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ENT diseases and health

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5 Ways to Treat Nasal Polyps at Home

Nasal polyps are growths located in the interior part of nostrils and the nasopharyngeal cavity. The cause is unknown and is commonly associated with other diseases like allergic rhinitis, asthma, sinusitis and some upper respiratory tract infections.

 

These growths are benign but there are several studies that point to cases of malignant tumors developing from the polyps. In severe cases, the number of polyps becomes significant enough to cause breathing problems and will need surgical removal.

 

The following is a list of things you can do at home to reduce your chances of developing nasal polyps, and if you have one, what remedies you can do to ease the discomfort associated with the disease.

 

 

1.Over-the-counter corticosteroids.

Depending on the state you live in, your doctor may prescribe over-the-counter corticosteroids to help you breathe easier. These work by reducing the size of the nasal polyps, freeing up room for air to pass in the nasal cavity.

 

The best time to take corticosteroids would be at night, or simply follow the instructions provided in the prescription. Corticosteroids dampen the immune system and also reduce inflammation and swelling.

 

 

2.Nasal sprays.

Nasal sprays provide quick relief for obstructed nasal airways. They work by reducing the inflammation and swelling. Some nasal sprays also come with a mint scent that should give a cooling sensation.

 

Nasal sprays can have a solution of corticosteroids or decongestants or both. Be careful in using nasal sprays, as some health experts have identified a possible side effect of the overuse of nasal sprays called rebound congestion.

 

 

3.Steam therapy.

Steam therapy is also a good choice for people with nasal polyps. The steam will provide moisture to the dry and clogged environment inside the nasal cavity. This should facilitate an easier time breathing.

 

Some essential oils can also be added in the water while doing a steam therapy. Eucalyptus, lavender, and chamomile all have calming effects and should make your steam therapy experience a better one.

 

 

4.Cayenne pepper.

And no, you’re not supposed to inhale cayenne pepper because it will irritate your lungs. Instead, you can include cayenne pepper in your diet. The warmth that capsaicin (the primary compound that produces the spicy sensation) causes will help your body produce mucus.

 

Mucus works as a lubricant and in nasal polyps, this will help the polyps reposition to allow you to breathe. It’s also the main reason why you clear your throat after eating spicy food because it also acts as bronchodilator and  vasodilator (both of which means to dilate lung airways and blood vessels).

 

 

5.Antihistamines.

The drug used for treating the symptoms of allergies is also the same for nasal polyps. It has a similar action to corticosteroids and helps reduce swelling. Antihistamines don’t suppress the immune system as strongly as steroids so people with nasal polyps can opt for a Benadryl instead.

 

 

Did you find the information useful? If so, continue reading our posts.

 

For details of the ENT services, diagnosis, and treatment, please consult our ENT specialist.

 

 

Source:

HK ENT Specialist Ltd.

Hong Kong based ENT clinic centre

For ENT Services, Audiology & Speech Therapy,

Sleep Disordered Breathing Management,

Hearing Aid Prescription & Medical Cosmetic Services

http://www.hkentspecialist.hk

6 Foods That Can Cause Reflux Esophagitis

Esophagitis is a secondary complication of GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease. Esophagitis develops due to the combined action of stomach acids constantly eroding the epithelial lining and opportunistic bacterial infections.

 

It’s very important that people should avoid foods that aggravate the inflammation. In today’s article, we’re going to list the top food items that can worsen esophagitis and why you should avoid them.

 

1.Coffee.

Most people start their day with coffee but for the unlucky people with GERD, it’s not advised. Coffee has a lower pH and that means it’s more acidic. In addition to being acidic, caffeine also promotes the production of gastric acids than can further irritate the esophageal lining.

 

 

2.Chocolate.

Chocolate candies and bars also contain significant amounts of caffeine. It’s a dietary exclusion for people with GERD and peptic ulcers as it works in the same way caffeine does.

