A sinus infection can happen to anyone and is normally nothing to worry about. However, recurring sinus infections can be the sign of a more serious condition called sinusitis requiring the help of your ear, nose, and throat doctor. They may suggest balloon sinuplasty, a common and effective treatment for sinusitis. Find out more about balloon sinuplasty and how it can benefit you with Dr. Pankaj Gupta at Wake Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists and Wake Sinus Center in Cary, NC.
What is sinusitis?
Sinusitis occurs when the sinuses become inflamed and swollen. Often, this clears up within a few days or weeks and does not return for some time. In some cases, sinusitis lasts longer than four weeks and can even last months or years. If sinusitis lingers, it becomes chronic, requiring medical intervention, such as balloon sinuplasty.
Do I need a balloon sinuplasty?
Approved by the FDA in 2005, balloon sinuplasty uses a balloon to dilate the sinuses and allow them to drain. If left untreated, blocked sinuses can begin to cause issues with breathing, jaw function, headaches, and even insomnia. Balloon sinuplasty opens the blocked areas of the sinuses, allowing them to drain any built up mucus, pus, or other discharge causing the blockage. Some common signs that balloon sinuplasty may be right for you include:
- yellow or green discharge from the nose
- facial pain
- facial pressure
- decreased ability to smell
- you have had four or more sinus infections over the last year
- your symptoms last longer than four weeks
What can I expect during a balloon sinuplasty?
Your doctor will insert the balloon catheter into the sinus cavity through the nose. The balloon expands to open the blocked sinuses. Your doctor uses a saline spray to flush the sinus and help push the blockage out. Then, the balloon comes out and leaves the sinuses in an expanded state to allow for efficient drainage in the future.
Balloon Sinuplasty in Cary, NC
If you suffer from frequent sinus infections or chronic sinusitis, you may benefit from a balloon sinuplasty. For more information on balloon sinuplasty or how it can benefit you and your sinusitis, please contact Dr. Pankaj Gupta at Wake Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists and Wake Sinus Center in Cary, NC. Call (919) 851-5636 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Gupta today!
If you’ve ever suffered from a stuffy nose, facial pain, and pressure around the nose, cheeks, and eyes, or experienced postnasal drip (in which nasal mucus drains down your throat), then you’ve experienced a sinus infection before. A sinus infection, also known as sinusitis, occurs when the nasal passages become inflamed or irritated. Sometimes an infection can be so bad that the inflammation can actually block these airways. Acute forms of this infection often come about after a cold; however, those with nasal polyps or a deviated septum may be prone to recurring bouts of sinusitis.
Acute sinusitis can last anywhere from two to four weeks and the condition will often clear up by itself. Of course, sometimes it’s necessary to see an otolaryngologist for treatment. For example, it’s a good idea to call a specialist if you’ve been trying to handle your symptoms at home but they haven’t improved after a few days. You should also schedule an appointment if symptoms get worse.
To manage symptoms of acute sinusitis you may try over-the-counter decongestants and nasal sprays to help reduce inflammation and drain the sinuses. If these medications don’t improve symptoms within a couple of days then you may need a stronger medication such as corticosteroids. In some cases, antibiotics may actually be necessary to clear the infection.
Chronic sinus infections last more than 12 weeks and most sufferers experience the exact same symptoms as those with acute sinusitis such as nasal congestion, facial pressure, or a partial or complete blockage of the nasal cavity. It’s important that you visit an ENT doctor as soon as possible to find out what your treatment options are. In some cases, a prescription medication along with over-the-counter medications and alternative remedies can help ease symptoms until the problem subsides. In more severe cases, the patient may need to consider more aggressive measures.
In the past, the only option for those dealing with severe and chronic sinus infections was to undergo surgery. Luckily, technology has come a long way and now ENT specialists can also offer a simple non-surgical procedure known as balloon sinuplasty. No incisions or cutting is required; the only tool used is a small flexible tube with a deflated balloon at the end of it.
The tube is carefully guided into the obstructed nasal passage where the balloon is inflated to open up the airways and drain the sinuses. Once this occurs, the scope is removed but the airways remain open. The side effects from this procedure are minimal and most patients can return to their normal activities 2 days later.
Of course, sometimes it’s necessary to perform sinus surgery to effectively treat chronic sinusitis. To decide the right treatment option for you, it’s important to schedule a consultation with an otolaryngologist you trust.
Find out if those symptoms of vertigo could be due to problems with the ear.
There are many reasons why you may feel dizzy. Maybe you got up too quickly or you’ve been in a rush all day and realized you haven’t eaten. Of course, there are certain times when the dizziness or spinning you’re feeling is due to an issue within the vestibular system, the system within the ear that is responsible for spatial orientation and balance. Find out when you should turn to an otolaryngologist to treat your symptoms of vertigo.
In order to diagnose your dizziness, there are several diagnostic tests that may be conducted. Your ENT doctor will go through your medical history and then perform a physical examination. We will ask you questions regarding the symptoms you are experiencing and when you experience them. A hearing test is one of the most common procedures performed because it’s the best way to test your balance and the inner ear.
