Environmental allergy symptoms affect as much as one‐third of the US population and result in a significant decrease in quality of life and personal productivity. Symptoms may include nasal congestion, runny nose, post‐nasal drip, throat irritation, hoarseness, cough, and eye irritation. Specific allergies and sensitivities can be diagnosed through a simple blood test and can be treated effectively with medications to alleviate symptoms.
Difficulty breathing through the nose is a common problem and may result from either a structural or a functional issue. A deviation of the septum may be present from birth or may be the result of trauma. This may cause a blockage of either one or both nostrils. Allergies or environmental irritants may result in swelling of the lining of the nasal passages and cause obstruction. Nasal polyps or a mass may also block the nasal cavity and result in difficulty breathing. Obstruction may also be due to a combination of these issues and a thorough intranasal exam is usually needed to determine the cause and optimal treatment. Treatment may involve medications, surgery or a combination of both.
Recurrent nosebleeds may result from a variety of causes and can be worsened with certain medications which inhibit blood clotting (i.e. aspirin, Plavix, Lovenox and Coumadin). Many nosebleeds can be controlled with simple in‐office cauterization of the bleeding blood vessels. Severe bleeding may sometimes require packing to be placed. Recurrent bleeding should be evaluated thoroughly by an ENT with a full examination to rule-out any masses or polyps in the nose.
Sinus infections may result in a combination of symptoms, including headaches, colored nasal drainage and facial pain or pressure. Certain people may be predisposed to recurrent or chronic sinus infections due to allergies or an anatomical obstruction of the sinus drainage pathways. Appropriate medical or surgical treatment of the underlying cause can help to reduce the frequency and severity of these infections.