FAQ


Answers to some of our most frequently asked questions are included here.  Choose a section below to most closely match the question you are looking for:


Appointments

Apart from Medicare and your insurance information, you should also bring the following:

  • Drivers License or a valid ID
  • Insurance information
  • Referral Letter (if required)
  • Imaging Reports such as CT scan, MRI report, PET scan etc and any other relevant information
  • List of medications (if any)
  • Medical Records from family physician, ER visit or urgent care (if applicable)

Check with your medical insurance or you can contact us and we will let you know. Most patients do NOT require a referral so if you are unsure just ask us.

Being well-prepared for your appointment will ensure that the doctor has all of the needed information to provide the best possible care for you. It also will help relieve any unnecessary anxiety you may be feeling. Educate yourself on your symptoms by reviewing the content on this website. Also, take some time to review our staff page and familiarize yourself with our doctor. We look forward to your first visit.

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Insurance

Our office accepts a variety of insurance plans. Please call our office to verify acceptance of your insurance carrier. If you have no insurance or we are not in-network with your insurance, we offer an indigent assistance program. Please call us to learn more.

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Medical Records

Your medical file is handled with the utmost respect for your privacy. Our staff are bound by strict confidentiality requirements as a condition of employment regarding your medical records. Ordinarily, we will not release the contents of your medical file without your consent.

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Nasal & Sinus

Q (con't): I have never had any allergies.

A: Besides possibly being a purely mental experience, there are plenty of reasons you could be smelling something funky:

  • Nasal Polyps – Essentially inflamed tissue inside your nose. Caused by anything from physical damage to other sinus problems they can grow to be quite large. Because they are a physical blockage, nasal polyps can cause your mucous to get backed up. After a while, this mucous can start to stink.
  • Sinus InfectionsKnown as Sinusitis, this can certainly cause your sense of smell to go awry. When the cavities in your cheeks, forehead and nose start to hurt and you begin to feel congestion, you can bet an infection is at play. Sometimes though, a sinus infection can be self-contained and it can be very hard to spot symptoms. If left unchecked your olfactory nerves can become damaged causing smells.
  • Post-nasal drip – When your nasal mucosa makes too much of the sticky stuff, it can start to drip down the back of the nose and throat. Mucous can start to smell after a while and when you’re dealing with post-nasal drip you tend to accumulate a lot of it.
  • Tooth decay – Believe it or not, poor oral health can actually generate smells. Rotting in your teeth or halitosis can actually manifest as a smell. It may be out of left-field but it’s a definite possibility.

Q:

I have been taking a decongestant and over the counter remedies for my sinus problems. In the past week I’ve noticed a pressurized pain in the center of my face and at times feel also fullness in my nasal cavities. Is this normal? And, should I seek help?

A: When we think of a stuffy or congested nose, we often view mucus as the prime culprit. However, in most cases, the nose becomes congested when the tissues lining it become swollen, causing inflamed blood vessels.

Nasal congestion can affect hearing and speech. Significant congestion may interfere with sleep and can often be the root cause for sleep apnea.

A stuffy nose is usually caused by a virus or bacteria. Causes include:

  • Common cold
  • Flu
  • Sinus infection

Though many forms of congestion typically go away by themselves within a week, in more severe instances, further measures may need to be taken.

When we think of a stuffy or congested nose, we often view mucus as the prime culprit. However, in most cases, the nose becomes congested when the tissues lining it become swollen, causing inflamed blood vessels.

Nasal congestion can affect hearing and speech. Significant congestion may interfere with sleep and can often be the root cause for sleep apnea.

Q: I feel pressure or heaviness in my forehead all the time.  I have had an allergy test, and everything for indoor or non-seasonal is negative, while things like grass and weeds and pollen are positive.  It's in the 30s during the day here and frosts at night. I'm not allergic to dust or carpet or pet dander, but yet I am still experiencing this feeling.  I am not on a shot for my allergies, because the doc didn’t want to start the shots before the season started to get me “desensitized”. So, I still have this feeling in my eye sockets and forehead.

A: Allergy testing has been proven to greatly increase the standard of living for those who participate. Knowing what it is that one may have an adverse reaction to not only helps them prevent contact with the allergen in question but also helps to begin a treatment regimen that could soften the effects of such foreign substances.

Q: I have allergies accompanied by sinus congestion and phlegm. I have been experiencing a bad taste in the mouth constantly and if it’s possible my sinuses that could be the underlying cause of it. It feels like I have bad breath all the time even though I’ve been told I don’t. Sometimes my tongue is sore also. I’ve been to an ENT and a mouth specialist and still have no answers to what it could be except burning mouth syndrome, but I think it’s all due to my sinuses as I have post nasal drip due to allergic rhinitis.

A: Those who suffer from more serious cases of nasal congestion may find themselves forced to breathe through their mouth which, in and of itself, is a very unhealthy practice.

Breathing through your nose is natural, and holds many benefits. On the other hand, breathing through your mouth can leave you vulnerable to such complication as:

  • Bronchitis
  • Hyperventilation
  • Asthma
  • Exacerbates high blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • … and many other medical problems

It would be best to consult a medical professional and we would encourage a 2nd option. If you'd like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Nguyen, he'd be happy to help you find more answers or relief.

Q: My son was recently diagnosed with nasal fungus after suffering from nasal congestion. I have to admit that before his diagnosis I was unaware such a thing existed. What are the common causes of nasal fungus?

AI’m glad to hear that your son was properly diagnosed. I have seen a significant increase in the number of patients in my office with this condition which is commonly called fungal sinusitis. I attribute this increase to an overuse of antibiotics to treat sinus infections. You see, not all sinus infections respond to antibiotics.

If you’ve had chronic sinus infections, especially with symptoms that don’t get better with typical treatments, you could have a fungal sinus infection. Since our practice has significant experience with fungal sinusitis we always do a detailed medical history and if necessary have a mucus sample sent to a laboratory where it is examined for signs of fungi.

Common causes of nasal fungus are:

  • weakened immune system
  • chronic untreated or improperly treated sinusitis

While fungal sinus infections can occur in healthy individuals, they are most common in people with weakened immune systems. When your immune system is vulnerable, fungi can grow, especially in damp and dark environments—aka your sinuses.

Allergic fungal sinusitis (AFS) is a common type of fungal infection in the sinuses. The infecting fungi are found in the environment and cause an allergic reaction which results in thick fungal debris, sticky mucus and blockage of the infected sinus. Patients with AFS may have allergies, nasal polyps and may have asthma. As a result of the condition, most patients develop chronic sinusitis which may affect their sense of smell. Left untreated, this condition may lead to the displacement of the eyeball and vision loss.

Although AFS can occur at any age, allergic fungal sinusitis is more common in adolescents and young adults.

Other types of fungal sinusitis are:

  • Mycetoma Fungal Sinusitis
  • Chronic Indolent Sinusitis
  • Fulminant Sinusitis

Hope this helps!

Q: I had recently suffered a concussion due to a football injury. I had accidentally collided into a teammate, face first, and found myself in an ambulance soon after. Since then I’ve been experiencing pain in my nose, but nothing seems to be broken. What might I look for in terms of a nasal fracture?

A: Some signs and/or symptoms of a broken nose may include:

  • Pain or tenderness, especially when touching your nose
  • Swelling of your nose and surrounding areas
  • Bleeding from your nose
  • Bruising around your nose or eyes
  • Crooked or misshapen nose
  • Difficulty breathing through your nose
  • Discharge of mucus from your nose
  • Feeling that one or both of your nasal passages are blocked

Q: I have been experiencing nasal congestion for a better part of a month and at this point, I’m convinced that there may be more at hand. At what point should one investigate if their nasal congestion may be signs of something worse?

