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Could the symptoms I’m experiencing benefit from ENT treatment?

Could the symptoms I’m experiencing benefit from ENT treatment?

Everyone experiences the occasional sore throat, and it can often be handled with over-the-counter medications or a visit to your primary care provider. If you’re experiencing persistent symptoms affecting your ears, nose or throat, though, specialized ENT treatment may be needed.

6 Common Conditions Treated by an ENT Specialist

ENT specialists at LCMC Health provide care for a wide variety of medical conditions and symptoms, such as chronic ear infections, dizziness and even nosebleeds. They also may work alongside other care providers to treat more complex conditions, including a cleft lip or a cleft palate in a newborn or young child.

While ENT specialists address a full spectrum of health issues related to the head and neck, some common conditions they treat include:

1. A persistently stuffy nose

Anyone who has ever dealt with a stuffy nose when sick with the common cold knows how frustrating it can be. Imagine having chronic sinusitis and dealing with a stuffy nose all the time.

Sinusitis occurs when the tissue lining the sinuses becomes inflamed, causing that stuffed-up feeling. Sinusitis can be caused by allergies, chronic infection, nasal polyps or a deviated septum. Chronic sinusitis can be treated with antibiotics, other medications or surgery.

2. Ringing in the ears

Ringing in the ears is more formally called “tinnitus,” and it causes a person to experience noise in the ear or head at least twice a week for longer than five minutes at a time.

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, more than 25 million Americans experience some form of tinnitus, with 5 million people experiencing chronic tinnitus. While chronic tinnitus cannot be cured, an ENT specialist can help minimize its effects through treatment options, which may include hearing aids or medications.

3. A chronically sore throat

A sore throat that persists despite treatment may be due to tonsillitis, which is an inflammation of the tonsils. Along with a sore throat, tonsillitis may cause red and swollen tonsils, difficulty swallowing, bad breath or a fever.

Repeat episodes of tonsillitis, or instances where the tonsils are so inflamed they make it difficult to breathe or swallow, are typically resolved with surgery to remove the tonsils.

4. Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck

Swollen lymph nodes are fairly common. They tend to swell as the immune system revs up to fight off infection, then go back to normal size once an infection is cleared. If you’re experiencing persistently large lymph nodes in the neck, however, it can be a sign of a more serious health issue.

Cancers that begin in the head and neck, such as cancer of the thyroid gland, may spread. That’s why it’s important to see a healthcare provider if the lumps linger for longer than a couple weeks or are accompanied by other symptoms such as a sore throat or unexplained weight loss.

5. Hearing loss

While it’s often associated with aging, usually when it appears gradually over a long period of time, hearing loss can occur at any age and can sometimes happen quite suddenly.

Sudden hearing loss can be a sign of infection, an inner ear problem or a neurological condition. An ENT specialist can work with other providers, including an audiologist, to determine the source and how best to treat it.

6. Sleep apnea

According to the National Council on Aging, around 39 million American adults have sleep apnea, a condition that causes a person to stop breathing repeatedly during sleep.

Sleep apnea is often treated by a sleep specialist, but obstructive sleep apnea, in which the upper airway is blocked during sleep due to large tonsils or other factors, may require ENT treatment. In these cases, an ENT specialist will determine the nature of the blockage and the best treatment for keeping the airways open during sleep.

Dealing with symptoms affecting your ear, nose or throat? Schedule an appointment with an LCMC Health ENT specialist.