Frequently asked questions about ear, nose and throat conditions
1. What are common causes of nasal obstruction?
Common causes of nasal obstruction include a deviated nasal septum, nasal turbinate enlargement and nasal polyps (benign growths).
2. What causes sinusitis and how is it treated?
Infection of the sinus cavities often occurs due to inflammation and obstruction of the sinus drainage pathways. Typical symptoms of a sinus infection include facial pain and pressure, nasal obstruction, yellow or green nasal drainage, fatigue and fever. Treatment of a sinus infection may include nasal decongestants and antibiotics. People with chronic sinus drainage may benefit from endoscopic sinus surgery.
3. Are cold-like symptoms after a tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy (such as cough and congestion) normal?
Yes. Cold and congestion symptoms are normal due to recovering from anesthesia/intubation as well as increased production of secretions when recovering from surgery. Causes for concern include fever and neck stiffness.
4. What is sleep apnea?
Some people stop breathing for short periods of time (at least 10 seconds) while asleep. By far the most common reason for this is the obstruction of airflow caused by the collapse of the tissues in the throat when a person relaxes in deep sleep. Usually a person will struggle to breathe and start to come out of a deep sleep when this occurs. If this occurs at least five times in an hour a person is said to have sleep apnea. It can also occur much more frequently. Because a patient's deep sleep cycle is disrupted they may be sleepy during the day, have difficulty concentrating, and have morning headaches. The often feel worse when they wake up than when they went to bed because they have been struggling all night to breathe. When a person is not breathing the oxygen level in their blood is also decreasing, and if this happens very much the body responds by increasing the blood pressure, so many patients with sleep apnea also have high blood pressure.
5. What is ear discharge ?
Ear discharge is any fluid that comes from the ear. It is also called otorrhea. Most of the time your ears will discharge ear wax, an oil that your body naturally produces. Ear wax’s job is to make sure that dust, bacteria, or other foreign bodies do not get into your ear. However, other conditions such as a ruptured eardrum can cause blood or other fluids to drain from your ear. This is a sign that your ear has been injured or infected and requires medical attention.
6. What is epistaxis ?
Epistaxis is nose bleeding that can range from a trickle to a strong flow, and the consequences can range from a minor annoyance to life-threatening hemorrhage. Most nasal bleeding is anterior, originating from a plexus of vessels in the anterior inferior septum (Kiesselbach's area). Less common but more serious are posterior nosebleeds, which originate in the posterior septum overlying the vomer bone, or laterally on the inferior or middle turbinate. Posterior nosebleeds tend to occur in patients who have preexisting atherosclerotic vessels or bleeding disorders and have undergone nasal or sinus surgery.