A: When we think of a stuffy or congested nose, we often view mucus as the prime culprit. However, in most cases, the nose becomes congested when the tissues lining it become swollen, causing inflamed blood vessels.

Nasal congestion can affect hearing and speech. Significant congestion may interfere with sleep and can often be the root cause of sleep apnea.

A stuffy nose is usually caused by a virus or bacteria. Causes include:

  • Common cold
  • Flu
  • Sinus infection

Though many forms of congestion typically go away by themselves within a week, in more severe instances, further measures may need to be taken.

Q: My husband has been experiencing problems breathing for months. And, although we have tried every over-the-counter remedy nothing seems to work. It has affected his sleeping and he suffers from excessive snoring. It has gotten to the point that I have asked him to sleep in the guest room. I have a feeling that he may be suffering from a more serious nasal condition than originally suspected and that he may require surgery. Can a Septoplasty remedy excessive snoring?

A: Septoplasty, also called septal reconstruction surgery or submucous resection of the septum, repairs the crooked septum that blocks the airways in your nose.

When it’s been determined that you have a deviated septum, you’ll likely need surgery if you’re experiencing any of the following conditions in a chronic manner:

  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Blockages of the nostrils inhibiting breathing through the nose
  • Nasal congestion on one or both sides
  • Facial pain and headaches caused by frequent sinus infections
  • Excessive snoring

Septoplasty is a relatively safe procedure, requiring small incisions with surgical tools, with no major organs or blood vessels in the general vicinity of the surgery. After septoplasty and recovery from your surgery, you can expect a significant increase in your quality of life, including easy breathing, relief of sleep apnea and snoring, and discontinuation of chronic sinusitis and its painful symptoms.

 

Q: I have been suffering from sinus congestion for the better part of a year now and have tried every over-the-counter remedy under the sun. A friend of mine had mentioned that Balloon Sinuplasty is a quick and painless procedure that may provide me with relief. How long is the recovery period for the Balloon Sinuplasty procedure?

A: Yes! Dilation can be done at our office and most of our patients return to their normal activities the next day!

Q: I have been smelling a foul odor that appears to be coming from my nasal passage. Sometimes I smell it when just sitting, but always when I bend over. This has been going on for approximately 4 months. I haven’t been sick in that time and I’m not showing any other signs of a sinus infection. What could this be a sign of?

A: Believe it or not, smelling of things only you can smell is quite common. Well, common enough to get a technical term. Phantosmia or phantom smells is just that – an odor with no external source to speak of. It’s like a hallucination, but for your nose.

Generally Phantosmia hits you when something’s going on in your brain. It can be a warning for a serious issue or a symptom for something as common as a migraine. You shouldn’t be too hasty in thinking smells haunting you are phantom smells though. In many cases there are real, if elusive causes.

Q: I have chronic congestion in my nose that varies from clear, yellow and green. It’s especially bad when I wake up and my nose can remain clogged for hours without relief.  What procedures are available for chronic nasal congestion?

A: Nasal congestion or “stuffy nose” occurs when nasal tissues become swollen with excess fluid, causing a “stuffy” feeling. The effects of nasal congestion vary and can be as mild as a “runny nose” to as severe as an obstructed airway.

Some possible treatments include:

  • Balloon Sinuplasty
  • Endoscopic Sinus Surgery
  • Septoplasty

Q: I had suffered from a congested nose over the past winter that has since subsided after months and months of treatment. I have noticed that for the last few weeks I have had a significant loss of both smell and taste, which is frankly making me a bit concerned. What can the loss of smell and taste be a symptom of?

A:  The effects of nasal congestion can have various outcomes for its sufferers, two of the most common being a loss of smell (Anosmia) and a loss of taste (Ageusia).

The loss of smell, oftentimes, isn’t serious, but it can sometimes be a sign of a nervous system (neurological) condition. Anosmia can be caused by temporary or permanent irritation or destruction of the mucous membranes lining the inside of your nose. This can be caused by:

  • Acute sinusitis (sinus infection)
  • Common cold
  • Hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Nonallergic rhinitis (chronic congestion or sneezing not related to allergies)

Q: I’ve been taking Ibuprofen, Dayquil/Nyquil decongestant and nothing is working. My face hurts and my head feels like it’s in a vice grip. I’m experiencing terrible headaches, earaches, coughing, runny nose, nausea, diarrhea and loss of appetite. I can’t find anything to take the pain away. What can I do to make this pain go down? I’ve been a week and nothing seems to be getting better.

A:  Judging from the symptoms you have described it sounds like you are suffering from Sinusitis. Sinusitis is a condition wherein the nasal area becomes inflamed causing all sorts of difficulties. This could be due to allergies, obstructions and infections.

Q: I have always had sinus problems.  Fluid comes out of my eye when I blow my nose and I am at my wit's end. Do you have any advice for me?

A: When an allergen enters the body, the immune system kicks in to counter to the effects. In most cases, the immune system produces histamine, which causes the symptoms typically associated with allergies and hay fever:

  • Headaches
  • Sneezing
  • Watery or itchy eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Scratchy throat

 

Q: My allergies trigger postnasal drip that can hang around for weeks. Is there something I can do to treat it?

A: Since post-nasal drip can be caused by various medical conditions, treatment for post-nasal drip depends on the cause of the problem. Bacterial infections are treated with antibiotics. However, green or yellow mucus is not necessarily proof of a bacterial infection. It is due to such uncertainty that the intervention of medical expertise is warranted.

Q: I am at my wit's end and I just want my post nasal drip to stop. This has been a re-occurring issue since my early twenties and I just need a permanent solution. Can post nasal drip be effectively cured through Balloon Sinuplasty?

A: For those suffering from chronic sinusitis, balloon sinuplasty, or balloon sinus dilation, can provide immediate and long-lasting relief.

Q: My nose runs and subsequently, my chest becomes congested due to a nasal drip. The strange part is that I cough every time it rains and the coughing usually remains at least a week after. I experience no sinus pressure and no headache nor fever. The most irritating aspect is the nasal drip seems to go straight to my chest. Is this a sinus problem or allergies?

A: Post-nasal drip occurs when mucus builds up in the back of the nose and throat. Post-nasal drip is not a medical condition, but it may be a symptom of another medical condition that causes excessive mucus production such as:

  • Sinusitis
  • Rhinitis
  • Infections

Q: For the past year I’ve been experiencing a greenish nasal discharge. It’s not completely green but yellowish-green. I don’t experience it for the entire day but, when I bend forward for 2 or 3 minutes, it occurs. The mucus gets accumulated while laying down and gets discharged when I get up. It also gets accumulated at the back of the throat while laying down often causing throat infection. The mucus has a very bad smell and is also causing post nasal drip. I have been to many doctor’s but none of their prescriptions have worked. I have even had an x-ray for Para Nasal Sinus and Endoscopy, but nothing was found.  Is it something serious to have this problem?

A: Nasal discharge is common, but rarely serious. The inner lining of the nose consists of mucus membrane that contains mucus-secreting glands. The mucus helps to keep the nasal passages moist and prevent dust or infective particles suspended in the air from reaching the lungs. Drainage from swollen or infected sinuses may be thick or discolored.

