick to your tonsils. Bacteria then move in on the tonsils. With this buildup of gunk, at some point it becomes calcified and turns into a hard white lump known as a tonsil stone. Some people may have tonsil stones but not even know it.
Who is at risk for tonsil stones?
Those who tend to get chronic tonsillitis or other infections in the tonsils are more likely to develop tonsil stones. You are also more at risk if you still have your tonsils or adenoids (obviously!). If you are also someone who suffers from post-nasal drip this can also increase your chances of tonsil stones. Cigarettes smokers are also at risk because the smoke lingers on the back of the throat, negatively affecting the overall environment of the tonsils and adenoids.
What are the symptoms of tonsil stones?
Most small stones won’t cause symptoms, but if they are larger you may notice any of these issues:
- Sore throat
- Bad breath
- Problems swallowing
- Tonsil inflammation
- A white lump on the tonsils
How do you treat a tonsil stone?
If the stone is small enough and not causing you any symptoms then our ENT specialist may not recommend needing treatment. Sometimes people can gently and carefully remove these stones at home using a swab. If you are experiencing any inflammation or discomfort you can gargle with salt water several times a day.
For tonsil stones that are very large and cause discomfort, we may recommend that you have them surgically removed. This can easily be performed while under local anesthesia.
Don’t let painful tonsil stones get the better of you, call your local otolaryngologist for the care your mouth needs to get you back on the road to recovery.
If you use a Q-tip to clean your ears you will really want to read this.
Yes, we know that it feels satisfying to use a Q-Tip to clean out your ears. After all, if it’s removing earwax how can there be a problem with using them? However, did you know that earwax serves a purpose? It’s actually important protection for your ears and can prevent the growth of fungus. Find out more about why your ENT doctor will tell you that a Q-Tip ear cleaning is probably not the answer.
Okay, so while Q-Tips aren’t evil most people don’t use them properly, which can result in damage or even hearing loss. Remember, ears are self-cleaning so you shouldn’t need to do a lot of work to keep them clean. A good rule of thumb is if you are putting the Q-Tip into your ear, you are doing it improperly. Just read the box of Q-Tips and you will see that they even tell you not to put Q-Tips directly into the ear, just around the outer ear.
So, what happens when you put a Q-Tip too far into your ear? Sometimes you can actually push the earwax even further into the ear, where it can become impacted. If you notice that you suddenly can’t hear or that hearing is muffled chances are good that you are dealing with impacted earwax. Also, shoving a Q-Tip into the ear can also increase your risk of puncturing your eardrum, which can result in permanent hearing loss.
If you notice that you are prone to excessive earwax buildup you can always turn to your ENT specialist, who can easily and safely flush out excess wax that your ear may not actually remove on its own. It will only take a few minutes to perform and sure, coming into the office may seem a little time-consuming but it’s much safer than using a cotton swab.
If you are noticing issues with your ears or have questions about how to properly care for them, it’s time to talk to an otolaryngologist that will be able to steer you in the right direction to protect these important assets.
Find out if the symptoms you are experiencing are warning you of a potential swallowing disorder.
We all have been guilty of eating foods too fast or not chewing well enough before gobbling down our food, but a swallowing disorder is much different from this. If you have a true swallowing disorder (sometimes also referred to as dysphagia), this simply means that you will need to take more time in order to get food from your mouth to your stomach. In severe cases it may be impossible to swallow altogether. Learn more about what having this condition entails and why it happens.
Symptoms of a swallowing disorder include:
- Needing to take more time or exert more effort to chew or swallow food
- Pain when swallowing
- Choking on food
- Coughing during or right after eating
- Feeling like food is stuck in the throat
- Feeling like there is a “lump” in the throat
- Weight loss, malnutrition or dehydration
- Chest congestion after eating
- Food that feels “stuck”
What causes swallowing disorders?
It isn’t always possible to pinpoint the root cause, but common causes of dysphagia include nervous system disorders, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), cancer, stroke and neurological disorders, to name a few.
How is a swallowing disorder diagnosed and treated?
You will need to visit an otolaryngologist who can evaluate your symptoms, current medical conditions and test the muscles used for swallowing to see if signs point to this problem. Sometimes an endoscopic procedure or a barium swallow is needed for a proper diagnosis.
