Categories: E. N. T.

When is the time to see your ENT doctor?

You see a general physician when you have a cold. You make an appointment with a paediatrician when your little one falls ill. But an appointment with an ENT doctor? Not quite often! Understandably so, for problems with your ear, nose and throat don’t generally pose any serious risks to your health, though they affect the quality of your life. And often, they tend to go on their own. Does it mean that you can comfortably ignore the ENT specialist forever? Of course, not. Certain conditions warrant you to see your ENT doctor. Let’s take a look at them one by one.

Hoarseness (Particularly when it lasts for more than 2 weeks)

It’s quite natural for your voice to turn hoarse when you’re affected with a bad cold, or you vociferously cheer for your team or talk for extended hours. But when it lasts for more than 2 weeks, you’ve reasons to be concerned about and pay a visit to an ENT doctor.

Prolonged hoarseness could be a symptom of cancer, particularly of the larynx. But by consulting an ENT doctor, you can understand the root cause of your hoarse voice.

Difficulty Swallowing (Dysphagia)

It’s simply about taking more time and strenuous effort to move liquid or food from your mouth to the stomach.

The possible causes could vary – ranging from digestive disorders to certain types of cancers or neurological conditions such as stroke. Early detection by an ENT doctor can simply save the day for you.

Snoring with or without sleep apnoea (Interrupted breathing for more than 10 seconds)

Snoring can be a social stigma and sleep apnoea can pose an array of problems that can severely affect your health, day-to-day life, and productivity. They include an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart conditions, and stroke. The symptoms include daytime sleepiness, difficulty in concentrating, bouts of anger, morning headaches, etc.

Consulting your ENT doctor if you have snoring with or without sleep apnoea can help you stay out of risk and lead a healthy and productive life.

Balance Problems/Dizziness

Balance problems and dizziness are very common symptoms especially in the elderly. While there are different reasons for the condition, most of the time the problem arises from issues in the inner-ear balance organs. Though the condition in itself is not dangerous, it can cause frequent falls and even can be life-threatening while operating machines, driving cars, or walking on busy roads.

An ENT doctor can find out the real cause of your balance problems and intervene timely to avoid any mishaps.

Hearing Loss (Sudden onset or one-sided)

Hearing loss can be sudden, gradual, full, or partial. Sudden hearing loss due to damage to the hearing organ is an emergency and needs immediate treatment and not to be ignored. The other causes can vary, ranging from inner-ear infections to meningitis.

By consulting an ENT doctor, you can identify the root cause of the condition and take measures to help in its management.

Painless Swelling on the Neck (Lasting for more than 2 weeks)

A lump or swelling on the neck can be caused by benign reasons such as acne or could be the result of a serious condition including cancer.

Only a proper investigation and diagnosis can tell you the exact reasons for the swelling. And in this regard, it’s important to see an ENT doctor.

Breathing Difficulty

Finding it difficult to breathe? It could be the symptom of a serious underlying condition. Commonly, breathing difficulties occur due to a deviated nose or allergic inflammation of tissues in the nose, they also are a result of serious conditions such as Fungal sinusitis or cancer of the sinuses, infection in the chest, asthma, tuberculosis or even lung cancer.

Consulting an ENT doctor will help you find out the exact cause.

Persisting Cough (Lasting for more than 3 weeks)

Does a persisting cough pester you? The reason could be due to conditions ranging from throat problems like pharyngitis to serious conditions such as throat/eosphageal (food pipe)/lung cancer.

An ENT doctor can help you find the reason for the cough and provide relief.

Recurrent Nosebleeds

Recurrent nosebleeds are a nuisance more than a serious health problem, but it could also be the only symptom of cancer of the sinuses, therefore it would be unwise to rule out a serious condition wholly.

Consult your ENT doctor, if you face from constant nosebleeds.

Facial Pain/Headaches

The reason could be anything benign ranging from toothache to migraine or more serious conditions such a neurological disorder or brain cancer.

In case of facial pain or headaches, consulting your ENT doctor is the sure-fire way to understand the root cause.

Facial palsy, foreign objects in ear, nose, throat, injury, trauma, etc., are some of the conditions that need to be treated with a lot of attention and in a timely manner. Obviously, it takes an ENT doctor to help you with all these. Remember, never ignore anything that concerns your ear, nose, and throat, especially if the problem persists for a while.

Dr. Kalyan Chakravarthy, Consultant – E.N.T, Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, HSR Layout

Narayana Health

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