The type of discharge usually gives provides insight to the underlying cause of the patient’s ailment. For example:

  • A thin and clear discharge indicates common cold, flu or allergy.
  • A thick and yellowish or greenish yellow discharge indicates a bacterial infection.

QI can’t find anything to take away the pain, I’ve been taking Ibuprofen, Dayquil/Nyquil and other sinus decongestants. Not all together of course, but I usually do take the Ibuprofen with whatever I take for the sinuses. My face hurts and it feels like my head is in a vice grip, terrible headache, earache, throat hurts, coughing, runny nose, nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite. I can’t find anything to take the pain away. What can I do to make this pain go down?

A: Learning how to detect early signs of a sinus infection can prevent a medical emergency. Knowing if you are developing an infection in your sinus can be tricky. This is because the symptoms are similar to those of flu.

Q: I have constant sinus issues. I have put it down to sugar intolerance. However, I never really seem to get congested. Is it possible to suffer from sinus swelling without congestion? It is generally one the right side on the side of my nose.

A: According to research, almost 40 million Americans are afflicted by a minimum of one sinus infection every year. This means that it is not a condition that can simply be wished away. Some common symptoms to look out for include: pain and/or pressure in the face; a stuffy feeling in the nose; coughing; difficulty in detecting smells; headaches; fever and irritation in the throat.

Q: I am periodically smelling/tasting a foul odor that appears to be coming from my nasal passages. Sometimes I smell it when just sitting around. I ALWAYS smell it when I bend over. Of course, I am concerned and I hoped that someone could offer some guidance in rectifying this matter. This has been going on for around 6 months. I haven’t been sick (cold/flu) in that time and I’m not showing any other signs of a sinus infection. Any assistance that you may offer would be greatly appreciated.

A: Believe it or not, smelling of things only you can smell is quite common. Well, common enough to get a technical term. Phantosmia, or phantom smells is just that – an odour with no external source to speak of. It’s like a hallucination, but for your nose.

Generally Phantosmia hits you when something’s going on in your brain. It can be a warning for a serious issue or a symptom for something as common as a migraine. You shouldn’t be too hasty in thinking smells haunting you are phantom smells though. In many cases there are real, if elusive causes.

Q: I’ve been hearing good things about Sinus Buster nasal spray but before I buy it I was wondering if you’d recommend it? I have chronic sinusitis and like most people, I’ve tried a lot of remedies and most don't work as they say.

A: Addressing potential triggers or contributing factors is a key first step in the management of sinusitis. To reduce congestion due to sinusitis, your doctor may prescribe nasal sprays (some may contain steroid sprays), nose drops, or oral decongestant medicine as the most effective treatment option based on your situation.

Q: I have a growing interest in the Turbinate Reduction procedure. I am a long time sufferer of sinus congestion and feel that this may be the right choice for me. If I were to go through with this treatment, what is the recovery period for the Turbinate Reduction procedure?

A: The turbinate reduction procedure, as performed by Dr. Nguyen, is quick and can take as little as 90 seconds per side to complete with the use of local anesthetic. Feedback from this surgery has shown high levels of patient satisfaction, effective relief that increases over time, and sustained reduction in the degree of nasal obstruction.

Three months after the procedure, 75% of patients report improvement in nasal breathing, and after 6 months the number of patients increases to 85%.

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Nasal Polyps

Q: I’ve been suffering from a reoccurring sinus infection that I’m suspected may have caused the formation of Nasal Polyps. Along with a difficulty to breath, I’m starting to notice a change in the texture of my sinus walls.  Can this be Nasal Polyps?

A: Common signs and symptoms of chronic sinusitis with nasal polyps include:

  • A runny nose
  • Persistent stuffiness
  • Postnasal drip
  • Decreased or absent sense of smell
  • Loss of sense of taste
  • Facial pain or headache
  • Pain in your upper teeth
  • A sense of pressure over your forehead and face
  • Snoring
  • Itching around your eyes

Medications can often shrink or eliminate nasal polyps, but surgery is sometimes needed to remove them. Even after successful treatment, nasal polyps often return. The first-line treatment for nasal polyps is a nasal corticosteroid spray. In other cases, a one-week tapered course of oral corticosteroids such as prednisone may be necessary.

Larger growths or groups of nasal polyps can block your nasal passages or lead to breathing problems, a lost sense of smell, and frequent infections.

Medications can often shrink or eliminate nasal polyps, but surgery is sometimes needed to remove them. Even after successful treatment, nasal polyps often return. The first-line treatment for nasal polyps is a nasal corticosteroid spray. In other cases, a one-week tapered course of oral corticosteroids such as prednisone may be necessary.

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Sinus Infections

Q: I have been experiencing a sinus infection that has been treated with rounds and rounds on antibiotics, but still is reoccurring. I have tried to pinpoint the cause and all the I have yet to explore was the possibility of household irritants. Can chronic sinus infections be triggered by household allergens?

A: Sinuses are filled with air, but when sinuses become blocked and filled with fluid, germs and/or bacteria form which result in infection. Conditions that can cause sinus blockage include:

  • The common cold
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Nasal polyps
  • Deviated septum

If you want a more detailed assessment, please book an appointment or call us at (832) 237-7777 today! Book an appointment today.

Q: I have been experiencing (what I had believed to be) a terrible cold. The mucus coming out of my nose was once clear but not has a greenish tinge. Is this a sign of infection and if so what should my next step be?

A: When sinuses are congested or infected, a person may experience a number of uncomfortable symptoms, such as:

  • difficulty breathing
  • pain around the eyes, forehead and cheeks
  • fatigue
  • dental pain
  • headaches

One of the most common conditions is sinusitis – also known as rhinosinusitis – which is an inflammation of the tissue lining the sinuses that afflict over 35 million people each year.

Q: I was diagnosed over the phone with a sinus infection however I saw my primary care doctor and she said because I didn’t have a fever over 99.6 or 100 that I did not, in fact, have a sinus infection. The symptoms lasted over two weeks, nasal drip, sinus pain and pressure. She said this before even looking into my sinuses and diagnosed it as “Sinus Congestion”. She looked into my sinuses and said that they look swollen. She recommended a squirt nasal rinse I tried it and woke up with very painful sinuses. Does one have to have a fever if one has a sinus infection?

A: When the sinuses become blocked due to a sinus infection they fill up with mucus. The mucus cannot escape hence it becomes a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. Hence alkaline mucus becomes acidic mucus. A build-up of acidic mucus can make you feel nauseous and can result in a fever.

Q:

I haven’t been feeling very well and have been experiencing a lot of pressure on the side of head. Over the last few weeks my symptoms have been getting worse and I feel fatigued and light-headed. Can this be caused by a sinus infection?  Its been almost 4 weeks now, how long does this go on for?

A: Those who suffer from Sinusitis find themselves at the mercy of all ailments synonymous with nasal blockage. These may include:

  • Facial pressure
  • Nasal stuffiness
  • Nasal discharge
  • Loss of smell
  • Congestion

Symptoms of sinusitis include thick nasal discharge, facial pain or pressure, fever, and a reduced sense of smell. Depending on how long these symptoms last, sinusitis is classified as acute, sub-acute, chronic, or recurrent. Viruses are the most common cause of acute sinusitis, but bacteria are responsible for most of the serious cases.

Q: I was just wondering if there are other natural cures for a sinus infection?  I know about the neti pot and was wondering if there was anything else that others have tried that works?

A: To get the best homeopathic remedies for sinus infection, it’s good to understand the condition so that the sought solution does not worsen it.

