Author: bell

No Stuffy Noses Allowed!

nasal congestion

Oh the joy of nasal congestion. It can come out of nowhere and is usually the first sign of other symptoms headed your way.

There can be many causes of nasal congestion. Our team at Excel ENT of Alabama wants to help you figure out not only the cause, but also a treatment plan so that you can get back to living your life without a stuffy nose! 

What Causes Nasal Congestion?

Nasal congestion, also known as a “stuffy nose,” occurs when the blood vessels inside the nose (in addition to the adjacent tissues) becomes swollen with excessive fluid. This fluid is what gives the nose a feeling of being “stuffy.”

Symptoms of nasal congestion include stuffy/runny nose, nasal pain, mucus buildup and/or nasal swelling. Since there could be a number of health-care issues causing your nasal congestion symptom, including but not limited to:

  • Allergies
  • Benign tumors
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Common cold
  • Deviated septum
  • Flu
  • Hay fever
  • Nasal polyps
  • Sinus infection
  • Various irritants, like tobacco smoke

Therefore, since there can be various reasons why you are suffering from nasal congestion, it is important to seek medical attention, especially if your symptoms have lasted a few days without relief, or new symptoms have appeared. 

What Treatments Help with Nasal Congestion?

Trying to be productive during the day with nasal congestion can be difficult. As a result, you want to try to find relief from nasal congestion as soon as possible. 

Fortunately, there are some home remedies you can try for a stuffy nose to see if anything can work to alleviate your symptoms. 

First, try sleeping with a humidifier at night. A humidifier allows moisture to be added to the air, which can help not only break up mucus but also soothe your nasal passages that are inflamed. 

Second, placing a warm face cloth over your face can also help in soothing your nasal passages and finding relief from a stuffy nose. You might also want to use this treatment method while also using pillows to prop your head up during the night to help you breathe easier. 

Finally, taking a hot shower can also assist in clearing up your nasal congestion, as the steam from the shower can improve breathing by allowing the mucus to drain through the nose. Although this home remedy method might not last as long as the others, it can certainly help you to find relief for at least a while. 

Is It Time to Visit a Doctor?

If home remedies do not work, it might be time to seek medical attention so that a better diagnosis and treatment plan can be given to help treat your nasal congestion, including:

  • Antibiotics
  • Nasal spray, which includes an antihistamine 
  • Nasal steroid
  • Prescription-strength decongestants
  • Surgery, if caused by nasal polyps or tumors

Tired of suffering from endless sinus infections? Contact the team at Excel ENT of Alabama today to schedule an appointment to discuss your options when it comes to the treatment of chronic sinusitis. 

Why Am I Losing My Voice?

microphone - voice

You don’t realize how much you miss the sound of your voice or ability to talk until you lose it. Hoarseness can take you by surprise, or it can be a symptom that slowly starts to appear, depending on the cause. 

While some cases of hoarseness might resolve over time, other situations might linger to where more advanced treatment like speech therapy is needed. Our team at Excel ENT of Alabama is here to help you decipher the cause of hoarseness, as well as provide treatment options to help you find your voice again!

What Causes Hoarseness?

Hoarseness, which is also known as “dysphonia,” is defined as a condition in which you experience abnormal voice changes. 

The common causes of hoarseness include but are not limited to:

  • Allergies
  • Common cold
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Neurological disorders
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Smoking
  • Thyroid problems
  • Trauma to the voice box
  • Upper respiratory tract infection
  • Voice abuse (like using voice too much, too loudly, etc.)

Because hoarseness can be caused by a number of medical conditions, it is important to seek an evaluation by a professional to make sure the right diagnosis and treatment plan is put together for your condition.

Prevent Hoarseness Before It Starts

Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect your voice before the symptom of hoarseness sets in and treatment is needed.

First, if you are a current smoker, quitting smoking can help to prevent hoarseness and voice deepening to occur. In addition, you can lower your risk of lung cancer and other medical conditions that are increased by smoking. Talk to a professional today about how you can start on the road to living a smoke-free life!

Second, make sure you are drinking plenty of water each day. While water is beneficial to our overall health, it can specifically help our voice, too. Since mucus is vital to protecting our vocal cords, staying hydrated helps your body to create that thin, watery mucus to ensure protection of your voice.

Finally, be sure to give your voice a break every now and then, especially if you are using it for longs period of time. Singers and educators, for instance, are using their voice more than most. This can cause strain on the vocal cords if a “time out” isn’t given once in awhile.

Therefore, sometimes the best thing you can do for your voice to prevent hoarseness is to just take a break from speaking. 

Treatment Is Available!

While some cases of hoarseness can be taken care of with plenty of rest and possibly some medications to soothe your throat, other treatment methods like voice therapy might be required if your hoarseness doesn’t alleviate within a few days. 

