Throat issues are common, but the causes are different. If you got a sore throat, for example, it was most likely, caused by a viral infection.
Not every case is due to viral infections, though. Your condition may also be due to allergies, leaking of your stomach acids up the esophagus, or strep bacterial infection.
If you get a throat issue that persists for more than seven days, you may need to see a specialty doctor. An ENT specialist like Dr. Dennis Chua is, in this case, well-placed to diagnose and even treat the throat issue.
Your GP may also recommend an appointment with an ENT doctor if they suspect that your discomfort could be caused by something more serious. The purpose of the appointment with an ENT specialist, in this case, would be to either confirm a diagnosis or rule out some conditions.
What does an ENT do for Throat?
To begin with, an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor specializes in problems of the ears, nose, and throat. They can treat a wide range of conditions, including tonsillitis, enlarged/infected adenoids, vocal polyps, and even throat cancer.
Since they can also diagnose conditions of the ear, nose, and throat, visiting an ENT doctor would be your best bet if you have tried different OTC medications to manage your throat issues without any progress. Below, we’ve rounded up five instances when you should see an ENT specialist for throat issues.
You should see an ENT specialist for throat issues if;
You’ve suffered an Injury to your Throat
Most injuries requiring specialty doctors’ attention are treated as medical emergencies, so it would be best if you schedule an emergency appointment with a qualified ENT specialist if you’ve suffered a throat injury, suggests drdennischua.com. The doctor will examine the injury to ascertain its extent.
If needed, they may recommend surgery and medications to correct the damage and prevent infections. With that being said, if you suspect that you have sustained a throat injury, don’t wait until you cannot make any sound or speak. Some of the signs that may hint about a potential voice injury include; coughing blood, hoarseness persisting for more than seven days, noisy breathing, pain, and bruising on the neck.
If you get a Throat Infection
It may not be easy to determine when you get a throat infection outright. Nonetheless, there are essential indicators that should give you a hint about a possible throat infection.
Again, throat infections can be severe so, you should see your ENT specialist immediately if you suspect that you could be having a throat infection. Here are a few indicators you may need to look out for if you suspect that you could be having a throat infection; body aches, and persistent coughs stained with green, yellow, brown, or even clear mucus. The throat infection may also manifest itself through a congested or dry throat, enlarged glands in your neck or tonsils, fever and chills, hoarse throat, and body pain.
If you’ve Suffered Voice Loss
This condition is known as laryngitis. You will need a visit to an experienced ENT clinic to discover the cause of this complication.
Laryngitis symptoms may include hoarseness, weak voice or even voice loss, sore throat, dry coughs, dry throat, and tickling sensation in your throat. Your treatment may be aimed at relieving laryngitis symptoms and reducing the strain on your voice.
The treatment may also be targeted at the original cause of this condition. For instance, you may be given corticosteroids if your voice loss is due to inflamed vocal cords, etc.
What Happens at your First ENT Appointment for Throat?
Do note that not every ENT clinic is made equal; therefore, you will need to do a bit of due diligence when searching for a good doctor. As a general rule of thumb, be sure to check the specialist’s credentials.
Don’t forget about reputation as it would give you an insight into the quality of service in the facility. Finally, you may also need to confirm if they accept insurance payment (that’s if you want your medical insurance to cover the costs.) Here are some of the things that would happen at your first ENT appointment for throat.
A review of your Medical Health
The ENT specialist will take a complete record of your medical history. They will inquire about when you first got the symptoms and whether they’ve remained the same or worsened.
You may also be asked about a medical issue like past ailments. Be sure to give precise details to ensure an accurate diagnosis.
Depending on how you feel or the reason for your appointment, the ENT specialist may need to visually and physically examine your throat. In physically examining your throat, the doctor will have a thorough feel of your neck.
This may extend to other regions like behind your ears and on the jawline. In visually examining you, the ENT specialist will also do a mouth exam where you will be required to open your mouth and move your tongue to each side and upwards.
The ENT doctor may also use a medical instrument known as the endoscope to look into your throat. This procedure is known as throat endoscopy.
The ENT specialist will insert the tool into your throat to examine it. Depending on your medical history or symptoms, the doctor may need to pass other tools through a small channel inside the endoscope to gather tissue samples for biopsy.
To minimize discomfort, you may be given an (IV) anesthetic treatment. They may also numb your throat using an anesthetic spray.
Alternatively, they may give you a liquid anesthetic which you will need to gargle. Finally, they will insert a mouthpiece in your mouth to hold it open during this exam.
Depending on these exam results, the doctor may inform you that you do not require further investigations. Alternatively, you may need additional exams where they may advise that you revisit the clinic to take blood samples or to do an ultrasound exam of your neck.
You can always schedule appointments with an ENT doctor if you have a nagging throat issue. If you’d want the treatments to be covered by insurance, you may need to get referral information from you primary doctor.