Q: I have swelling in my sinus cavities, I can breathe through my nose but can tell there's swelling. I was sneezing and had all the symptoms of sinus for about a week and now no sneezing but when I blow my nose it's yellowish with blood in it (when anything will come out). My nose is very dry feeling also and I get some headaches.

A: Sinus infection, or Sinusitis, can be caused by a variety of things. In most instances, it occurs when bacteria, fungi or viral bodies enter your sinus cavities and cause a blockage. As a result, the lining of your cavity might swell up and prevent mucus from draining out of your sinuses.

Q: I have a year of ongoing this chronic sinus infection and I have this clear discharge from my nose while using nasal rinse a lot of it it’s going for months. Are there any procedure that you may suggest to remedy this?

A: Those who suffer from Sinusitis find themselves at the mercy of all ailments synonymous with nasal blockage. These may include:

  • Facial pressure
  • Nasal stuffiness
  • Nasal discharge
  • Loss of smell
  • Congestion

Symptoms of sinusitis include thick nasal discharge, facial pain or pressure, fever, and a reduced sense of smell.

Treatments may include:

Q: I’ve been feeling heavy pressure at the top of my nose for the past 8 days.  I went to my doctor today and had my throat/ears checked and all looked normal. She also checked my lungs and said it also looked normal. She didn’t prescribe me an antibiotic but said if more symptoms arise to go back and get on an antibiotic. Could this be a very nasty sinus infection? My nose is still hurting.

A: Those who suffer from Sinusitis find themselves at the mercy of all ailments synonymous with nasal blockage. These may include:

  • Facial pressure
  • Nasal stuffiness
  • Nasal discharge
  • Loss of smell
  • Congestion

Symptoms of sinusitis include thick nasal discharge, facial pain or pressure, fever, and a reduced sense of smell. Depending on how long these symptoms last, sinusitis is classified as acute, sub-acute, chronic, or recurrent. Viruses are the most common cause of acute sinusitis, but bacteria are responsible for most of the serious cases.

Q: I have been dizzy for 5 weeks and have been experiencing pressure in my nose, eyes and forehead. My doctor says it may be related to anxiety and it didn’t look like I have a sinus infection. But, my instincts are telling me that it must be an infection of some sort.

A: Learning how to detect early signs of a sinus infection can prevent a medical emergency. Knowing if you are developing an infection in your sinus can be tricky. This is because the symptoms are similar to those of the flu. Fortunately, Sinusitis comes with additional, unique telltale signs to let you know it is time to pay your doctor a visit.

Q: From time to time I get a pain under my eyebrow. When I look up to the ceiling it hurts, when I move my eyes on the upper side especially. Sometimes I have nasal congestion (on one side) and tend to sleep with my mouth open which causes me to have a sore throat. Are these symptoms of sinusitis or anything related to that?

A: Your sinus cavity is located in your forehead, between the eyes, behind your cheeks and the ethmoids. Symptoms that you experience are likely to affect these areas. Symptoms can signal the presence of other diseases.

Q: I was diagnosed with Acute Sinusitis and have been on antibiotics for the past 3 weeks coupled with decongestants. I have no discharge or fever, only headaches and my ears are blocked and very sensitive to noise. I’ve tried everything to alleviate the blockage, but nothing is working. Is there a procedure that may benefit me that I’ve overlooked?

A: Acute sinusitis can be painful and exhausting and is a common condition that affects millions of people yearly. Subsequently, many affected people would like to find treatment options that enable them to combat the illness in a short time and reasonable cost.

Q: I have swelling in my sinus cavities, I can breathe through my nose but can tell there is swelling. I was sneezing and had all the symptoms of sinusitis for about a week and now no sneezing but when I blow my nose is seen yellow and bloody discharge. What would you recommend as a course of action?

A: Those who suffer from Sinusitis find themselves at the mercy of all ailments synonymous with nasal blockage. These may include:

  • Facial pressure
  • Nasal stuffiness
  • Nasal discharge
  • Loss of smell
  • Congestion

Symptoms of sinusitis include thick nasal discharge, facial pain or pressure, fever, and a reduced sense of smell. Depending on how long these symptoms last, sinusitis is classified as acute, sub-acute, chronic, or recurrent. It would be in your best interest to schedule an appointment with Dr. Nguyen and find out what severity you fall into so he can come up with a treatment plan for you.

Q: I have recently been experiencing upper teeth pain and headaches and am beginning to feel that this may be a sign of a bigger issue. What may upper teeth pain and headaches be a sign of? I have been having sinus congestion from time to time that has yet to fully go away.

A: Those who have experienced a sinus infection can certainly testify to how painful such an ailment can be. But, did you know that your teeth aren’t free from the discomfort? Tooth pain can be a symptom of a sinus infection caused by allergies or bacteria, or the sinus infection can be caused by an infection in the maxillary teeth. Teeth are the most affected by sinus issues due to their proximity to the sinus cavity.

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Sinus Headaches

Q: I have suffered from sinus headaches for the past few months. I have been informed that my problem may be an inflamed turbinate in which I have scheduled a Turbinate Reduction. Can Turbinate Reduction relieve sinus headaches?

A: Turbinate reduction surgery is implemented to correct the problem of nasal obstruction by reducing the turbinate size and thereby decreasing airway resistance while preserving the natural function of the turbinate. This should improve nasal breathing and may reduce nasal drainage, post-nasal drip and nasal allergies.

Q: I have had allergies for the better part of my adult life and along with it have experienced excruciating sinus headaches. I have tried it all to relieve them; decongestants, antihistamines, neti pots, aspirin… Nothing seems to elevate the headaches for any more than a moment and I’m growing tired of the pain. What would you suggest?

A: We would recommend…

  • Decongestant Nasal Spray - The liquid in decongestant nasal sprays will help to lessen the pain of sinus headaches by keeping down the inflammation in the nasal passages, thus helping them to drain.
  • Decongestant Pill - Take a decongestant targeted at assisting with sinus pain relief. Decongestants aim to ease sinus headaches by decreasing inflammation and facilitating drainage in the nasal passages.
  • Neti Pot - Water from the neti pot increases drainage and decreases inflammation in the nasal passages that contribute to sinus headaches.

As mentioned, these remedies are generally best utilized by those with mild cases of sinus headaches. It is recommended that if you are experiencing more severe headaches that you consult with a doctor.

Q: I constantly have sinus headaches and issues.  My nose drips all the time and I do not have any congestion. I am always tired. I wake up tired even after 8 hours of sleep.

A: It’s not much of a stretch to point out the obvious and say that the primary symptom of a sinus headache is ache. Some other symptoms are:

  • Pressure – Typically around sinus cavities such as the forehead, eyes and nose.
  • Sensitivity – The areas under pressure are usually tender and painful to touch.
  • Movement – Changing positions can usually make things hurt more.
  • Morning Severity – Because your sinuses have been draining all night, you usually start off waking up on the wrong side of the bed.

Q: I have had a headache for 8 days. It started behind my left eye. I went to an ENT he said up my nose was red and he gave me a shot of cortisone and prescribed antibiotics. It has been 4 days since I’ve been on medication and I still have a headache. Is there anything else you would suggest?

A: Sinuses are air spaces that develop from the nasal passages which help with air humidification and mucus secretion. Inflammation of the sinuses (also known as sinusitis) may decrease the ability for the mucus to drain, increasing pressure within the sinus, leading to the sinus headache.

