There are many reasons you may visit an ear, nose and throat specialist. In this article, we provide an overview of the four most common ear, nose and throat complaints we treat, including their symptoms and treatments.
Sleep apnea is a condition that is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central and complex. Obstructive sleep apnea is caused by the soft tissues in the throat collapsing into the airway. Central sleep apnea occurs due to the brain not sending the correct instructions to the muscles that control breathing. Complex sleep apnea is a mix of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Symptoms of sleep apnea include:
- Loud snoring
- Pauses in breathing during sleep
- Waking up frequently during the night
- Gasping or choking noises while sleeping
- Feeling unrefreshed after waking up
- Daytime drowsiness
- Sore throat or dry mouth
- Morning headache
- Mood swings
Sleep apnea can be treated with lifestyle changes such as losing weight, oral appliances, a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine and surgery.
Sinusitis describes inflammation of the sinuses that causes them to become blocked, usually as a result of allergies or a cold. When this happens, it’s possible for bacteria to become trapped.
There are two types of sinusitis: acute and chronic. Acute sinusitis is short-lived while chronic sinusitis persists 12 weeks or longer.
Symptoms of sinusitis include:
- Facial pain or pressure
- Nasal discharge
Sinusitis can be treated with saline nasal rinses, warm compresses, pain relievers from Hub City Pharmacy, or antibiotics.
Strep throat is caused by a family of bacteria known as Streptococci that can infect the throat and surrounding structures. You can catch strep throat if you have been exposed to someone who has had it within the previous two weeks.
Symptoms usually come on abruptly and include:
- Sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Enlarged tonsils and lymph nodes
- White patches on throat and tonsils
- Body aches
Strep throat is treated with antibiotics.
Ear infections are the result of the Eustachian tubes – which connect the middle ear to the back of the throat – becoming blocked, allowing fluid to pool in the middle ears and bacteria to grow.
Children are more likely to get ear infections because their Eustachian tubes are shorter and more horizontal than adults’. In fact, ear infections are the most common reason children are brought to the doctor.
Symptoms of ear infections include:
- Ear pain and pressure.
- Fluid discharge.
- Loss of balance.
- Difficulty hearing.
- Nausea and vomiting.
While your doctor may at first recommend a wait-and-see approach, antibiotics may be necessary. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Spartanburg & Greer Ear, Nose & Throat today.