Tonsillitis is inflammation and infection of the tonsils which is caused either by viruses or bacteria. Tonsils are situated at the back of the throat and are part of the lymphatic system. The condition may be treated with antibiotics if the tonsillitis is caused by bacteria, if the condition is caused by a virus, anti-inflammatory and pain medication may be introduced. Dr Shahidi may suggest a throat swab to diagnose whether the infection has been caused by bacteria or a virus. The symptoms of tonsillitis include a sore throat, fever, swollen lymph glands, pain in swallowing and red, swollen tonsils with white or yellow pus. Secondary infections can sometimes spread to the nose, sinuses and ears. Tonsils may be surgically removed in a procedure called a tonsillectomy. It may become necessary if there is a high frequency of throat infections and particularly if there is a degree of airway obstruction caused by enlarged tonsils. In children enlarged tonsils can lead to snoring and airway blockage. Tonsillectomy may also be suggested where there is abnormally enlarged one sided tonsils to exclude a cancerous growth. Dr Shahidi will examine the throat to determine the appropriate treatment and this may include a tonsillectomy.
Vocal Cord Check
Vocal cords are situated deep in the throat in the voice box or larynx. During speaking the vocal cords partially close as air passes through them. They create vibrations and this produces sound or the voice. Various voice disorders exist that include polyps and nodules, vocal cord paralysis, paradoxical vocal fold movement and spasmodic dysphonia. For most of these disorders resting the vocal cords may be necessary and for chronic voice disorders, surgery, voice therapy and medicines may be required or a combination of all three. Dr Shahidi will examine the vocal cords to determine the appropriate treatment.
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Snoring is caused when a part of the throat call the pharynx vibrates during sleep. The pharynx is directly behind the tongue and during sleep the small muscles that hold the pharynx and tongue open relax and cause the narrowing of this area leading to the soft palate and pharynx to vibrate, the sound produced by these vibrations is snoring. Sometimes the narrowing of the oropharynx causes blockage to the airway during sleep and this leads to sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious medical condition that can lead to other serious health concerns such as hypertension and heart disease. Most patients with sleep apnea feel tired and listless after a night’s sleep and they can sometimes fall asleep during the day or during other activities such as driving. This can lead to a serious accident.
There are many reasons why people snore but the most common are being overweight, breathing through the mouth, sleeping on the back and alcohol and some medications will also increase the chances of snoring. Allergies, smoking and hay fever can also make snoring worse. Some people are born with smaller airways than normal and therefore have a higher chance of snoring. There are various treatments for snoring and these include oral appliances that are worn between the teeth while sleeping. This pushes the lower jaw forward which allows for a wider airway. Surgery is also an alternative and may work for some people. Men tend to snore more than women and middle aged people are most likely to snore. Dr Shahidi will examine the patient to determine an appropriate treatment.