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By Missouri Ear, Nose and Throat Center
August 26, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Ear PainWhile getting to hop aboard an airplane can be exciting, especially if you are traveling somewhere fun and new, we also know that it’s all fun and games until someone develops ear pain. If you or your child is prone to airplane ear (also known as ear barotrauma), then you may be interested in turning to an ENT doctor for answers. Discover the reason for airplane ear, what makes someone prone to this problem, and ways to prevent it from happening.

What are the symptoms of airplane ear?

Anyone who has ever experienced this knows the symptoms. Most people experience mild to moderate ear pain, fullness, or muffled hearing while flying. Sometimes these symptoms can become severe, resulting in intense ear pressure, vertigo, ringing in the ears, and even significant (but temporary) hearing loss.

Why does airplane ear happen?

Since you are flying at high altitudes in an airplane, the pressure of the air versus the pressure of the middle ear don’t align, which impacts how the eardrum vibrates. Since air pressure changes rather quickly, particularly during takeoff and landing, this is often when people experience bouts of airplane ear. Some people may find that yawning helps open the eustachian tubes to equalize pressure in the ear to alleviate symptoms.

Of course, flying in an airplane isn’t the only time that you may experience this problem. If you are in the mountains, ride an elevator or go scuba diving, you may also notice that your ears get plugged up. This is usually a minor occurrence of ear barotrauma.

Some people may be more prone to airplane ear than others. Newborns and toddlers are at risk because they have smaller eustachian tubes. Other risk factors include ear or sinus infections, allergies, or having a cold.

Are there ways to improve airplane ear?

Fortunately, there are certain techniques and tricks to make dealing with airplane ear a little less painful. Most people have tried the Valsalva maneuver, in which you pinch your nose and keep your mouth closed and then gently blow through the nose. You may also chew gum or suck on a piece of candy. If you believe that your airplane ear is caused by allergies or sinus infections, try taking a decongestant or using a nasal spray before takeoff and landing.

If you find yourself dealing with ear pain or changes in hearing that last for days after flying, it’s important that you call your ENT doctor right away. Even the most minor symptoms may require medical attention, so don’t ignore them.
By Missouri Ear, Nose and Throat Center
August 09, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions

Scratchy Throat

Sore throats are one of the most common symptoms people experience; however, they often accompany bacterial throat infections and colds. If you find yourself waking up in the morning with a dry, scratchy, or sore throat, then you may be wondering what’s going on. An ENT doctor who specializes in treating conditions of the ear, nose, and throat may be able to give you the answers you’re looking for.
 
What could be causing this problem?

It’s important to look to your environment and your lifestyle for clues as to what’s going on. For one, if you were out singing or talking in a loud club the night before you may have simply strained your vocal cords. If you have seasonal allergies such as hay fever, you may notice that you wake up with persistent scratchy or sore throats several months out of the year. If your bedroom is particularly dry, especially during the colder months, this could be another reason you wake up with sore throats.

There are a host of infections that also cause sore throats; however, they are often short-lived and don’t persist for more than 10 days. Viral infections are often to blame, and they will go away without treatment (antibiotics will not be effective against the common cold or influenza virus). People who deal with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) often complain of a scratchy or sore throat. If you are also dealing with heartburn or acid reflux two or more times a week, this could be the culprit.
 
Another possible cause of a sore or scratchy throat in the morning is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a common sleep disorder that causes obstructions in the airway while you sleep. It’s important to recognize the warning signs of OSA so that you know when to turn to an ENT for further evaluation.
 
These signs include,
  • Waking up with a sore throat
  • Persistent morning headaches
  • Waking up tired despite a full night’s sleep
  • Loud, chronic snoring
  • Increased mood swings
  • Trouble concentrating and poor memory
When to see a doctor?

If you experience recurring or persistent sore throats it’s always a good idea to see your ENT doctor for a proper diagnosis so you know how to best treat your symptoms. Since some infections such as strep can be dangerous to both kids and adults, it’s important to know when to come in for treatment.
  • You should see an ENT doctor right away if:
  • You are having trouble swallowing or breathing
  • You have extremely painful or swollen lymph nodes
  • Your sore throat is accompanied by a high fever
  • Your sore throat persists for more than a week
  • You have trouble sleeping due to swallowing or breathing issues
If you are dealing with a persistent or recurring scratchy or sore throat it’s important that you consult an ENT doctor to find out what’s going on. Many of the conditions above warrant treatment to prevent further complications, so don’t delay getting the treatment you need.
By Missouri Ear, Nose and Throat Center
July 26, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Tonsillitis  
What Is TonsillitisThere are many reasons you could be dealing with a sore throat, and an infection of the tonsils could be one of them. This infection is better known as tonsillitis, and it happens to everyone from children to adults. Of course, we know that being able to tell respiratory infections apart can be rather challenging and sometimes impossible. This is when turning to an ENT doctor is key to determining whether or not you are dealing with tonsillitis and how to treat it.

What are tonsils?

Your body has built-in defenses that help protect you against infections and harmful bacteria and germs, and your tonsils are your body’s first defense against infection. These two lymph nodes are found on the back of the throat. Unfortunately, even tonsils can fall prey to infection. When this happens, this is known as tonsillitis.

You may be surprised to find out that tonsillitis is contagious, so if a member of your family has this infection it can be spread easily through contact, so it’s important to practice good hygiene and to keep your distance.

What are the symptoms of tonsillitis?

