- The oral preparation stage is where the food or liquid is made ready for swallowing. In terms of food, this means chewing your food.
- Next is the oral stage where the tongue moves food or liquid to the back of the mouth. This starts the swallowing process.
- Then comes the pharyngeal stage, where the contents of the mouth go through the pharynx, throat, and esophagus.
- Last is the esophageal stage, where it transfers from the esophagus into your stomach.
- A constant feeling of something, either water or liquid, being stuck in the throat.
- Problems controlling saliva production, i.e. drooling.
- The sensation of a lump in the throat.
- Discomfort in the chest or throat.
- Coughing or choking when trying to swallow, drink, or eat. This is due to substances being pulled into the lungs.
- Difficulties sustaining a normal weight caused by swallowing interfering with nutritional intake.
- Tonsillitis or throat infections
- Scarring or damage to the esophagus
- Medication side effects
- Tumors in the lungs, esophagus, or throat
- Nerve diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Frequent earache
- Recurring ear infections
- Drainage of foul liquid from the ear, possibly bloody
- Hearing loss
- Ear feelings stuffy or full
- People seem to be talking very quietly all the time
- You find it difficult to follow along in conversations
- Higher pitched sounds, like alarm clocks or birds, are harder to hear
- Words with higher frequency consonants like f, t, s, p, and h are difficult to distinguish
- You frequently ask people to repeat themselves
If you are having trouble breathing or have recurrent sinus infections, you may also have nasal polyps. Nasal polyps are noncancerous growths which hang down from the walls of your nasal passages or sinuses. You are at greater risk of having nasal polyps if you have:
Asthma or allergies
Allergic fungal sinusitis
Recurring sinus infections
If you are at greater risk of forming nasal polyps, there is a lot you can do to prevent them. Remember to:
Get treatment to manage asthma and allergies and prevent inflammation of your nasal passages and sinuses.
Avoid tobacco smoke, fumes, dust, and allergens to prevent nasal irritation.
Wash your hands frequently to prevent transmission of virus and bacteria which can cause infection.
Use a humidifier to moisten the air in your home which keeps your nasal passages moist.
Use a saline solution to rinse your nasal passages and sinuses and to help remove irritating substances.
You may not experience any symptoms if you have small nasal polyps, however, larger nasal polyps can cause:
Loss of smell or taste
Headaches or facial pain
Chronic inflammation in your sinuses (sinusitis)
Frequent nasal or sinus infections
Snoring or sleep apnea
Fortunately there are effective treatments for nasal polyps. Your doctor may suggest:
Medications to shrink the size of the polyps or eliminate them; some common medications include:
Nasal corticosteroid spray to reduce inflammation
Injectable or oral corticosteroids in addition to spray
Antihistamines to reduce inflammation from allergies
Antibiotics to treat chronic sinus infections
For larger nasal polyps that don’t respond to treatment with medications, surgery might be indicated. Surgery is performed endoscopically using an endoscope with a camera attached which is inserted into your nostril and guided up your nasal passages into your sinuses. Tiny instruments are used to remove the polyps or other growths interfering with breathing.
Call your ENT today and start breathing better tomorrow!
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