Sinusitis can be caused by:

  • Colds
  • Bacterial or fungal infections
  • An impaired immune system
  • Structural problems in the nasal cavity

The resulting pressure changes in the sinuses can trigger headaches.

Q: I moved up North and the winters are brutally cold and dry.  Lately, I have been feeling pressure behind my eyes, nose, temples, headaches, extreme pressure on my upper teeth, bottom teeth front and lower teeth. My nose is not stuffy at all it just feels very dry and my head feels heavy and my neck hurts. I just started using a humidifier and a saline nose spray. What could you recommend to alleviate these symptoms?

A: Fortunately for sinus headache suffers, there are a number of over-the-counter remedies for mild symptoms. Three such remedies are:

  • Decongestant Nasal Spray
  • Decongestant Pill
  • Neti Pot

As mentioned, these remedies are generally best utilized by those with mild cases of sinus headaches. It is recommended that if you are experiencing more severe headaches that you consult with a doctor.

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Deviated Septum

Q: Can a deviated septum contribute to loss of smell and taste? I was recently diagnosed with a deviated septum and was told it was slight. I had a procedure to rectify the issue but noticed that a few weeks after I had lost those two senses. Needless to say, this has been disorienting and feels that a further procedure may be needed.

A: The loss of smell oftentimes isn’t serious, but it can sometimes be a sign of a nervous system (neurological) condition. Anosmia can be caused by temporary or permanent irritation or destruction of the mucous membranes lining the inside of your nose. This can be caused by:

  • Acute sinusitis (sinus infection)
  • Common cold
  • Hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
  • Influenza (flu)
  • Nonallergic rhinitis (chronic congestion or sneezing not related to allergies)

The sense of smell also enhances your ability to taste. Many people who lose their sense of smell also complain that they lose their sense of taste. Most can still tell between salty, sweet, sour, and bitter, but cannot distinguish between other flavors.

Q:

I have recently been experiencing serious difficulties breathing coupled with a persistent sinus headache. Is it possible that I may have a deviated septum? What are the potential symptoms?

A: There are 5 Common Symptoms:

  1. Difficulty Breathing - A misaligned septum makes it more difficult for air to pass through the nostrils and into your lungs. As a result, you may encounter trouble breathing—especially when you have a cold or allergies. Those conditions make your nasal passages swell and narrow, which further constrains your ability to breathe.
  2. Nose Bleeds - In some patients, a deviated septum leads to regular nosebleeds. That’s because the curvature of the septum creates turbulence as air passes through the nostril. Think about your septum like the hood of a car or an airline wing. The more aerodynamic the surface area, the more easily air passes past the septum (or the wing of an airplane). In noses, the more turbulence on the septum, the drier it becomes and that can lead to a bloody nose.
  3. Frequent Sinus Infections or Cold Symptoms - A clogged airway or impaired breathing through your nose often leads to sinus infections, post-nasal drip or what many people simply term “common cold” symptoms.
  4. Facial Pain and Headaches - People with a deviated septum feel “clogged up.” That can lead to headaches and facial pain. In some cases, facial and nose pain is caused by the nasal septum actually contacting the outside wall of your nose.
  5. Difficulty Sleeping - You know the frustration of trying to sleep when you’re heavily congested. Now imagine that condition nearly every time you lay your head on a pillow. A deviated septum can cause you to lose sleep and that can make you irritable. More critically, a deviated symptom can contribute to sleep apnea, which is a serious sleep disorder and can prove fatal.

Q: I have been experiencing nasal congestion for the past few weeks that has yet to subside. I have tried every over the counter remedy imaginable including the neti pot and I’m beginning to think that this may be something more than mucus builds up. Can nasal congestion or a stuffy nose be a sign of a deviated septum?

A: The most common symptom of a deviated septum is nasal congestion. When one side of the nose is more congested than the other, it can become difficult to breathe. Recurrent or repeated sinus infections can also be a sign of a deviated septum. Other symptoms include:

  • Nosebleeds
  • Facial pain
  • Headache
  • Post nasal drip
  • Loud breathing and snoring during sleep
  • Sleep apnea

Q: I have swelling in my sinus cavities, I can breathe through my nose but can tell there is swelling. I was sneezing and had all the symptoms of sinus for about a week and now no sneezing but when I blow my nose it's yellowish with blood in it. My nose is a very dry feeling also and I get some headaches. Are these signs of sinusitis or deviated septum?

A: The most common symptom of a deviated septum is nasal congestion. When one side of the nose is more congested than the other, it can become difficult to breathe. Recurrent or repeated sinus infections can also be a sign of a deviated septum. Other symptoms include:

  • Nosebleeds
  • Facial pain
  • Headache
  • Post nasal drip
  • Loud breathing and snoring during sleep
  • Sleep apnea

Q: I have been experiencing issues breathing for the past few weeks and I’m beginning to suspect I may have a deviated septum. I can’t seem to fall into a deep sleep and when I do I’m awoken by my poor breathing. It’s a vicious cycle. What tests can I perform to confirm whether or not I have a deviated septum?

A: The nasal septum is a flap of cartilage dividing the nose in half. Do you breathe through one nostril better than another? You may have a deviated septum and booking an assessment with Dr. Nguyen can tell you for sure.

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Nosebleeds

Q: I have experienced nose bleeds as long as I can remember. I was placed on medication many years ago that, for the most part, works. That being said, I have experienced episodes in which my nose bled regardless of the medication and was terribly embarrassing. Can Nosebleed Cauterization be used as an alternative to medication?

A: Those who have suffered from chronic nose bleeds can certainly attest to its debilitating nature. Through nosebleed cauterization, patients can feel relief that the issue of their persistent bleeding has been addressed once and for all, allowing them to live a productive life free of the uncertainty and unpredictability of nose bleeds.

If you want a more detailed assessment, please call us at (832) 237-7777 today!

Q: For the past month, there has been a small amount of blood in my nose when I blow it in the morning. However, the last week or so, it has become a significantly increased in quantity. What can this be a sign of?

A: Many young adults are prone to spontaneous nose bleeds (epistaxis), most commonly from a single vein in the septum (partition wall) in the front of the nostril. Nose bleeds can be caused by:

  • Infection
  • Drying of the nose lining
  • Trauma
  • Blowing and sneezing because of a cold or allergic reaction
  • Heavy coughing
  • Vigorous exercise

Q: Every allergy season I begin to experience nose bleeds and am growing concerned that this may be a symptom of a bigger issue. I have visited allergy doctors before and they say that I may require cauterization. Is this a treatment you’d recommend?

A: Nosebleeds are no fun! The good news is that for most patients the cure to ending the nose bleeds is just a few minutes under my care. Nasal cauterization is a minor procedure that seals the blood vessel where the bleeding is coming from. It is an effective method of stopping that annoying nosebleed.

Q: I have always experienced nosebleed triggered by seasonal allergies and have come to the point of seeking permanent measures. I have been investigating Nosebleed Cauterization and its benefits and was wondering about what timeframe I should expect for my recovery?

A: If this is the case, we cauterize it or seal the blood vessel with a chemical called silver nitrate. This procedure takes a few quick minutes. Generally there is no downtime. Patients are able to go back to work or school right after.

Q: I have recently been experiencing nose bleeds that seen to occur quite frequently (I’d say at least 1 every week). I have gone to the doctors regarding this, but feel that I may need something more than the medication they had prescribed.

A: Those who have suffered from chronic nose bleeds can certainly attest to its debilitating nature. Through nosebleed cauterization, patients can feel relief that the issue of their persistent bleeding has been addressed once and for all, allowing them to live a productive life free of the uncertainty and unpredictability of nose bleeds.

