THROAT CONDITIONS & TREATMENTS
LARYNGITIS SYMPTOMS :
The following symptoms definitely warrant a visit to a head, neck, and throat specialist: A sore throat accompanied by a fever | Coughing up yellow or green phlegm (possibly bacterial sinusitis or bronchitis) | Coughing up blood | Difficulty drinking liquids | Previous history of throat and/or breathing problems | Symptoms continuing for two to three weeks regardless of voice rest | Unexplained loss of weight | Discomfort or pain of the throat | Associated neck swelling
Laryngitis is a common medical condition characterized by inflammation and swelling of the larynx (voice box). The majority of cases are caused by common viruses, infections or overuse of your voice. Laryngitis is not considered a serious health concern. Laryngitis may occur at the same time or a couple of days after you have had a sore throat. Once the infection has cleared up, laryngitis can persist for a few weeks afterwards. At times, laryngitis can be an indication of serious laryngeal cancer.
If your child only has hoarseness, either with or without accompanying symptoms, like a mild fever (under 100.5 F), muscle aches, runny nose, nasal congestion or cough, their laryngitis should be treated in the same manner as an adult case. However, if your child has a high fever, sore throat, refuses to eat/drink and in the case of an infant has fewer wet diapers than normal (possible dehydration), you should take them to the emergency department immediately. Some symptoms can be extremely serious and actually life threatening. In these cases, you or your child should proceed immediately to the nearest emergency room or call 911:
Difficulty breathing | Sensation that the throat is closing up | Unable to swallow properly | Drooling | Can only breathe sitting in an upright position | Whistling sound in the throat when breathing
Typically, laryngitis results from a virus or using your voice too much. It can also develop from a bacterial throat infection. Bacterial and viral cases of laryngitis are quite contagious. On very rare occasions, laryngitis infections can be caused by more serious conditions like fungal infections, tuberculosis or syphilis. A patient with a persistent case of laryngitis should see head, neck, and throat specialist to rule out the possibility of a tumor, which could prove to be cancerous. Anyone who smokes or consumes alcohol is at a higher risk for throat cancers.
The majority of the time, you or your child can be evaluated with a physical examination. He or she will concentrate on the throat, nose, ears and neck. In the case of your child, if they have severe symptoms, your doctor may send them for a chest and neck x-ray. A thorough examination of the throat may be performed with a small, lighted scope that is guided through the nose to the throat, after the nose is frozen with local anaesthetic. This procedure takes a few minutes but it can provide important information concerning the condition of the laryngeal nerve controlling movements of the vocal cords. On occasion, we might draw blood for a complete blood count (CBC) specimen. This would probably be done more in the case of your child rather than yourself.
If symptoms have only lasted for a few days or come on after overusing the voice, the main treatment is to try to rest the voice for as long as possible as well as drinking lots of fluids. If you or your child display symptoms of viral infection (i.e. low fever, cough, congested or runny nose), then you need to push fluids and take either Tylenol (acetaminophen) or Advil (ibuprofen) to relieve these symptoms. You or your child should also try inhaling steam from a hot bath/shower or using a cool mist humidifier to help ease symptoms. Generally speaking, the above home treatments should cure or improve the laryngitis. It is extremely important to the overall health and well being of your entire family to never ignore serious medical symptoms, such as persistent laryngitis. If you have some of these symptoms, our caring health professionals can offer solutions to you. Call today for an appointment.
SWOLLEN GLANDS: Do you have a sore throat, headache, and fatigue? It is possible that you could have swollen lymph nodes, also called "swollen glands." Typically, if your glands are swollen, it is an indication that your body is fighting an infection or some other type of illness.
Purpose of Lymph Nodes
Helping your body battle infections and other diseases, lymph nodes are bean-shaped, small masses of tissue components of a large lymphatic system. When lymphatic fluid moves through your body, lymphocytes (immune cells) within the lymph glands trap viruses, bacteria and other possibly harmful substances and destroy them. This helps keep these pathogens from spreading any further.