Here are the most common signs and symptoms of tonsillitis:
  • A severe sore throat
  • Red, inflamed tonsils
  • Yellow or white spots on the tonsils
  • Painful swallowing
  • Earaches
  • Headaches
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Bad breath
  • Swollen, tender lymph nodes in the neck
Acute tonsillitis will often go away on its own without treatment in about 7-10 days; however, if symptoms get worse or don’t go away then it’s time to turn to your ENT doctor. Sometimes, tonsillitis is caused by a bacterial infection, in which case your doctor will need to prescribe a round of antibiotics to properly treat the infection. This is one reason it’s always a good idea to visit a doctor if you are dealing with symptoms that you’re not sure about.

You should also turn to an ENT doctor if you or your child is dealing with chronic or recurring bouts of tonsillitis. In some cases, the tonsils may need to be removed if they are causing severe and persistent infections.

If you are dealing with symptoms of tonsillitis, it’s a good idea to turn to an otolaryngologist to find out what’s going on and to find out whether you may require medication. An ENT doctor is going to be the best specialist to turn to when dealing with conditions that impact your ear, nose, and throat.
By Missouri Ear, Nose and Throat Center
July 13, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Tags: Nasal Polyps  
Nasal polyps are benign growths that develop within the lining of the nasal cavities. There are many reasons why someone may develop polyps, from chronic inflammation to allergies. It is believed that anywhere from 4-40 percent of the US population has nasal polyps, with it impacting men 2-4 more often than women. This condition is also seen more often in young adults and middle-aged adults. While small nasal polyps often don’t cause issues, it’s when they get larger that an ENT specialist sees more patients coming in complaining of pain and other problems.

What are the signs and symptoms of nasal polyps?

Nasal PolypsNasal polyps are typically to blame for chronic inflammation and swelling of the nasal cavity. People with nasal polyps may not realize that they have them, but they may be more likely to deal with other problems such as chronic sinusitis.

Chronic sinusitis and other nasal issues are typically what bring people into our ENT practice in the first place. From there, we can run the appropriate diagnostic tests to see if you could be dealing with nasal polyps.

Other warning signs include:
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Postnasal drip
  • Decreased sense of smell
  • Loss of smell or taste
  • Referred pain in the upper teeth
  • Facial pressure and pain
  • Headaches
  • Recurring nosebleeds
When should I see an ENT doctor?

If you are dealing with nasal symptoms that last more than 10 days, then it’s a good idea to see your otolaryngologist to find out what’s going on. After all, these symptoms can also be caused by other respiratory conditions that may require treatment or special care, and it’s important to be able to determine what’s causing your symptoms so we know how to best treat them.

How are nasal polyps treated?

Medication is typically the first line of treatment for managing symptoms of nasal polyps. The most commonly prescribed medications include:
  • Antibiotics
  • Antileukotrienes to reduce inflammation
  • Antihistamines
  • Immunotherapy
Patients may also benefit from simple drug-free treatment options such as using a Neti pot or salt water rinse to clean out the nasal passages daily. If you are still dealing with symptoms despite medication and other treatments, your ENT doctor may recommend surgery to remove the polyps. While polyps will eventually come back, it can take months or even years for this to occur.

If you are battling symptoms of chronic sinusitis, you could actually be dealing with nasal polyps. Any sinus or nasal symptoms that last for weeks on end should be evaluated by an otolaryngologist.
By Missouri Ear, Nose and Throat Center
June 24, 2021
Category: ENT Conditions
Perforated EardrumA perforated or ruptured eardrum occurs when a hole or tear develops in this flap of skin in the ear. Since a perforated eardrum can lead to hearing loss or leave your ear susceptible to infection, you must be able to recognize the signs of a perforated eardrum so you can turn to an ENT doctor right away. While a perforated eardrum will often heal on its own without treatment, it is still best to see your doctor.
 
What causes a perforated eardrum?
 
One of the most common causes of a perforated eardrum is a middle ear infection, which can cause the eardrum to rupture due to a buildup of fluids that puts pressure on the eardrum. Sometimes a ruptured eardrum can occur due to pressure changes in the atmosphere as compared to the air pressure in your ear. When there is a severe imbalance, such as can happen while flying in an airplane or scuba diving, the eardrum may rupture.
 
Head trauma, injury or objects being placed in the ear, and even loud noises also have the ability to rupture an eardrum.
 
What are the warning signs and symptoms of a ruptured eardrum?
 
If you have an ear infection chances are fairly good that you are dealing with a lot of pain, pressure, and fullness in the ear. You may even have muffled hearing as a result. If the pressure builds up and you don’t see a doctor for treatment this can cause the eardrum to burst. When the eardrum bursts you may notice instant relief from pain. You may also notice that the pressure goes away and that the ear starts to drain. There may even be pus present in the fluid that’s draining from the ears. Sometimes there is blood.
 
It is not uncommon to have changes in hearing as a result of the ruptured eardrum; however, with the proper care and treatment, the hearing should return once the eardrum has fully healed.
 
How long does a perforated eardrum take to heal?
 
It can take a couple of weeks and even up to a couple of months for the eardrum to heal. Certain factors may slow the healing process. It’s important not to get the ear wet and to protect it from further injury while it is healing. You may also need to visit your ENT doctor regularly for checkups until the eardrum has fully healed.
 
If you are showing signs of a perforated eardrum, don’t wait to turn to your ear, nose, and throat doctor for care. Protect your hearing and your health by turning to an ear, nose, and throat doctor who can determine the best course of action.




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