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Ear

Q: My son has been complaining about the persistent pressure behind his eyes. The school has sent out a notice of an ear infection spreading throughout the school. Is this a symptom?

A: There are different types of ear infections in children that parents should know and understand. Mild cases of ear infections are usually easy to treat but if these are ignored and not given immediate medical attention, they could lead to complications that make the condition much more difficult to cure.

Q: I’ve been suffering from an inflammation of my outer ear for the past couple of days and am starting to suspect it may be “swimmer’s ear”. What are some tell-tail signs that may help me pin-point my condition?

A: Depending on the severity of the infection, the effects of an outer ear infection can range from slight discomfort to conditions that require immediate medical intervention.

Some of the more mild symptoms include:

  • Itching in the ear canal
  • Drainage of fluid
  • Some decreased or muffled hearing

Q: I suffer from excessive ear wax and although I’ve been advised not to use Q-tips, I find myself using them quite a lot. Is the Otowick procedure effective? And, would you recommend any other methods?

A: Otowick is a special tiny sponge that is inserted into the ear canal when it is swollen. This is extremely effective because it can deliver the antibiotic medicine deeper within the canal and will hold it where it can work for longer. Many patients that have undergone this treatment find significant improvement of swelling in just a few days.

Q: My son had experienced 6 ear infection last year and as ear infection season approaches in his daycare, I worry about his health. I don’t want to have to place tubes in his ears if I can avoid it. Is there a method to prevent re-occurring ear infections in children? 

A: Depending on the age of the patient and the severity of the ear infection, are there different forms of treatment available. Most middle ear infections can be effectively treated with antibiotic medication, but a procedure like ear tubes may be necessary for more advanced cases.

Q: I have been experiencing a pain in my outer left ear that is starting to swell and affect my overall hearing, could this be an outer ear infection? I have read about “swimmer’s ear” before and fear that this maybe what I’m currently dealing with.

A: If you are experiencing inflammation of the outer ear and ear canal, it is likely due to an outer ear infection, clinically known as otitis externa and commonly known as Swimmer’s Ear.

The condition gets its name from the situation where bacteria grows in a moist ear of someone who has gone swimming, but any time the outer ear canals are unable to protect against bacterial growth, an outer ear infection can occur. An ear’s natural defenses can be affected by excess moisture, scratches or abrasions, or the skin’s sensitivity to items like jewelry or products like hair spray.

Q: My son has had bout after bout of ear infections and although our doctor says that this is common for toddlers, I’m concerned how this may affect his hearing long-term. Would you recommend ear tubes? And if so, what are the benefits and potential drawbacks of such a treatment?

A: There are two basic types of ear tubes:

  • Short Term – Short-term tubes are smaller and typically stay in place for six months to a year before falling out on their own.
  • Long Term – Long-term tubes are larger and have flanges that secure them in place for a longer period of time. Long-term tubes may fall out on their own, but removal by an otolaryngologist may be necessary.

Each year, more than half a million ear tube surgeries are performed on children, making it the most common childhood surgery performed with anesthesia. Ear infections can also be present in teens and adults and can lead to speech and balance problems, hearing loss, or changes in the structure of the eardrum.

Q: I have been having my usual bouts of runny nose due to the allergy season, however, I’m also now experiencing pain in my ear that I suspect may be an ear infection (due to the length of time I’ve been enduring it). Is there a link between a runny nose and ear infection?

A: On its own, a runny nose can be an annoyance, and the nose and sinuses can become sore from all the maintenance. Blockage of the nasal cavity can result in difficulty breathing through the nose or air pressure that causes headaches and facial pain.

If left untreated, mucus can continue to accumulate in the Eustachian tube (part of the middle ear) or throat, and many other more complicated conditions can arise. These include:

  • post-nasal drip
  • sinusitis
  • ear infection

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Allergies

Apart from Medicare and your insurance information, you should also bring the following:

  • Drivers License or a valid ID
  • Insurance information
  • Referral Letter (if required)
  • Imaging Reports such as CT scan, MRI report, PET scan etc and any other relevant information
  • List of medications (if any)
  • Medical Records from family physician, ER visit or urgent care (if applicable)

Q: I’ve been sneezing excessively and have been experiencing a blocked nose, irritated ears and itchy throat. I’ve been taking cough medicine, but it doesn’t seem to be working.  I have headaches, chest pain and dry irritated itchy skin. Do these symptoms sound like an allergy or should I be looking at other possible explanations?

A: When an allergen enters the body, the immune system kicks in to counter to the effects. In most cases, the immune system produces histamine, which causes the symptoms typically associated with allergies and hay fever:

  • Headaches
  • Sneezing
  • Watery or itchy eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Scratchy throat

Q: I have recently started to develop a distinct reaction to certain musky environments that I hadn’t before. I can’t quite pinpoint the cause of my discomfort, but do know that it usually results in runny eyes and nose. Are allergy testings painful? I am in need of an answer but I am apprehensive about pain.

Answer

A: Allergy testing has been proven to greatly increase the standard of living for those who participate. Knowing what it is that one may have an adverse reaction to not only helps them prevent contact with the allergen in question but also helps to begin a treatment regimen that could soften the effects of such foreign substances.

Q: I have been a long time sufferer of airborne allergens. I have tried all forms of medications and all only offer very temporary relief. Do air purifiers remove pollen, dust, and mold spores? I’m considering shopping online and have looked at a number of brands. However, it’s sometimes hard to gauge the veracity of these claims.

A: Although air purifiers are great as an accompaniment to a more sufficient long term cure. It is not the best resource for fully relieving one from an airborne allergen. Have you considered Immunology?

Allergy shots can be used to control symptoms triggered by:

  • Seasonal allergies
  • Indoor allergens
  • Insect stings

Q:

I’ve been having a cough for 3 months or so, starting in March. I’m trying to discover the root cause, and I’ve narrowed it down to a few possibilities.

  1. Seasonal allergies
  2. Airborne allergins
  3. Possible link to sinuses

Would Allergy Testing be able to determine the culprit?

A: Allergy testing has been proven to greatly increase the standard of living for those who participate. Knowing what it is that one may have an adverse reaction to not only helps them prevent contact with the allergen in question but also helps to begin a treatment regimen that could soften the effects of such foreign substances.

Q: I have recently moved to Austin, TX and I’m in desperate need of an allergy doctor. I have been a long time sufferer of seasonal allergies and they only seem to have gotten worse with the dry Texas heat. Are there any procedures that you may be able to recommend?

A: To treat allergies, most people need to reduce exposure to the allergen and take medication, often antihistamines and nasal decongestants. For more severe cases, allergy shots may be needed to build up the body’s immune response to the allergen over time.

Through physical examination and skin tests, we can determine exactly what allergens specifically affect you, in order to prescribe the proper treatment. In addition, we can test to see if you are allergic to the allergens that exist in the Houston area.

Q: I suffer from chronic allergies and am currently taking Mucinex maximum strength, D-Allergy, Singulair, Levocetirizine, Flonase, & Patanase. I’m trying to break up this congestion, but can’t take anything with ephedrine because of a heart condition. Any suggestions?

A: Thanks for your question. To treat allergies, most people need to reduce exposure to the allergen and take medication, often antihistamines and nasal decongestants. For more severe cases, allergy shots may be needed to build up the body’s immune response to the allergen over time.