 

Chocolate is basically a drug cocktail and contains substances that alter the nervous system’s normal functioning. It helps the brain stimulate the production of endorphins, serotonins, and dopamines (also colloquially known as “feel good” hormones). These hormones inhibit smooth muscle contraction, and if the esophageal sphincter fails to constrict properly, stomach acids can damage the esophagus which can lead to further inflammation.

 

 

3.Tomatoes.

Eating spaghetti or any pasta with tomato sauce in it can worsen cases of esophagitis. Tomatoes have both alkaline and acidic compounds and despite not being related to oranges, it contains substantial amounts of citrus acids.

 

 

4.Eggs.

Eggs are naturally alkaline foods and should help reduce the frequency of esophagitis. But they’re also rich in proteins and any food rich in protein will likely cause increased acid production.

 

Proteins induce strong acid production in the stomach because they’re resistant to being dissolved. Eggs also contain A LOT of fatty compounds, which also belong in the same category with protein in terms of inducing acid production.

 

 

5.Salty food.

Salty food may seem innocent in the eyes of people with GERD and esophagitis but slt has an unusual interaction in the stomach that can lead to a case of esophagitis.

 

Salt draws water from its surroundings and if there is enough sodium present in the stomach, it will start drawing out the water from the cells that make up the lining of the stomach and esophagus. To restore the naturally low pH of the stomach, parietal cells produce more hydrochloric acid which can trigger ulcers, heartburn, and esophagitis.

 

 

6.Mints.

A mint or two to help the mouth smell less unpleasant after a drinking session is actually a bad idea for people with esophagitis. People with esophagitis and GERD should not be drinking alcohol in the first place.

 

Alcohol does a good job in dehydrating the body’s first response is to vomit excess amounts of the toxin. The combination of vomiting, the corrosiveness of alcohol, and stomach acids will increase the likelihood of developing esophagitis. And did we also forget to tell you about the bacteria?

 

Bacteria may become opportunistic when not in their usual habitat. In this case, gut bacteria that proliferate in the esophagus can lead to an infection and inflammation.

 

 

Did you find the information useful? If so, continue reading our posts.

 

For details of the ENT services, diagnosis, and treatment, please consult our ENT specialist.

 

 

Source:

HK ENT Specialist Ltd.

Hong Kong based ENT clinic centre

For ENT Services, Audiology & Speech Therapy,

Sleep Disordered Breathing Management,

Hearing Aid Prescription & Medical Cosmetic Services

http://www.hkentspecialist.hk

5 Tips To Follow To Avoid Nasopharyngeal Cancer

We’ve talked about how certain types of foods or activities cause throat cancer and general types of cancer.

 

Nasopharyngeal cancer is one of the many types of cancer associated with the ENT (ears, nose, and throat). It’s also one of the rarest types and only occurs in 1 out of 100,000 individuals. The risk associated with developing nasopharyngeal cancer increases with age and can happen at any age.

 

Today, we’re going to list some of the things you can do to avoid nasopharyngeal cancer.

 

1.Quit smoking!

Although there have been no studies directly linking nasopharyngeal  cancer to tobacco use, quitting smoking has a lot of benefits. This also reduces your risk for other types of cancer that may develop complications or metastasize to different areas of your body, including the back of your throat.

 

 

2.Reduce alcohol intake.

There is a study that confirmed the role of alcohol in causing multitude types of cancer by direct physical contact alone. Alcohol coming into contact with epithelial cells increases their chances of mutating and spreading.

 

Since nasopharyngeal cancer is so rare, not much study has been focused on its relationship to alcohol intake. This does not mean alcohol is ruled out, as several studies have pointed out that alcohol certainly causes a lot of other types of cancers, of which its severity matches that of smoking.

 

 

3.Limit the consumption of cured meats.

Nasopharyngeal cancer has higher incidence rates in parts of the world where a staple of their diet includes cured meat or fish. Nasopharyngeal cancer affects more Chinese and individuals from South East Asia.

 

Studies in the UK also revealed that immigrants of Chinese descent still had the same probability of developing nasopharyngeal cancer, and have attributed the cause to cured or dried fish. Compounds called nitrates or nitrites which form during the curing process are known to have mutagenic effects on human cells.

