Your throat, also called the pharynx transports food and fluids from your mouth into the esophagus and stomach for digestion. It also enables airflow to the windpipe and larynx. At this point in your life, you’re probably aware of what it’s like to have the occasional dry, or sore throat. Soreness is common during times of infection and illness. Yet sometimes the sensation is a sign of a throat disorder.
Throat disorders can significantly impact your ability to eat, swallow, and communicate. Without treatment, they can impair your capacity to live and enjoy life. When throat problems arise that are unresolvable with self-care or store-bought medicines, it’s beneficial to see an ENT specialist in California.
ENTs are professionals who specialize in ear, nose, and throat disorders. These doctors can provide the best treatment options for fast and long-term relief for infections, tumors, and common and not-so-common throat, airway, and throat conditions.
Below are some of the most common throat disorders problems California residents choose the ENTs at C/V ENT Surgical Group.
Acid Reflux or GERD
Often interchangeably referred to as heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease. The condition causes burning pain and discomfort in the neck, chest, and throat that arises from the gastric contents of the digestive system leaking and traveling up through the esophagus into the throat and mouth.
Causes inflammation of the tonsils. These lymphoid tissues help filter germs, viruses, and pathogens from the oral and throat cavities to prevent infection. When overwhelmed by pathogens, the tissues become irritated and swell, both hallmark signs of inflammation.
Tonsillitis infections can be acute or chronic and are primarily due to bacterial infections. Strep throat is a common culprit. Acute tonsillitis is treatable with prescription medications. But chronic tonsillitis often requires surgery to remove the diseased structures and eliminate infection and symptoms.
A disease commonly caused by group A streptococcus bacteria. The most notable symptoms of strep throat are a sore throat and fever that may even be accompanied by voice hoarseness.
Doesn’t just impact the nose. It also affects the throat. Many people who mouth breathe and snore, do so loudly through their throat, making it the loudest cause of snoring. Throat snoring is not something to ignore and is often indicative of obstructive sleep apnea, another throat condition that can be dangerous without timely treatment.
When normal swallowing function is impaired. It’s a common side effect of aging as the throat muscles become more relaxed over time, but there are other causes. Normal swallowing function is quite complex and occurs in stages: oral preparatory, oral propulsive, pharyngeal, and esophageal. When any of these phases are compromised by infection, disease, or dysfunction, swallowing liquids and foods becomes difficult and, sometimes, painful. Blockages can occur from food becoming dislodged in the throat. Also, choking is common when fluids end up in the airways instead of traveling down the throat.
Causes the muscles in the throat to become too relaxed and collapse during sleep, thus narrowing the channel. As the tissues fall into and obstruct the throat, breathing is interrupted. These short-term pauses in breathing occur multiple times during each sleeping session and can lead to additional and more severe health concerns if left untreated.
A small flap-like structure above the larynx that closes when swallowing to keep food and liquids from entering the trachea. The term is also used to diagnose swelling and inflammation of the structure primarily caused by bacteria. This structure becomes a medical emergency when infected because it prevents airflow through the windpipe. Epiglottis requires immediate treatment to prevent oxygen deprivation, cardiac arrest, and fatality.
A condition that causes narrowing of the subglottis, making it difficult to breathe. The most common symptoms are noisy and troublesome breathing. This structure is above the windpipe and underneath the vocal cords. Treatment is necessary to widen the passage to allow normal airflow to resume.
A condition that causes the airways to collapse when exhaling, causing shortness of breath. Tracheomalacia symptoms can either be mild or severe and life-threatening.
Causes inflammation of the larynx or voice box, usually after a viral infection. In most cases, treatment isn’t necessary. However, laryngitis caused by other medical conditions is associated with acute and chronic laryngeal symptoms and requires ENT treatment.
When throat disorders go untreated, they can lead to complications and additional conditions of the oral and nasal airways and even the ears. ENT treatment not only reduces symptom severity and duration by addressing the underlying cause but also restores function and health to improve overall well-being.
In many cases, medication and some lifestyle adjustments may be sufficient enough to resolve symptoms to promote proper healing and function. However, some conditions, such as dysphagia, tracheomalacia, and epiglottis, and those that develop from seemingly unrelated health issues like sinusitis, require surgery.
Because ENT specialists have a variety of treatments that range in invasiveness to help those living with throat or ear and nose issues, patient outcomes are better. Some of these surgical procedures can be performed in-office so patients can go home the same day to recover. Many patients are back up and running within the same day or several days later.
Most general and primary practitioners are not equipped or knowledgeable enough to handle the complexities of ear, nose, and throat conditions. Fortunately, the ENT doctors at C/V ENT Surgical Group are experts in the field and renowned for the quality of care they provide to patients in California. Anyone experiencing symptoms or functional issues of the ears, nose, or throat should opt for treatment by an ENT specialist in California.
If you suspect your discomfort or symptoms are related to any of the concerns listed above or something else, don’t hesitate to call our West Hills office at (818) 392-5631 or our Encino office at (818) 986-1200 today to set up an appointment.