Throat conditions are very common, although some ailments might settle on its own, a few can rapidly progress to more severe forms needing immediate review by a throat specialist. It’s therefore a good idea to have yourself checked by an otolaryngologist when throat symptoms present itself.
Throat conditions are reviewed by doctors who focus their attention on ear, nose and throat (ENT) disorders. These illnesses form much of the common day to day symptoms which you and your family face. Timely intervention by an ENT doctor can prevent prolonged sick days and keep you in good health. The best ENT doctors help you with early diagnosis and assist you in better understanding your condition with a broad choice of treatment options to suit your lifestyle.
Here are five throat conditions which warrant an ENT consultation:
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Throat irritation is generally overlooked as minor. Silent reflux is one condition which usually goes unnoticed. It is a condition which causes acidity and contents in your stomach to flow back to your throat causing irritation at the back of your throat. Common symptoms include a burning sensation in your throat, constant throat clearing, a bitter taste in your throat, hoarseness and a chronic postnasal drip.
Although a rather silent condition with no external symptoms, it can be potentially dangerous as it gradually erodes the oesophagus or food pipe. The changes to the structure of your food pipe may even lead to cancer. It is good to have yourself reviewed early by an ENT specialist if you suspect silent reflux.
Feel like a frog in your throat? Viral and bacterial infections in the tonsils are common in both young and old. These infections tend to cause inflammation and redness in the throat. Chronic tonsillitis leads to removal of affected tonsils through surgery to prevent recurring infections avoiding daily discomfort.
Patients with tonsillitis complain of sore throat, swollen and tender glands with difficulty in swallowing, bad breath, tiredness and sometimes even fever with chills. Tonsillitis caused by bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics, and it is important to visit your doctor on time to prevent weekly or monthly episodes of severe throat discomfort. A strep throat needs quick treatment to avoid complications of rheumatic fever, as it can have serious effects on your kidneys and heart. Another complication is having a peritonsillar abscess where there is collection of pus around the tonsils. It can spread fast to the rest of the throat tissues. Treatment involves drainage of pus by an ENT doctor.
You can have an inward bulge called an internal laryngocele or an outward visible neck lump forming an external laryngocele. These laryngoceles are air filled pockets which expand when an individual forcefully breathes out. Although it might look innocent, these egg shaped sacs can get filled with fluid in times of infection making it essential either to be drained or surgically removed. It is best to get an opinion from an otolaryngologist on your laryngocele as it can cause airway obstruction needing emergency intervention.
No voice suddenly? This is a condition caused when the small cartilage covering the windpipe swells up blocking the air passage to the lungs. It is a potentially life threating condition. Epiglottitis can occur at any age but it’s more common in children.
If you encounter sudden difficulty in breathing and swallowing, don’t take it lightly. In children the signs and symptoms of epiglottitis develop within hours resulting in severe sore throat, fever, restlessness, drooling and noise when breathing. It is important to walk into an ENT emergency department immediately.
Burns from hot fluids and a direct injury to the throat are common factors. It could also be due to infections in children, the most common being due to the bacterium Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib). The cases have reduced with the present vaccination program. Prompt treatment is needed to prevent life threatening complications.
Problems in the vocal cords can lead to an abnormal change in your voice. If you realise suddenly that your voice is strained, low or high pitched, inconsistent and sounding raspy, it would be best to consult a throat specialist.
Smokers who notice a change in their voice, discomfort while talking, or difficulty in breathing might have this condition too. Many factors can be attributed towards hoarseness of voice. The most common being acute laryngitis, a viral infection affecting your throat. This can cause inflammation in your vocal chords, making it difficult to speak. A chronic change in voice can also be due to something serious. Cancerous lesions on the vocal chords can change your voice too. Smokers are at an increased risk of developing this condition. Only an ENT doctor will be able to rule out such a condition.
If you are in doubt of any of your throat issues call in at the ENT Clinic Singapore. Dr Jeeve Kanagalingam, Dr Annabelle Leong and Dr Chris Hobbs are knowledgeable ENT specialists with extensive experience dealing with the aforementioned conditions. For more details you can visit their practice website at https://www.entclinic.sg or directly book an appointment by calling the clinic.