Through physical examination and skin tests, we can determine exactly what allergens specifically affect you, in order to prescribe the proper treatment.

Q: My name is Lori and I have been having terrible sinus and asthma problems for years now. The pulmonologist says (back home in Manila) that my asthma is caused mainly by sinus allergies (rhinitis) postnasal drip but it had become worse of the years. I guess this is hereditary because I have family members who have allergies, in different forms. Mine just took sinus and asthma forms. I am on Symbicort 160, prednisonol, I've tried inhalers. I wish there was a way that I could greatly improve or even heal, without having to resort to surgery. Sometimes it feels like my nasal passages are like a brick, it is so blocked. I also tried using a neti pot and although it does help quite a lot, I would of course like professional advice. My current employer does not provide regular insurance, only a health card that does not really cover much. Thank you so much, and God bless you all.
P.S. could I also ask if Ambroxol syrup is ok for an asthmatic? thank you…

A: Sinuses are filled with air, but when sinuses become blocked and filled with fluid, germs and/or bacteria form which result in infection. Conditions that can cause sinus blockage include:

  • The common cold
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Nasal polyps
  • Deviated septum

Allergies change over time and it’s possible prior treatments are not addressing the core issue. Book an appointment with Dr. Nguyen and he’ll be able to recommend a treatment plan that addresses your needs. 

Q: I’ve been suffering from rhinitis. I went to my doctor and was given some antihistamines and nasal spray. I hadn’t suffered any symptoms for the past 3 weeks (i.e. excessive mucus), but of late I have been feeling worse and worse. Is it possible to become immune to antihistamines? And if so, is there another procedure that may provide a more permanent solution?

A: To treat allergies, most people need to reduce exposure to the allergen and take medication, often antihistamines and nasal decongestants. For more severe cases, allergy shots may be needed to build up the body’s immune response to the allergen over time.

Q: I’ve been experiencing a tickling in my nose that started with a sneeze and a blowing of the nose.  My eyes are tearing up constantly and I can’t stop sneezing. I have tried various over the counter remedies, but I can’t get any relief. What can this possibly be? It has been like this for 3 days now. Could it be allergies?

A: When an allergen enters the body, the immune system kicks in to counter to the effects. In most cases, the immune system produces histamine, which causes the symptoms typically associated with allergies and hay fever:

  • Headaches
  • Sneezing
  • Watery or itchy eyes
  • Nasal congestion
  • Scratchy throat

Q: I have always suffered from severe seasonal allergies and with the beginning of spring in full swing, I fear the worse for the summer. I have read various success stories associated with Immunology and was hoping they may also benefit me. Can Immunotherapy relieve seasonal allergies?

A: Allergy shots have been proven to be an effective treatment, especially if you are experiencing one or more of the following scenarios:

  • It’s impossible to avoid the things that cause your allergic reactions, and allergy medications don’t control your symptoms well
  • Allergy medications cause bothersome side effects or interactions with other medications you need to take
  • You want to reduce your long-term use of allergy medication
  • You’re allergic to insect stings

Q: This the first year that I have contracted any sort of seasonal allergy and it is freaking me out. My nose is constantly dripping and I’m suffering from excessive sneezing. It has gotten to the point that a sneezing fit can strike me at any time and it has even affected my sleep at night. What can be done about this?

A: There are different ways to reduce the symptoms of allergies such as excessive sneezing, but the typical method is to treat with medication, such as antihistamines and nasal decongestants. However, it may be necessary to build up a body’s immunity to specific allergens through allergy shots.

Q: Every single fall my allergies flair up and it has become so bad of late that I’m starting to develop dark circles under my eyes. Is this a normal occurrence or should I be concerned?

A: You might have seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC). Patients often experience symptoms in spring, summer, or fall, depending on the type of plant pollen you are allergic to. This condition of chronic dark circles under your eyes is called allergic shiners.

Additional symptoms:

  • runny nose
  • sneezing
  • nasal congestion
  • itchy, watery eyes

Try not to rub your eyes! This actually makes symptoms worse and can cause infection.

Q: My mother-in-law wears a signature perfume that often results in me having a sneezing fit. Her’s is the only fragrance that triggers this kind of reaction and I’m concerned because I’m not certain what it is that I’m allergic to exactly. What test can be conducted for me to pin-point the exact ingredient? And, is it possible to develop an allergy to fragrance?

A: Not exactly, while the sneezing, itchy eyes and/or other symptoms are similar to allergies most of the time patients are reacting to the synthetic chemicals in the perfume. These synthetic chemicals are called irritants. These irritants (which also include smoke, odors, fumes and other chemicals) irritate the inner surface of the nose, eyes, throat, or lung.

There are exceptions. There are a few chemicals involved with plastics and paints that may cause allergic sensitivity.

The best advice is to (nicely!) ask you mother in law to stop wearing the perfume or to avoid her, whichever is easier.

If you are unsure and think it might still be allergies, please come by our office for a complete evaluation.

Q: I have experienced allergies as long as I can remember and have grown tired of the dark circles that have formed under my eyes. I always look tired and my allergies continue to flare up.  Are there any home remedies for dark circles under the eyes you’d recommend?

A: While allergies are responsible for a host of uncomfortable feelings, a person’s appearance is also affected. Dark circles under the eyes will often form while a person is suffering from an allergic reaction, which can make a person look old, unhealthy and tired.

The eyes are surrounded by thin skin, and when water builds up in that area due to allergies or sinus infections, the result is darker, puffier skin.

Q: My eyes water so much around allergy season that I am actually growing concerned that it may affect my vision. Are there procedures to aid those with excessive watery eyes?

A: There are different ways to reduce the symptoms of allergies, but the typical method is to treat with medication, such as antihistamines and nasal decongestants. However, it may be necessary to build up a body’s immunity to specific allergens through allergy shots.

Q: My boyfriend has a cat that I am convinced is giving me a serious allergic reaction. I am not generally allergic to cats or other pets, but it’s the only thing that makes sense to me. Can RAST testing determine pet allergies?

A: Radioallergosorbent testing or RAST is a method employed in allergy testing (type 1 allergy – IgE mediated). The patient’s serum is incubated with a solid phase allergen and the amount of allergen-specific IgE quantified with radiolabelled anti-IgE. Many different allergens (e.g. house dust mite, grass pollen, cat epithelium) may be tested for with one sample of serum. Although the RAST was the first type of test described, radioisotopes are no longer used in the detection of specific IgE and hence the term RAST is now used as an abbreviation for an in vitro assay for specific IgE.

Q: During flu and cold season my nose becomes a facet and often times is embarrassing. Is there any treatment to combat a persistently runny nose?

A: When a runny nose is constant due to allergies, treatment of the allergies is what will help curb the symptom of excess mucus. The first step is to determine what is causing the allergies, and then what kind of treatment options are available.

Q: I have been sneezing a lot of late and although I have had allergies the better part of my adult life, I’ve never experienced it like this. Which makes me wonder, can excessive sneezing be a sign of a more serious condition than just allergies?

A: Typically, a person suffering from allergies will sneeze numerous times in a row, often forcefully. Not only is sneezing characterized by unpredictable outbursts that can startle and frustrate but frequent and/or forceful sneezing can also lead to a variety of painful outcomes.

As a result of excessive sneezing, a person may experience soreness in their:

  • abdominal muscles
  • chest
  • throat
  • nose

Q: My allergies take a real toll on my system, especially my eyes. Besides the constant redness, I also have non-stop tears streaming down my face. I’m desperate for a remedy. The allergy season often means I can’t drive myself to work, which means taking public transit, which then means a longer commute. I just don’t have the time. What can be done about non-stop watery eyes?

