Patient Portal

Throat & Head Conditions

Adenoiditis

Adenoids are masses of tissue in the back of the throat that trap harmful germs that might pass through the nose or mouth. Additionally, the adenoids produce antibodies that help fight infections. When infected, they become inflamed and swollen in a condition called adenoiditis, most commonly seen in children. Symptoms include:

Symptoms include:

Adenoiditis is typically treated with antibiotics, but in cases of severe and chronic infection or breathing problems, surgery called adenoidectomy may be necessary.
Learn more about adenoid removal procedures at Westwood.

Cancer (Head and Neck)

Cancer might arise in several areas of the head and neck, including the nasal cavity and sinuses, lips and mouth, salivary glands, throat, or larynx. Westwood ENT specializes in head and neck cancer resulting from childhood radiation, but it can also be caused by alcohol and tobacco use, human papillomavirus (HPV), occupational exposure to harmful materials, among other things. Initial symptoms of head and neck cancer depend on the cancer's location.

Face Injuries

Facial trauma and scarring often are the result of physical activities or some sort of accident, most commonly car and motorcycle crashes, sports injuries, and wounds from violence. They can affect any area of the head, and while emergency care is sometimes needed, many injuries can actually be treated by an otolaryngologist. You will be able to tell that you have this condition if you are noticing:

A doctor will perform a physical exam, which could show things you might not be able to see, yourself, like:

The following may suggest bone fractures and require a CT scan of the head and bones of the face:

Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD)

Gastroesophageal reflux disease is a chronic digestive disease. It occurs when stomach acid or, occasionally, the contents of the stomach, flows backwards and gets into your esophagus (food pipe). The backwash, known as reflux, can irritate the lining of your esophagus thus causing the GERD. Signs and symptoms include:

Treatment for heartburn and other symptoms usually begins with over-the-counter medications which work to control acid. If you don't experience relief within a few weeks, come see us, as we may recommend other treatments, including other types of medications or surgery.

Laryngitis

Laryngitis occurs when the larynx is inflamed from overuse, irritation or infection, and causes hoarseness in your voice. Laryngitis can be acute (short-lived) or chronic. Most cases of laryngitis are only temporary and not serious, as they are simply triggered by a viral infection or strain on your voice (perhaps from shouting, singing, etc). However, if it continues for an extended period of time, it could be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. So how do you tell the difference?

Acute laryngitis that is caused by a virus usually gets better on its own within a week or so. Self-care measures (like gargling warm salt water, taking throat lozenges, or resting your voice for a while) tend to improve symptoms for this type of condition. On the other hand, if your condition is chronic, your treatment will be aimed at the underlying causes, like heartburn, smoking or excessive consumption of alcohol. Antibiotics or corticosteroids may be used in some of these cases.

Parathyroid Gland Disorder

Located on the thyroid gland in the neck, most people have four pea-sized glands, called parathyroid glands. These glands make parathyroid hormone (PTH), which helps your body keep the balance of calcium and phosphorous in check. If your parathyroid glands make too much or too little of this hormone, it disrupts the balance. If they secrete extra PTH, you have hyperparathyroidism, causing your blood calcium to rise. In many cases, a benign tumor on a parathyroid gland makes it overactive. The other common problem is that there could be extra hormones coming from enlarged parathyroid glands. A cause can be cancer, but it is very rare, so before you get nervous, see one of us.
Learn more about parathyroid disorder treatment at Westwood.

Snoring & Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a disorder that could potentially be serious due to the fact that your breathing repeatedly stops and starts. You may have sleep apnea if you snore loudly or you repeatedly feel tired even after getting a full night's sleep each night. There are two main types of sleep apnea: obstructive sleep apnea (the more common form that occurs when throat muscles relax) and central sleep apnea (when your brain doesn't send proper signals to the muscles that control breathing). For mild cases, a doctor may simply recommend lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or quitting smoking. If these measures don't improve your symptoms or if your apnea is more severe, of other treatments are available. There are certain devices you can get that can help open up a blocked airway, but in some cases, surgery may be necessary.
Learn more about snoring & sleep apnea treatments at Westwood.

Speech Disorders

Swallowing Disorder (Dysphagia)

Swallowing is a lot more of a complex and remarkable act that a healthy human body carries out than many people realize. If you are having difficulty swallowing, it means it is taking more time and effort to move your food or liquid from your mouth into to your stomach. Dysphagia may sometimes be associated with pain, or in some cases, swallowing may be impossible—these are more severe cases. If you have persistent dysphagia it may indicate a serious medical condition, so you should seek consult. Other symptoms could include feeling like food is stuck in your throat, causing you to cough or gag, as well as some drooling, hoarseness, or heartburn.
Learn more about swallowing disorder management at Westwood.

Thyroid Disorders

The thyroid gland plays a key role in many of your bodily systems, so having a healthy one is very important. With the hormones it produces, the thyroid gland influences almost all of your metabolic processes—it can effect weight, energy, and more. The most common thyroid problems involve abnormal production of thyroid hormones, as in too little or too much (hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Synthetic hormone medications can be given to replace the missing thyroid hormone in hypothyroidism. When it is a case of hyperthyroidism, medications can be used to decrease production of thyroid hormone or prevent it being released from the gland. Surgery can be used to remove a large goiter (lump) or a worrisome growth.
Learn more about thyroid disorder treatment at Westwood.

Tonsil Infection (Tonsillitis)

Tonsillitis is when your tonsils are inflamed. The tonsils are the two oval-shaped sections of tissue at the back of the throat (one on each side). Symptoms of tonsillitis include swollen tonsils, sore throat, difficulty swallowing, and tender lymph nodes in that area. Most cases are caused by infection from a common virus, but bacterial infections also can sometimes be a cause of it. If caused by a viral infection, it can usually only be treated using home remedies or over-the-counter drugs. It tends to resolve itself fairly quickly, within about a week. If your tonsillitis is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotics will probably be prescribed. Surgery to remove tonsils is not always necessary, although once a very common practice, since there has been a lot of success with medications. Only if your condition doesn't respond to other treatments or causes serious complications do you need to consider this option.
Learn more about tonsil removal procedures at Westwood.

Vocal Cord Disorders

Vocal Cord Dysfunction (VCD) occurs when the vocal cords don’t open correctly. It is sometimes confused with asthma because a number of the symptoms are similar (such as wheezing and difficulty breathing). The distinguishing factor lies in what is going on inside your body. With asthma, the airways tighten, making breathing difficult. With VCD, the vocal cord muscles tighten, which also makes breathing difficult, but unlike asthma, VCD is not an allergic response. It can also be confusing because many people with asthma have VCD as well. The treatment for VCD is very different than treatments used to manage asthma despite them having similar signs, so proper diagnosis is essential.