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4 Common Throat Health Conditions Your ENT Can Treat

ent and his patient discussing treatment in white office

An ENT doctor deals with the ailments of the ear, nose and throat. This could be a condition you’ve developed suddenly, or something you’ve dealt with chronically over the years. There are four common throat issues that they will be able to assist you with, including:

1. Laryngitis 

The symptoms of acute laryngitis can start suddenly and usually worsen within two to three days. In most cases they will be relieved after this period of time and will pass after about a week. The main symptoms include:

  • A hoarse voice: This may remain for some time, even after the other symptoms have passed.
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Brown Body temperature above normal, but not significantly.
  • Headache
  • An annoying cough 
  • Constant need for clearing or clearing the throat.

This condition may worsen during the day, and indicates that the vocal cords are inflamed. In many cases sore throat is a disease that accompanies other symptoms such as colds, flu, tonsillitis or pharyngitis. Therefore, additional symptoms such as enlargement of the glands in the neck are sometimes felt, rhinitis, pain when swallowing and a general feeling of weakness. Laryngitis may also be infectious; in this case you will need antibiotics. 

2. Chronic sore throat

Long-term inflammation develops more slowly than acute inflammation and does not go away for weeks or months. It can cause permanent hoarseness of the vocal cords due to damage to the throat. Professional singers and teachers who improperly adopt the vocal cords are prone to experiencing a long-term sore throat.

An ENT will be able to pinpoint the cause of the sore throat, whether it’s inflammation, strep throat or acid reflux. Some throat problems could affect your breathing and therefore, the swelling in the throat can cause difficulty breathing.

This condition is rare in adults but can occur in infants and toddlers who have a narrower and smaller trachea than in adults. Narrowing of the trachea will lead to breathing difficulties and in this case one should immediately seek treatment from the attending physician.

3. Dysphagia

Dysphagia is a difficulty in swallowing that can cause many problems as well as a drastic drop in body weight, which will eventually lead to malnutrition. Difficulty swallowing describes a condition in which the patient has a delay or disturbance in the passage of food content swallowed from the mouth to the stomach, and therefore the patient needs more time and effort to transfer food to the stomach.

Sometimes swallowing is virtually impossible. An ENT will be able to assist with treatment to ensure the patient is comfortable. 

4. Salivary gland issues 

The salivary glands around the mouth are responsible for moisturizing and cleansing your mouth. Two are located on the sides of the face, near the auricle of the ear, two more are located below the angle of the jaw and the last two are located on the floor of the mouth. In addition, there are hundreds of small salivary glands scattered throughout the mouth and pharynx.

Salivary gland stones may cause issues which need to be dealt with. If you have swelling and tenderness, it may be due to a salivary gland issue, and your ENT will be able to detect this immediately. The stone is formed as a result of the accumulation of minerals, salts and bacteria within the salivary ducts. When the stone is large enough, it blocks the salivary duct and does not allow proper salivation of saliva from the gland.