No doubt, you are already aware of the lymph nodes found in your neck. However, you actually have hundreds of lymph nodes located throughout your entire body. Your tonsils are also classified as lymph tissues. Sometimes, they can become swollen and inflamed to fight illnesses like tonsillitis. This condition is most common in children, but adults can also contract it. Other areas of the body where you might feel swollen lymph nodes include:
Behind your ears
Under your jaw
The lower part of the back of your head
Your groin area
Under normal circumstances, you should not be able to feel your glands. Normally, they are approximately one half inch in diameter. However, when you or your child fights off an illness, these glands may swell to double or triple their regular size. At this point, they can be felt very easily. Additional signs and symptoms of swollen glands include:
Pain or tenderness when pressure is applied
Sore throat, fever and or sores in the mouth
Warm, red and swollen skin over the gland
Glands that feel “lumpy”
Causes and Concerns
Soft, tender and moveable swollen glands are typically signs of an inflammation or infection. Lymph nodes that are painless, feel hard to the touch, and resist movement need further examination by a head and neck specialist, as they could be warning signs of more serious conditions. The most common causes of swollen glands include:
Bacterial infections including strep throat
Infected teeth or mouth sores
Viral infections including mononucleosis, also known as "mono"
Sexually transmitted diseases, also known as STDs
Cancers like Hodgkin's disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, leukemia and breast cancer
Immunodeficiency conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), lupus and HIV infections
Possible side effects from vaccines or other types of medications
After the illness has been treated and you feel better overall, your lymph nodes should shrink back to normal. Treatment of your swollen glands tends to be cause-dependent. There are some symptoms and indications that your swollen glands require treatment from a specialist. Additional treatment may be required if swollen glands are accompanied by:
A high fever (more than 104 degrees F)
Unexplained loss of weight
Reddened skin over top of the swollen lymph nodes
Large swollen nodes that are very tender, hard to the touch and do not reduce in size
The majority of cases of swollen glands are no cause for great concern. They usually go away with basic treatment at home. However, the more serious symptoms mentioned above should never be ignored. If you are experiencing persistent or problematic swollen glands, contact our office for an appointment. One of our competent head and neck specialists can offer you a solution and treatment.
CHRONIC TONSILLITIS/STREP THROAT: Tonsillitis is an inflammation of the tonsils
This condition is common in children and adults when the tonsils become swollen, red and painful and may be coated with a yellow or white substance. Most cases of tonsillitis are caused by a virus, although it is sometimes the result of the streptococcal bacteria. Tonsillitis and Strep symptoms are similar to those of a common cold and may include: sore throat, fever, difficulty swallowing and swollen lymph nodes.
TONSILLECTOMY AND ADENOIDECTOMY: Tonsils and adenoids are typically removed because of recurrent infections despite antibiotic therapy. Other common reasons for removal include difficulty breathing due to enlarged tonsils and adenoids and recurrent sinus infections.
In addition, removal of the adenoids may be beneficial for some children with ear infections. In adults, the possibility of cancer or a tumor may be another reason for removing the tonsils and adenoids. See information sheet for additional information on Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy.
THYROID DISEASE: Hyperthyroidism, Hypothroidism, Thyroid nodules, Goiter
- Hyperthyroidism: is an overactive thyroid gland that produces too much thyroid hormone in the body. Causes of hyperthyroidism include Graves disease, nodules, goiters, thyroiditis
-Hypothyroidism: an underactive thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone to maintain normal body function. Causes of hypothyroidism include Hashimoto disease, thyroidectomy, thyroiditis, medications, too much/too little iodine, etc.
-Thyroid nodules: an abnormal growth of thyroid cells (cancerous or benign) within the thyroid
-Goiter: an enlarged thyroid which may result in a visible neck lump.
VOCAL CORD CONDITIONS & PROCEDURES: Vocal cord Paralysis, Polyps and Therapy.
Vocal cord paralysis is a common disorder that involves a loss of movement in one or both of the vocal cords. When a vocal cord does not open or close properly, the airway is left open, which can allow food or liquids to slip through. This causes difficulty swallowing, coughing and increased breathing, hoarse/breathy or weak voice, and often occurs after neck or throat surgery. The cause of vocal cord paralysis is often not known, but some cases may be a result of: vocal cord injury, neck or chest injury, stroke, viral infection, tumor and inflammation. Vocal cord paralysis can be diagnosed through physical examination and a series of diagnostic tests such as a fiberoptic laryngoscope.
Another vocal cord condition is polyps. Polyps can take a number of forms and are usually benign, appearing as swelling, a bump or a nodule (additional evaluation may be required to determine if other types of throat lesions are cancerous). They are sometimes caused by vocal abuse. Polyps appear on either one or both of the vocal cords.
Treatment for vocal cord conditions depends on the cause, severity and length of the condition. Some patients recover from this condition with no treatment, while others may require voice therapy or surgery. Voice therapy works to strengthen the vocal cords and keep the airway protected, while surgery repositions the vocal cord to improve the voice and swallowing. Speech therapy may be recommended after surgery to help the patient get used to the changes.