Voice therapy can be a wonderful tool in relieving the symptom of hoarseness, as the process can both help to reduce damage to your vocal cords while also restoring the health of your voice. 

Lost your voice? Contact the team at Excel ENT of Alabama today to schedule an appointment to discuss how voice therapy could help you to find your voice again! 

Am I a Good Candidate for Sinus Surgery?

Headache, runny nose, nasal congestion, oh my!

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 26 million Americans are diagnosed with sinusitis. Are you one of them?

What Is Sinusitis?

Sinusitis, also known as a sinus infection, occurs when the nasal passages become inflamed. There are two main types of sinusitis—acute sinusitis and chronic sinusitis.

Symptoms of sinusitis include:

  • Bad breath
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Loss of smell
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Teeth pain

Depending on the type of sinusitis, treatment options vary.

For acute sinusitis, treatment includes saline nasal washes, over-the-counter medications (like a decongestant), and a possible antibiotic. However, if despite treatment, your symptoms continue for 12 weeks or more, chronic sinusitis is most likely the culprit.

In this case, sinus surgery might be the best answer for relief.

Will Sinus Surgery Help?

In most cases, physicians will give patients time for other treatment methods to work to improve your sinus infection symptoms.

However, if after three months, pain and other symptoms continue, chances are great that there is an obstruction of the sinuses. Therefore, sinus surgery might be recommended.

“If other medications for sinusitis leave the patient without relief, surgery is the next best option,” says J. Christopher Davis, MD, FACS, an otolaryngology (ear, nose & throat) specialist at Excel ENT of Alabama. “Sinus surgery, including balloon sinuplasty, can help patients find relief from their condition, as well as lower their risks of suffering from sinus infections in the future.”

Good candidates for sinus surgery include patients who have:

  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Deviated septum
  • Nasal or sinus polyps
  • Sinus disease due to a fungal infection

When Sinus Surgery Is an Option

Fortunately, if your condition calls for a medical procedure, there are a number of sinus surgery options available. Balloon sinuplasty is one option.

“During a balloon sinuplasty, a catheter with an inflatable balloon attached to it is inserted into the patient’s sinuses and a balloon is inflated to widen the sinus outflow tracts,” Dr. Davis explains. “Since balloon sinuplasty is a less invasive treatment option than the traditional endoscopic sinus surgery, it is beginning to be the method of choice in mild to moderate cases of chronic sinusitis.”

Another sinus surgery option includes a functional endoscopic surgery. It’s important to talk to an ENT to decide which option is best for you and your medical condition.

 

Are you tired of suffering from chronic sinus infections? Contact the team at Excel ENT of Alabama today to schedule an appointment to discuss your treatment options, including sinus surgery.

Allergies VS Sinuses – What’s the Difference?

Hello, allergy and sinus season! Between a stuffy nose, headache, and everything in between, it can seem as though the symptoms keep coming on in different ways, which can confuse you as to what you might be suffering from.

Fortunately, the team at Excel ENT of Alabama has some “tricks of the trade” when it comes to finding out whether or not you are suffering from allergies or sinuses.

AHH-CHOO!

As soon as the weather changes, it seems as though the sniffles and coughs come with it. But, who is the culprit? Allergies or a sinus infection?

While the answer sometimes cannot always be clear, the team at Excel ENT of Alabama wants you to know there are signs that might point in one direction or the other.

Is It a Sinus Infection?

A sinus infection is a very common medical condition that affects more than 30 million people living in the United States every year. As a result, it makes it one of the most commonly diagnosed medical conditions among Americans.

Symptoms of a sinus infection include:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Facial tenderness and/or swelling
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Pain in back of eyes, ears, and/or forehead
  • Loss of smell
  • Nasal congestion
  • Runny nose
  • Sinus pressure
  • Sore throat

While sinus infections can be taken care of with plenty of rest, fluids, and over-the-counter medications (like decongestants and antibiotics), there can come a time where more medical intervention is needed.

Therefore, if you continue to suffer from a sinus infection for more than 4 to 6 weeks, you might want to speak to an ear, nose, and throat physician who can guide you through other treatment options, including surgery.

What About Allergies?

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, allergies are one of the most chronic diseases in the United States. While more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year, as stated by the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, most symptoms can be treated with over-the-counter medications, prescription medications, and allergy shots, if necessary.

The following are the most common signs of allergies, including:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Hives
  • Itchy, watery eyes
  • Rash
  • Runny nose
  • Skin irritation
  • Sneezing

Because more serious allergies (like to certain foods and drugs) can cause life-threatening symptoms in patients, it is important for people who suffer from allergies undergo allergy testing in case an EpiPen is needed.

Are you tired of suffering from sinus infection after sinus infection? We don’t blame you! Contact the experienced team at Excel ENT of Alabama today to schedule an appointment to discuss  the right treatment option for you!