 

 

4.Don’t neglect allergic rhinitis.

It turns out this harmless illness causing thousands of people unnecessary discomfort can increase one’s chances of developing nasopharyngeal cancer. A study conducted in Taiwan revealed that people who have had more than four visits to a clinic for their rhinitis complaints had more chances of developing nasopharyngeal cancer.

 

They determined the probable cause was due to chronic and repeated nasal inflammation that resulted in epithelial cells mutating and developing into cancerous types. Don’t forget to take your antihistamines!

 

 

5.Eating more fruits and vegetables.

We’ve heard of this so many times before and it’s become a cliche but it still holds true. By doing the exact opposite of what’s causing NPC, an individual has lesser chances of developing the disease.

 

The way it works is that a steady supply of much needed vitamins and minerals keep cells healthier. Cells only function at their best if the DNA is resistant to disintegration or mutation. Vegetables or fruits have the necessary compounds to maintain the structural integrity of the DNA, decreasing the chances of developing any type of cancer, NPC included.

 

Did you find the information useful? If so, continue reading our posts.

 

For details of the ENT services, diagnosis, and treatment, please consult our ENT specialist.

 

 

Source:

HK ENT Specialist Ltd.

Hong Kong based ENT clinic centre

For ENT Services, Audiology & Speech Therapy,

Sleep Disordered Breathing Management,

Hearing Aid Prescription & Medical Cosmetic Services

http://www.hkentspecialist.hk

6 Everyday Things You’re Doing That May Cause Throat Cancer

1。Smoking

It comes to no surprise that one of the major causes of throat cancer is smoking. There are 70 carcinogens present in a cigarette stick. These are few in comparison to the total number of chemicals present which amount to 4000. Some active components in cigarettes that directly cause cancer are arsenic, benzene, cadmium, formaldehyde, nickel, lead, acetaldehyde, isoprene, and styrene. Some of these compounds are used for preservation of artifacts, ingredients for cleaning agents, and materials used for making packaging products.

 

 

2。Drinking Alcohol

The American Cancer Society attributes a raised risk for nasopharyngeal or throat cancer to drinking alcohol. It’s also known to cause other types of cancer. The byproducts of alcohol found in beer and wine include acetaldehyde, which is a compound also found in tobacco products. Acetaldehyde damages DNA and may be a precursor for cancer cells. Alcohol coming in direct contact with cells at the throat can cause them to mutate into cancer cells.

 

 

3。Eating Red Meat, Fish and Eggs

A study published in the International Journal of Cancer found out that consumption of meat and poultry products increased the risk for head and neck cancer. The strongest candidate for nasopharyngeal cancer was fish, specifically those cooked in Cantonese-style. Eggs have high cholesterol content that promote the production of secondary sex hormones which can cause cancer that may metastasize to the throat.

 

 

4。Staying indoors too long

This might seem impossible but staying indoors can actually cause you to develop throat cancers. The culprit behind it is a chemical called radon. This odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas leaks from all over your house! This is because radon is stored in tiny pockets inside rocks or granite, which is a common construction material for buildings and houses. It works exactly the same way as alcohol, and causes mutagenic changes to the throat cells upon inhalation. It’s a wake up call to get out more often.

 

 

5。Using lip balm

If you’re a fan of beauty products, or are simply using the occasional chapstick during dry weather, then you may be surprised to find out your lip balm or chapstick have compounds known to cause oral and throat cancers. The ingredient responsible for the higher risk of throat cancer is called benzophenone, and can be found in sunglasses, food packaging, and other household items.

 

 

6。Drinking soda

It’s not just the high amount of sugar that can potentially cause metabolic disorders and increase your risk for cancer. Drinking soda raises your stomach’s acid and can potentially cause gastroesophageal reflux disease (or GERD) that can be a precursor for throat, stomach, and colon cancer. The gagging and vomiting that results from GERD will damage your esophageal lining. A damaged esophagus is usually a candidate for throat cancers.

 

 

Did you find the information useful? If so, continue reading our posts.