A: There are different ways to reduce the symptoms of allergies, but the typical method is to treat with medication, such as antihistamines and nasal decongestants. However, it may be necessary to build up a body’s immunity to specific allergens through allergy shots.

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Sleep Apnea

Q: I have been a long time sufferer of sleepless nights and it’s beginning to take its toll on me. I have been able to pinpoint the cause for my sleep apnea to my breathing and must now take action. What types of oral appliances are available to combat sleep apnea?

A: There are different types of oral appliances, but they all provide one of two methods for keeping airways open during sleep: holding the tongue in place (tongue retaining devices) and repositioning the lower jaw (mandibular repositioning devices).

Both types of appliances are small acrylic devices, where tongue-retaining devices fit by suction on the tip of the tongue, while mandibular repositioning devices fit over your upper and lower teeth.

Q: I have been diagnosed with nasal congestion that has resulted in sleep apnea. I have been doing some further research and have learned that one of the potential outcomes of sleep apnea in high blood pressure. Is this true?

A: Because it disrupts the normal sleep pattern, sleep apnea can make you feel tired, slow your reaction time, and lead to confused thinking and memory loss.

In addition, sleep apnea can cause:

  • high blood pressure
  • heart attacks
  • stroke
  • hypertension
  • anxiety
  • depression

Q: I have been a long time sufferer of sleep apnea and I attribute it mainly to the nasal congestion I’ve been experiencing. I have a friend that had suggested Balloon Sinuplasty as a possible treatment and was wondering if this may work for me?

A: Poor sinus drainage, which leads to infection and discomfort, is the source of persistent or recurring sinus pain. While balloon sinuplasty is an effective solution to sinusitis, you’ll need to qualify for the procedure.

Q: I have been having difficulties breathing for the past 6 months. It was suggested that I may benefit from having a Turbinate Reduction. And, was wondering if a turbinate reduction may aid in the curing of sleep apnea? As I’ve been having numerous sleepless nights because of my condition.

A: Many people with nasal blockage or congestion are due to the enlargement of the turbinates. These are located in the nose along the sides of the nasal cavity. They are responsible for the stuffy nose when you are sick, cause your nose to block off on the side you are sleeping on, or cause the alternating nasal congestion in many of my patients. They swell in response to allergies, chemical exposure, smoking, and for many other reasons. Although treating nasal obstruction will help with the nasal blockage and congestion and it will not treat sleep apnea.

Snoring means the airway is partially blocked. The more blocked the airway gets, the louder the snoring becomes and the more likely that breathing is affected. In Sleep Apnea, a person regularly stops breathing (an Apnea), or has episodes where a little bit of air squeaks by but it is not enough (Hypopnea).

Turbinate Reduction combined with other surgically appropriate techniques can help with your Sleep Apnea and provide you a better night's sleep. Contact the office and schedule and assessment today!

Q: My husband is stubborn as a mule and suffers from severe snoring (which means we both do). It has gotten to the point that we can’t sleep in the same room anymore and he needs help. What treatment options are available for excessive snoring?

A: Being a nose specialist, I get wives or girlfriends bringing their husbands or significant others in for evaluation all the time. After treatment, I’ve heard back many times from patients who tell me that it wasn’t until after their snoring was cured did they realize how much happier they are snuggling next to their spouse again. They also say they wish they’d sought treatment sooner!

If your marriage is suffering because you or your spouse snores, the key to reconciling is to understand that snoring is a symptom of a physical condition, such as sleep apnea, sinusitis or nasal obstruction, and it can be treated.

We offer many non-surgical, in-office and minimally invasive treatments available to snorers today.

Q: I have been unable to sleep for the past month and I’m starting to believe it may be related to my constant runny nose. At first I had thought the two things to be unrelated seeing that I had been suffering from this runny nose a month before my sleeplessness. But, the more I read I’m beginning to see some connection. Can sleep apnea be a symptom of a bigger issue?

A: Sleep apnea can be linked to various conditions which may include: tonsillitis, adenoids, deviated septum (as examples).

Simple techniques for alleviating mild apnea are to sleep on your sides (not on your back) and to avoid alcohol or sedatives before bedtime.

  • In mild cases: treatment may consist of nasal decongestants, inhaled steroid preparations or oral mouth devices that force the jaw forward to prevent the tongue from falling back and constricting the throat.
  • In more difficult cases: your doctor may prescribe a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). This device straps onto your face and generates pressurized air, which helps keep your airway open during sleep.
  • In severe cases: surgery may be called for to open the airway, including a tonsillectomy, adenoidectomy or deviated septum repair.

Q: I am a long time allergy sufferer and over the years my allergies have become progressively worse. I find that now my congested nose is affecting my quality of rest and is beginning to impede my work. Is there a direct connection to nasal congestion and sleep apnea?

A: When we think of a stuffy or congested nose, we often view mucus as the prime culprit. However, in most cases, the nose becomes congested when the tissues lining it become swollen, causing inflamed blood vessels.

Nasal congestion can affect hearing and speech. Significant congestion may interfere with sleep and can often be the root cause of sleep apnea.

Q: I have been a long time sufferer of sleep apnea, but I’m hesitant to take any medical or surgical action towards resolving it. I’ve heard of tongue retaining devices, are there any other oral appliances that may help with sleep apnea?

A: With sleep apnea, the airways collapse during sleep, and oral appliances help to prevent this from happening by holding the tongue or supporting the jaw.

Research shows that when it comes to helping patients with mild-to-moderate sleep apnea, oral appliances are 60-70% effective. Meanwhile, non-invasive therapy is 85%-90% effective in reducing or eliminating snoring.

Q: I have been experiencing an extremely sore throat that I have come to believe is tonsillitis. Coincidentally, it was around this time that I’ve have had difficulties sleeping. Are the two things connected? Can sleep apnea be triggered by swollen tonsils?

A: If you suffer from sleep apnea caused by an obstructed airway, Lingual tonsillectomy may be the cure your looking for. Lingual tonsillectomy involves the removal of the bulk of the lingual (tongue) tonsil in order to enlarge the airway behind the tongue. If your lingual tonsils become too enlarged they may cause a collapse of the airway at night, causing snoring or sleep apnea.

Q: This is just a general question as I am currently doing research for a possible remedy for my sleeplessness. How does Uvulectomy treat sleep apnea?

A: One of the key benefits of uvulectomy (on top of its effectiveness with chronic snoring) is that the procedure may lessen the symptoms of sleep apnea. Patients with this condition have difficulty breathing while asleep, in some cases because of the presence of too much tissue in the back of the throat. The removal of the uvula and some of the tissue on the soft palate can open up the breathing passageway. It should be noted that uvulectomy is not a cure for sleep apnea, but it can relieve some of the symptoms.

Q: I have been experiencing a prolonged case of sleep apnea caused primarily by my obstructive breathing. My nasal congestion is brought on by a hyperproduction of mucus and although I’ve tried to remedy this issue through medication, I’ve had no success. My next step may be surgical. Would you recommend the Pillar Procedure for all forms of obstructive breathing?

A: The pillar procedure is a minor surgery procedure intended to relieve snoring and treat mild to moderate cases of obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive apnea is a potentially serious disorder in which breathing is interrupted during sleep and when left untreated can often worsen. Both snoring and obstructive sleep apnea may result from a relaxation of muscles at the back of the throat.

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