Treating a swallowing disorder will really depend on the cause, as well as the specific type of dysphasia (esophageal or oropharnygeal). There may be certain exercises that you will need to perform to improve the function of certain muscles. We can also show you certain postures or ways to position yourself to improve swallowing. Patients may also have to remove certain foods from their diet in order to make swallowing easier.
A swallowing disorder can lead to serious issues such as dehydration and malnutrition, among other things. If you are experiencing symptoms of a swallowing disorder it’s time you visited your local ENT doctor for care.
While a nose job may seem purely cosmetic it actually offers health benefits, as well.
When we hear the words “nose job” we automatically think about the cosmetic enhancement that many people want to improve the shape and overall appearance of their nose; however, there is more than meets the eye when it comes to a rhinoplasty. In fact, this procedure isn’t always cosmetic. Sometimes people need a rhinoplasty to improve their health. Find out when a rhinoplasty may be a necessity rather than just a cosmetic treatment.
Medical Reasons for a Rhinoplasty
One condition that may warrant getting a rhinoplasty is a birth defect known as a cleft lip or cleft palate. This congenital problem can make it challenging for children to eat or get the nutrients they require to grow up big and strong. Because of this, a rhinoplasty is often recommended by an otolaryngologist to correct the defect.
Of course, there are a multitude of conditions and injuries that may require rhinoplasty treatment. If someone has chronic nasal inflammation due to allergies and has severe breathing issues then a rhinoplasty may be the right procedure to improve their breathing.
Injuries or trauma to the nose (e.g. a broken nose) may also necessitate a rhinoplasty to correct the deformation.
Of course, no matter whether this procedure is cosmetic or medically necessary, there are two ways to perform this procedure: an open and a closed rhinoplasty. An open rhinoplasty is when the ENT doctor cuts into the septum to restructure the nose. When an incision is made into the nostrils and performed here this procedure is known as a closed rhinoplasty.
Whether you get an open or closed rhinoplasty will depend on several factors including the goals behind your treatment, any injuries or conditions you want to treat, and the thickness of the skin that we will be working on.
If you want to find out more about whether a rhinoplasty may alleviate your breathing problems then it’s time to talk to an ENT expert who can examine your nose and determine whether you are an ideal candidate.
Learn more about nosebleeds, why they happen and how you can handle them the next time they happen to you.
It can be rather startling when you notice blood dripping from your nose. While most people will experience a nosebleed at some point in their lifetime, they are often most common in children and adults between the ages of 50 to 80 years old. Of course, where the bleeding is coming from will tell us what kind of nosebleed it actually is.
What is an anterior nosebleed?
The majority of nosebleeds start at the septum, which is the wall that separates your nostrils. The septum is full of blood vessels, which can easily be broken just by simple everyday habits like blowing your nose. If a blood vessel bursts in the nose this leads to a nosebleed. An anterior nosebleed occurs in the front of the nose and is characterized by bleeding from one nostril (this is the most common type of nosebleed).
Why do they happen?
An anterior nosebleed is most common during the dry winter months, particularly if you have indoor heating, as it can dry out the nasal passages. Those who live in dry environments are also more prone to nosebleeds. If you find that these drier climates do increase your risk of nosebleeds you can always apply a small amount of petroleum jelly onto a Q-tip and carefully apply it to the inside of the nose and the septum to keep the nasal membranes hydrated.
Is there a way to stop an anterior nosebleed?
If you experience a nosebleed you may feel a bit panicked but it’s nothing to worry about. They often go away on their own but there are certainly things you can do to help reduce or even stop your nosebleed.
When to seek medical attention?
Most nosebleeds aren’t serious and won’t require care; however, if the bleeding is severe or the result of an injury, if the bleeding hasn’t stopped after following the steps above, or if you are experiencing other symptoms like chest pain then you need to get medical care as soon as possible.
What can I do to stop the bleeding?
The first thing you will want to do is sit up and lean forward so the blood won’t drain into the throat. Blow your nose to remove any clots that may have developed. While you may have heard to apply pressure to the bridge of the nose to stop bleeding, this actually won’t stop a nosebleed. Instead, pinch the soft parts of the nose, on both sides, to help lessen the bleeding.
If you are someone who suffers from frequent nosebleeds there might be a problem, so it’s better to play it safe rather than sorry and contact our otolaryngologist right away. We want to help put a stop to your nosebleeds!
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