 

 

For details of our ENT services, diagnosis, and treatment, please consult our ENT specialist.

 

 

Source:

HK ENT Specialist Ltd.

Hong Kong based ENT clinic centre

For ENT Services, Audiology & Speech Therapy,

Sleep Disordered Breathing Management,

Hearing Aid Prescription & Medical Cosmetic Services

http://www.hkentspecialist.hk

A Ruptured Eardrum Is a Serious Condition!

Think of a drum with a hole in the middle and it can be likened to a ruptured eardrum – it’s a serious condition that will likely need prompt and proper attention!  But where a ruptured drum cannot make sound, a ruptured eardrum cannot receive sound.

 

Also known as tympanic membrane perforation, a ruptured eardrum is a tear or a hole in the eardrum. This is the thin tissue separating the ear canal from the middle ear.  It’s as serious as it sounds – it can result in hearing loss and it can increase the risk of infections in the middle ear.

 

Well, we have to be honest. Some cases of ruptured eardrums will heal without medical treatment, usually within a few weeks. But there are some cases that will require medical intervention, usually in the form of surgery, for the ruptured eardrum to heal.

 

The Risks of an Untreated Ruptured Eardrum

 

The tympanic membrane, or the eardrum, has two major roles:

  • It’s essential in the sense of hearing. When sound waves strike your eardrum, it translates them onto nerve impulses.
  • It’s important in protecting your middle ear from foreign objects, such as water, and foreign organisms like bacteria.

 

As such, a ruptured eardrum can cause complications like:

  • Hearing loss, which may only be temporary but can worsen without proper treatment. The degree of hearing loss is influenced by the size and location of the hole.
  • Otitis media, or middle ear infection, since bacteria can now enter the ear. The infection can be recurrent or chronic, and it can cause hearing loss and persistent drainage.
  • Cholesteatoma, or middle ear cyst, an extremely rare condition. It’s characterized by the accumulation of skin cells and other ear canal debris on the middle ear. It’s a place that promotes bacterial growth and contains proteins resulting in damage to the bones in the middle ear, too.

 

These complications can happen within three to six months after the rupture occurs.

 

The Signs to Look Out for

 

But don’t wait for three months before seeing your ENT doctor! If you experience these signs, you should immediately set an appointment to get a definitive diagnosis.

  • Pain in the ear that may quickly subside
  • Drainage from your ear, which looks like pus, mucus or blood
  • Loss of hearing
  • Vertigo, or a spinning sensation
  • Tinnitus, or a phantom ringing, hissing or buzzing in your ears
  • Nausea and/or vomiting accompanying the vertigo

 

You should avoid putting pressure on your external ear, much less putting foreign objects into it, such as using cotton buds. You’re only worsening the injury otherwise. You can ask your ENT doctor about the best ways to deal with these symptoms while waiting for your appointment.

 

Antibiotics are usually the first line of defense for perforated eardrums. But surgery may be necessary, too, and it comes in the form of an eardrum patch or a tympanoplasty.

 

For details of our ENT services, diagnosis, and treatment, please consult HK ENT specialist.

 

 

Source:

HK ENT Specialist Ltd.

Hong Kong based ENT clinic centre

For ENT Services, Audiology & Speech Therapy,

Sleep Disordered Breathing Management,

Hearing Aid Prescription & Medical Cosmetic Services

https://www.hkentspecialist.hk

The Connection Between Hearing Loss and Mental Health

Many mental health disorders, such as schizophrenia, are characterized by hearing phantom voices. Hearing impairments, in contrast, are characterized by the partial or full loss of the sense of hearing. There are cases, nonetheless, when phantom sounds are heard, too, as is the case with tinnitus but it isn’t considered a mental health issue.

 

So what then is the connection between hearing loss and mental health? In summary, hearing loss and tinnitus have been shown to increase the risk of mental illnesses! These include anxiety, depression and schizophrenia, as well as trigger disturbing periods of suicidal ideation and extreme anger.