There are many problems that could be to blame for your dizziness including:
- Problems or disorders within the inner ear
- Central nervous system disorders
- High blood pressure
- Bacterial or viral infections
- Side effects of certain medication
Dizziness can be treatable, it’s just important to be able to determine the root cause so we know the best approach for treating your symptoms. So, when should you see an ear, nose and throat doctor regarding your dizziness? You should contact an ENT specialist if:
- Your primary care doctor has not been able to determine the cause of your dizziness
- You are experiencing hearing loss, hearing changes or ringing in the ears
- There is pressure or fullness in the ear or ears
Common ENT causes of dizziness and vertigo include:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): caused by the displacement of crystals within the inner eye
- Meniere’s disease: an imbalance of fluid within the inner ear
- Labyrinthitis: inflammation or infection with the inner ear (can cause hearing loss if left untreated)
- Vestibular neuritis: a viral infection of the vestibular nerve
One of the first tests a doctor will perform is an eye movement test that will check for issues within the inner ear (vestibular system). From there, your doctor will create a treatment plan based on the cause. Common treatment options include:
- Medication to reduce motion sickness and nausea from vertigo
- Canalith repositioning procedure: a technique that helps reposition the crystals within the inner ears (for treating BPPV)
- Migraine medications (to treat Meniere’s disease and vestibular migraines)
- Rehabilitation and exercises to improve balance
- Surgery (in rare cases)
If you’ve been dealing with severe or persistent dizziness then it’s time to contact an ENT doctor to find out what’s going on.
It started as a small itch, but now it’s completely bloomed into a sore throat. Do you know the best way to treat it? No matter the cause, your doctor can help you alleviate the pain.
What Could Be Causing Your Sore Throat
The first step in figuring out how to treat your sore throat is determining its source. A sore throat can be a symptom of many different issues, such as smoking or allergies, but the three most common causes are—
A cold: Often, a sore throat is just the first sign of a viral cold. You’ll know if this is the case for you if the pain subsides after a day or two and if you begin exhibiting other cold symptoms, like a runny nose or cough.
Strep throat: Caused by an infection of the streptococcus bacteria passed through saliva and nasal secretions, strep throat is a more severe cause of a sore throat. Other symptoms common to it are white spots on your throat area, fever, and swollen lymph nodes in your neck.
Tonsillitis: This is a very painful sore throat caused by an inflammation of the tonsils from an infection by viruses or bacteria. Tonsillitis’s biggest additional symptom is swollen tonsils with white or yellow spots, but others are bad breath and an impaired voice from the swelling.
What You Can Do at Home
If your sore throat is caused by a virus, there isn’t much you can do other than let the virus run its course. But no matter what is causing your sore throat, there are steps you can take at home to ease your pain and help you get better, including:
∙ Get plenty of sleep and avoid speaking more than necessary
∙ Drink lots of fluids to keep your throat moist and you hydrated. Just avoid dehydrating liquids like coffee and alcohol.
∙ Stick to soothing foods and beverages. This includes warm liquids like soup or water with honey and cool treats like Jell-O or ice cream.
∙ Gargle with saltwater—¼–½tspn sea salt to 4–8oz warm water.
Lozenges and over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen and ibuprofen can also help alleviate a sore throat, but be cautious if you’re treating your child.
Treatment from Your Doctor
You should see your doctor as soon as possible if you are dealing with a severe or persistent sore throat. A rapid strep test is often needed to diagnose strep throat, and only your doctor can tell for sure if you have tonsillitis and if it is from a bacteria or virus. If the cause of a sore throat is bacteria, your doctor will prescribe you antibiotics like penicillin or amoxicillin to kill it. Always take all of the medication as prescribed, even if you already feel better, and stay home until 24 hours after starting the antibiotic.
Sore throats can definitely be painful but they don’t have to be frustrating or a cause for worry. If you have any questions or concerns about a sore throat or any other symptoms, don’t hesitate to call your doctor today.
You've heard the joke: "Mom hears just what she wants to hear. She's got selective hearing." However, for people with true hearing loss, the muffled conversations, odd ringing sounds, and impacted social interactions are not funny.
If you or a loved one suspect you have hearing loss, your Cary otolaryngologist, Dr. Pankaj Gupta, can help. From offering complete ear, nose, and throat examinations and audiologic check-ups to fitting with the latest in hearing aids, the staff at Wake Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists will work to improve your daily function and quality of life.
Symptoms of hearing loss
A full 15 percent of adults in the United States have some degree of hearing difficulty, says the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. What does hearing loss in Cary sound like? What does it look like? How does it impact the sufferer and those around them?
To answer these questions, take a look at the symptoms of hearing loss:
- Sounds and voices are muffled (especially when high-pitched or soft).
- Patients experience tinnitus, a buzzing or ringing in one or both ears, and dizziness.
- Conversations are difficult to decipher in a crowded room.
- Television, radio, computer, or phone volume must be increased.
- Family members complain their loved one cannot hear them.
- Words are misinterpreted.
- Sufferers withdraw from social interactions such as parties and dinner table conversations.
- Patients depend on friends and loved ones for interpretation of sounds and interactions.
Hearing loss happens due to a variety of factors: age, occupation (noisy environments harm hearing), ototoxic drugs (some chemotherapies and antibiotics), and genetics. Viral infections, tumors, autoimmune conditions, and head trauma cause hearing problems, too.
Deciphering hearing loss
At Wake Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists, Dr. Gupta carefully examines his patients who may have hearing loss. He looks for anatomical malformations or damage, impacted ear wax, infection, and other possible physical or pharmacological causes. Additionally, his office is fully equipped and staffed for audiologic examinations which screen for perception and interpretation of sounds and words of various pitch and volume.
If needed, your otolaryngologist and audiologist delivers a range of hearing aids custom-fitted for your specific ear anatomy. Today's digital technology allows these experts to program hearing aids to your preferences and lifestyle. For instance, if you enjoy attending local symphony orchestra concerts, your devices may be tuned for best reception and perception of those wonderful musical notes.
Hearing loss really is a serious matter, and you need to deal with it. Fortunately, you can receive kind, compassionate and reliable help from your friends at Wake Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialists. For your hearing consultation, in Cary, NC, please contact our office team at (919) 851-5636.
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