Allergic Rhinitis—occurs when the body’s immune system over-responds to specific non-infectious particles such as plant pollens, molds, dust mites, animal hair, industrial chemicals (including tobacco smoke), foods, medicines and insect venom. When this occurs in the nose, sneezing and congestion are the result.
Nasal Congestion—congestion, stuffiness or obstruction to nasal breathing is one of the oldest and most common complaints. For some patients this represents a mere nuisance though to others it is a source of considerable discomfort. These symptoms usually result from one of four causes, including infection, structural causes (i.e. deviated septum, the cartilage and bony dividing wall that separates the two nostrils, allergy and vasomotor rhinitis (inflammation of the many blood vessels in the nasal membranes).
Nasal Polyps—sometimes polyps grow into the nasal passage. They usually originate at the sinus openings. Polyps are teardrop-shaped collections of inflammatory cells, fluid, and tissue. They can grow in response to infection and allergy or for unknown reasons. When polyps are widespread, it is usually from some underlying mucosal abnormality. Polyps may respond to medications such as steroids. If they block breathing, interfere with sinus drainage or cause other problems they may need to be removed. If this is due to infection or other local phenomenon, the polyps will usually not return. If they originally grew as a result of allergic or non-allergic rhinitis, allergic fungal sinusitis, or if they are associated with aspirin sensitivity, they are more prone to return after surgery.
Nose Bleeds (Epistaxis)—often begin in the lower part of the septum, which contains blood vessels that can be broken by a blow to the nose or the edge of a sharp fingernail as well as allergies, infections, vigorous nose blowing and dryness in the nose. For additional information on nosebleeds and tips for stopping this type of nosebleed, visit www.entnet.org/healthinfo/nose/nosebleeds.cfm
Postnasal Drip—occurs when you feel that mucous is accumulating in your throat or dripping from the back of your nose. Mucous is normally swallowed unconsciously and is produced continually by glands in your nose and throat to moisten and clean the nasal membranes, humidify air, trap and clear inhaled foreign matter and fight infection.
Sinus Infections/Sinusitis—is an inflammation of the membrane lining of any sinus, especially one of the paranasal sinuses. Acute sinusitis is a short term condition that responds well to antibiotics and decongestants. Chronic sinusitis is characterized by at least four recurrences of an acute sinusitis.
Medical and surgical treatment options are available. To help determine your best treatment options, your otolaryngological evaluation will include a nasal endoscopy which gives your physician a reliable, visual view of all the accessible areas of the sinus drainage pathways. This is a painless procedure performed in the office. The nose is anesthetized and an endoscope is placed in the nose to observe signs of obstruction and detect nasal polyps hidden on routine nasal exam as well as pus and structural abnormalities that may cause recurrent sinusitis. Often a sinus CT scan and possibly allergy testing may also be required to help your otolaryngologist determine the best treatment options for you.
Snoring—occurs when there is an obstruction of the free flow of air through the passages at the back of the mouth and nose. Snoring occurs when these structures strike each other and vibrate during breathing. Snoring disturbs sleeping patterns and deprives the snorer of appropriate rest. When severe, this can cause serious health problems including obstructive sleep apnea.
If you would like to speak with an ENT doctor about allergy testing and other nose disorders, please schedule an appointment today!
Otolaryngologists complete up to 15 years of college and post-graduate training.
To be certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology, applicants complete college, usually four years of medical school, and at least five years of specialty training. Some then pursue a one– or two–year fellowship for more extensive training in one of the seven subspecialty areas.
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