 

Depression and Hearing Loss

In a study published in JAMA Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery, researchers found that more than 11% of the adult participants who reported hearing impairment also experienced symptoms of moderate to severe depression. In contrast, only 5.9% of the participants with typical hearing reported being depressed.

 

The results aren’t exactly surprising considering that hearing loss can make affected individuals feel socially awkward, if not socially inept, because of their inappropriate reactions during conversations.  They may respond with inappropriate answers to questions they haven’t heard well but are too shy to be repeated. They may talk off-topic, or talk too loud to compensate for the hearing loss, or talk too little to avoid embarrassment.

 

Such struggles can eventually lead to a feeling of isolation that, in turn, feeds on depression. The more a person with hearing impairments feel isolated, the more likely the depression. Of course, there are other risk factors for depression but hearing loss can contribute to the increased risk.

 

Schizophrenia and Hearing Loss

Several studies have also pointed to the connection between schizophrenia and hearing loss. Schizophrenia, a serious mental disorder, is characterized by the abnormal interpretations of reality as well as by delusions, hallucinations and extremely disordered behaviors. Sadly, these symptoms have negative effects on daily functioning and quality of life.

 

The connection between these two conditions is supported by the social defeat hypothesis wherein feelings of loneliness and social exclusion predisposes high-risk individuals to schizophrenia. Such predisposition is underlined by the increased sensitization of the body’s dopamine system.

 

People with hearing impairments can feel social isolation, as previously noted, and social defeat. Emphasis must be made, nonetheless, that not all people with hearing loss will develop schizophrenia since there are other risk factors for the mental disorder. In the same way, not all schizophrenic patients have hearing impairments.

 

Hearing impairments are an invisible disability in the sense that these are either ignored or unnoticed by the affected persons. This can also be said for mental illness, especially as there’s a deep-seated stigma against depression and schizophrenia even in modern times.

 

But it’s crucial to look beyond the stigma and into the possible treatments for both hearing loss and mental health disorders! If you have issues with either of these conditions, you should seek professional help as soon as possible.

 

For details of the ENT services, diagnosis, and treatment, please consult HK ENT specialist.

 

 

 

 

Source:

HK ENT Specialist Ltd.

Hong Kong based ENT clinic centre

For ENT Services, Audiology & Speech Therapy,

Sleep Disordered Breathing Management,

Hearing Aid Prescription & Medical Cosmetic Services

https://www.hkentspecialist.hk

The Surgical Options for Children with Microtia

Unfortunately, microtia isn’t only about the atypical size and shape of the earlobe. Parents and pediatricians are more concerned about the partial or full hearing loss children with microtia will experience. Emphasis must be made that hearing loss has adverse effects on speech and language development, as well as on personal interactions.

 

The good news is that there are more than a few surgical options for the treatment of microtia. You and your child’s pediatric surgeon will discuss the risks and rewards of these options. You have to remember, too, that surgery may not yet be an option for your child, such as when he’s too young for it.

 

Rib Cartilage Graft Surgery

This is possibly the most complicated surgical treatment for microtia since it involves several procedures over several months, sometimes up to a year. Due to the possible complications, it’s only recommended for older children, usually between 8 and 10 years old.

 

Basically, rib cartilage is harvested from the patient’s chest. It’s then used in creating the shape of the external ear before being implanted under the skin where the ear should have been present.  But the process doesn’t stop there.

 

More skin grafts and surgeries may be performed in addition to the new cartilage. These surgeries are done to ensure better positioning of the external ear.

 

The pros of rib cartilage graft surgery is that rib cartilage from the patient is less likely to be rejected by his body and it’s a sturdier material. But there may be pain, discomfort and scarring in the grafting site.

 

Medpor Graft Surgery

The Medpor graft surgery involves lesser number of times under the knife and younger age of patients than rib cartilage graft surgery. Basically, a synthetic material is implanted into the external ear to mimic its form and function. It’s then covered by scalp tissue, a way of achieving a more natural appearance.

 

It’s usually completed in a single session so children are less traumatized by the procedure. In fact, children as young as 3 years old are suitable candidates.

