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.
For many people, hearing loss is something that occurs slowly over a long period of time. So slowly, in fact, that they may not even realize that they suffer from this frustrating and often hidden condition. However, your ear, nose, and throat doctor can help you realize that you have hearing loss and give you the resources you need to treat your hearing loss and overcome this condition for good. Find out more about treating hearing loss with South Coast Ear, Nose, and Throat with locations in Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, and Okeechobee, FL.
How do I know I suffer from hearing loss?
The symptoms of hearing loss may begin subtly and build in severity over a long period of time, often many years. Symptoms may also begin after a traumatic event which damages the ear. If others often sound muffled during your conversations and you find yourself asking those around you to repeat themselves often, you could suffer from hearing loss. Some other warning signs include trouble hearing consonants, asking others to speak louder frequently, having increased difficulty understanding someone on the telephone, or increased difficulty having conversations in crowded situations like a restaurant. Some common risk factors for hearing loss development include increased age, occupational noises like loud machinery, certain illnesses which cause a high fever, or heredity.
Hearing Tests in Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, and Okeechobee
A hearing test conducted by an audiologist allows your doctor to thoroughly assess the levels and frequencies at which you hear sounds. Your doctor may also use a physical examination, tuning fork tests, or a general test like covering one ear and testing the sounds heard in the other before recommending a hearing test. During the hearing test, the patient wears a pair of headphones and listens for sounds, then indicates in which ear they heard the sound. The sounds, played at different frequencies and volumes, allow your doctor to pinpoint at which range your hearing loss occurs.
Treating Your Hearing Loss
The most common treatment for hearing loss is a hearing aid. These aids come in all shapes and sizes, making it important to work with your doctor to determine the best style hearing aid for you. For more information on hearing loss and its treatments, please contact South Coast Ear, Nose, and Throat. Call (772) 398-9911 to schedule your appointment in Port St. Lucie, (772) 464-6055 to schedule your appointment in Fort Pierce, or (863) 357-7791 to schedule your appointment in Okeechobee today!
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