The Throat & Tonsils

This section of London ENT Unit focuses on the throat and tonsils and the various conditions associated with this.



Throat Conditions

Tonsillitis:

This is an inflammation of the tonsils – two small glands that sit on either side of the throat – normally caused by a viral or, less commonly, a bacterial infection. It normally strikes children, teenagers and young adults who experience symptoms such as sore throat, coughing, headache and difficulty swallowing. If the symptoms are severe or last more than four days then consult a GP. A tonsillectomy, a procedure to remove the tonsils, is a safe surgical treatment but is only usually recommended after several episodes of the condition over a prolonged period. Read more about tonsil stones and how we can help with treatment.

Tonsil Stones:

Tonsil Stones, or Tonsilloliths is a common condition that can cause unpleasant bad breath. White lumps are produced from the cracks, crevices and fissures of the tonsils where food becomes trapped. Over time, through movement, the food becomes squashed together to create white lumps which eventually move to the surface. Read more about tonsil stones and how we can help with treatment.

Catarrh

The symptoms of catarrh is translatable into several different meanings – from blocked nose and sinus pains, to throaty symptoms, tickly cough and post nasal drip, lump in throat sensation, continuous throat clearing and phlegm. All can be treated by our specialist ENT Laser. Read more about catarrh and the treatment options available.

Laryngitis:

An inflammation of the voice box, or larynx, which normally improves over a week. It causes a sore throat, mild fever, irritating cough and difficulty speaking. It is often linked to colds, flu or tonsillitis and have similar symptoms.

Risks can be reduced by avoiding people with respiratory infections, avoid irritants such as smoke and dust, having the annual flu vaccine – if recommended by your GP – and following good personal hygiene.

Snoring:

Snoring is caused by the soft palate and tissue in the mouth, nose or throat vibrating. Around one in four people in the UK snore and it impacts little on their lives but it can sometimes be a marker for the serious condition obstructive sleep apnoea where airways can become repeatedly blocked for up to ten seconds during the night. It can severely disrupt sleep and damage quality of life

The likelihood of snoring is increased by being overweight, smoking and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. Lifestyle changes are recommended first followed by anti-snoring devices such as mouth guards and nasal strips. Surgery is regarded as a last resort.

Thyroidectomy:

A surgical procedure to remove all or part of the thyroid gland if it develops a lump that could be cancerous. It is also performed on an overactive thyroid gland which has not responded to medication. The thyroid, which is positioned at the front of the neck, produces hormones that influence heart rate and body temperature.


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