ENT or Ear, Nose and Throat problems account for approximately 20 per cent of adult and 40 per cent of paediatric visits to the doctor. ENT or Ear, Nose or Throat problems are prevalent in the society and more so in children. Along with seasonal changes and pollution, immature immunity in young children and old adults and changing lifestyle where there is an overuse of earphones are equally responsible for ENT problems.
Though some lifestyle adaptations can help control ENT problems, there are various medical treatments available too. Let us learn about the common ENT problems and their Treatment options.
Cholesteatoma is a skin growth which occurs in the middle ear behind the eardrum. It takes the form of a cyst which sheds old skin and with time increases in size to destroy surrounding soft tissues and bones of the ear.
The symptoms include ear drain with a foul odor, with pressure on the affected ear and Hearing Loss depending on the size of the Cholesteatoma. Patients also complain of dizziness or muscle weakness on one side of the face.
Treatment is a must in this case as bone erosion can cause infection to spread even to the brain at times. Your Otolaryngologist or ENT specialist will clean the ear carefully and suggest antibiotics and ear drops initially. This controls the infection. For enlarged Cholesteatoma surgical treatments are required.
- Otitis Media
Inflammation of the middle ear, it results in Hearing loss in children. People or children affected with it can experience fever, hearing problems, vomiting, dizziness, ear drainage, and pressure. It is caused due to blockage of the eustachian tube due to cold, allergy or upper respiratory tract infection.
A Doctor will use an otoscope to access the condition and also refer to an audiologist to evaluate it further if required. Otitis Media is serious because of the severe earache and hearing loss and other complications it can create. Hearing loss, may impair learning capacity and even delay speech development. However, if it is treated promptly and effectively, hearing can be restored to normal. Treatment includes antibiotics or Tympanostomy Tube Placement.
- Gastric Reflux
Laryngopharyngeal Reflux (LPR), also commonly known as Gastric Reflux is backflow of food or stomach acid up to the Larynx (Voice Box) or Pharynx (Throat). Though occurring in the throat, it is mainly due to a poor digestive system.
Patients complain of hoarseness in voice or coughing also have difficulty in swallowing associated with heartburn. A proper throat exam is performed for patients and then a treatment plan is suggested.
Bad digestive system, stomach abnormalities, eating at wrong hours or overeating, obesity cause acid reflux. Lifestyle changes in the combination of over the counter medications like antacids and sometimes even natural things can control the symptoms and treat acid reflux.
- Menier’s Disease
A disorder of the inner ear which leads to dizzy spells (vertigo) and even hearing loss. It can occur at any age but is most common in women aged between 40 to 60. Recurring episodes of vertigo, hearing loss, ringing in the ear (tinnitus) or feeling of fullness in the ear are some of its symptoms.
Considered a Chronic Condition, there is a long-term impact on a person’s life due to Menier’s. However, treatments can help relieve symptoms and treat the disease. There are medications available which can ease symptoms like vertigo, nausea, and vomiting. Injections into the ear can also help treat the disease. A physical therapist can teach Vestibular rehabilitation exercises which improve symptoms as well.
Sometimes, an audiologist treats hearing loss by fitting a hearing aid. Surgery is only required in extreme cases for severe cases. An endolymphatic sac procedure is done to decrease the production of fluid or for fluid drainage in the inner ear. Lifestyle change is a must to be able to treat this disease from the inside.
Sinuses are empty chambers within the bones of your head which aid in speech. It is when these chambers get inflamed because of bacterial infection does the problem start. Mostly symptoms include headache, facial pain, runny nose or nasal congestion.
A thorough consultation is often required as acute sinusitis is very painful and the underlying cause has to be identified for the same. The cause can be cold, allergies or nasal obstruction. If cold and allergies are responsible the doctor will give you anti-allergy or antibiotics to get relief and if an obstruction is causing it, then they might suggest surgery. Sometimes physically draining the sinuses is also suggested to relieve the symptoms.
- Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea occurs when a person’s breathing completely stops or gets obstructed for a short period of time. The cycle is repetitive which causes disturbed sleep. The symptoms include snorting, snoring, waking up tired or with a headache, memory problems, concentration problems, and falling asleep easily.
Your doctor will recommend an overnight sleep study to determine the disease. A patient’s breathing, heart rate, oxygen levels, and other vital functions are measured and recorded during this study. This helps the doctor to come up with a treatment plan. Oral appliances or mouth guards which are specially designed, air pressure treatments using CPAP machines, surgical procedures can all be suggestive to people suffering from Sleep Apnea. While the treatments are in place, lifestyle changes are really helpful. Weight loss is one such change.
Every medical problem has a solution these days as medical techniques advance. Having said that, lifestyle changes in this fast-digital age is also a must for a healthy life.