 

The results are more consistent since the synthetic material can be manipulated than a rib graft. But there are also risks to the Medpor graft surgery including the higher risk of infection. Children are also more likely to lose the implant due to physical trauma or injury.

 

There’s also the matter of pediatric surgeons either not offering or performing Medford graft surgery because the length of time that the implant lasts isn’t established yet.  But if your pediatric surgeon can perform it, you may want to consider it.

 

If these two surgical options aren’t viable or successful for any reason, you may want to consider ear prosthetics. These look natural and, in fact, can be made based on the size of the normal ear. These can also be attached through an implanted anchor system or worn with a skin-friendly adhesive.

 

If you would like to learn more about microtia and its surgical options for children, please consult HK ENT specialist.

 

 

 

Source:

HK ENT Specialist Ltd.

Hong Kong based ENT clinic centre

For ENT Services, Audiology & Speech Therapy,

Sleep Disordered Breathing Management,

Hearing Aid Prescription & Medical Cosmetic Services

https://www.hkentspecialist.hk

Interesting Findings About Microtia That Pregnant Women May Want to Know

Pregnant women typically seesaw between being happy about their unborn babies and worrying about their babies’ health. Their concerns aren’t unfounded considering that congenital defects form within the womb, and these congenital defects can range from physical abnormalities to mental retardation.

 

Among these physical abnormalities are undeveloped external ears, a condition known as microtia. But it isn’t just the atypical size and shape of the earlobes that characterize microtia – it’s also characterized by hearing loss.

 

Are you intrigued by microtia yet? If you are, you will find these interesting findings about microtia in unborn babies and infants.

 

Its Cause Remains a Mystery

Scientists have yet to identify a specific cause of microtia. But there are a few theories including malfunctions in a gene located in chromosome 22.

 

The interplay of genetics and environment in the development of microtia in the womb is also not fully understood yet. In current medical literature, between 3 and 34 percent of patients with microtia have a genetic component.

 

Scientists, nonetheless, have confirmed that neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2), an autosomal dominant disorder, is a risk factor in microtia. If one parent has NF2, his or her children will have a 50-50 chance of getting microtia.

 

Yet another possible, but unconfirmed risk factor, is the use of isotretinoin, an anti-acne medication. Isotretinoin (Accutane) can result in a pattern of congenital defects believed to be a combination of genes and environmental factors.

 

It’s More Common in Some Areas

There are no generally accepted theories for why microtia has a higher incidence rate in Latin America, particularly Ecuador, and Asia than in other areas of the world. If you are in these areas, you may want to talk to your doctor about decreasing the risks of your unborn child getting congenital defects.

 

Boys also seem to be more affected by microtia than girls although both genders will experience similar signs and symptoms. The right ear also seems to be more affected than the left ear, but a small percentage of children with microtia will have it in both ears (i.e., bilateral microtia).

 

It Can Occur with Other Conditions

Microtia can also occur with other distinct medical conditions. The three more common conditions are:

 

  • Treacher Collins syndrome (TCS) is a genetic disorder characterized by physical abnormalities eyes, ears and cheekbones, as well as the chin.
  • Hemifacial microsomia (HFM) is a congenital disorder affecting the proper development of the ears, mouth and mandible.
  • Goldenhar syndrome causes physical defects in the face and head. It’s a rare congenital disease.

 

There are also maternal behaviors and conditions that can increase the risk of microtia in unborn babies. Women with diabetes before their pregnancy have been shown to have higher risk compared to women without diabetes. Pregnant women on a diet characterized by low levels of folic acid and carbohydrates also seem to have an increased risk for their babies developing microtia.

 

If you would like to learn more about microtia and its treatment, please consult HK ENT specialist.

 

 

 

Source:

HK ENT Specialist Ltd.

Hong Kong based ENT clinic centre

For ENT Services, Audiology & Speech Therapy,

Sleep Disordered Breathing Management,

Hearing Aid Prescription & Medical Cosmetic Services

https://www.hkentspecialist.hk

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