From ear infections to sore throats, some of the most common reasons people go to their primary care physicians (and pediatricians for kids) has to do with issues involving the ear, nose and throat. But did you know that there is a physician who specializes in conditions of those areas?
If you do, then it should be no surprise that an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor – an ENT, also referred to as an otolaryngologist – may be the preferred physician if you suffer from conditions affecting that area.
No doubt your primary care physician or pediatrician can treat an ear infection or sore throat, but when should you see your ENT? If you have any of the following concerns, you likely will be referred to an ENT. Here is some about what differentiates an ENT from a primary care, and when a referral may be in order.
Your primary doctor is well versed in recognizing and treating ear infections, which usually are not a cause for concern. However, for chronically recurring infections, it may be necessary to see an ENT, especially for children, for whom pressure-relieving tubes may be inserted.
Hearing problems and hearing loss are issues for which an ENT is specially trained and prepared. If there is a sudden loss of hearing, there could be an illness or injury that requires immediate attention. For hearing problems that develop over time, an ENT can determine the right solution for you. Each patient’s needs and preferences are unique and your ENT can offer a wide range of options for hearing aids for everyone.
If you experience vertigo or have trouble with your balance, an ENT can help. That’s because your ability to balance can be traced to your inner ear. There may an underlying condition that can be resolved. If you have vertigo or balance issues, your primary care doctor will likely refer you to an ENT. If the ENT finds that the problem is not ear related, he may refer you to a specially-trained physical therapist with expertise in balance issues.
Long-term buildup of mucus in the nasal passageways can lead to sinus infections, which often present as painful pressure on the upper jaw or around the eyes and temples. Most often sinus infections are treated with a course of antibiotics. Chronic sinus infections, however may be the sign of something more and are usually treated by an ENT. In some cases, there may be growths or polyps in the sinus cavity that further complicate sinus infections. ENTs also can remove these nasal polyps as well as obstructions so you can breathe easy. Deviated septums also provide a great deal of nasal distress and can be treated by an ENT.
Allergies, the common cold, flu, and bacterial infections are some of the reasons you may develop a sore throat. Many of these conditions simply run their course and can be managed with over-the-counter medication cold or allergy medications, rest, and liquids. However, colds and sinus and/or ear infections can lead to bronchitis which often are treated by an ENT.
When you have frequent sore throats, it’s time to see a specialist. An ENT can determine if the cause is more serious, from vocal cord growths, chronic reflux, strep or even throat cancer. If the situation should require removal of tonsils or adenoids, your ENT can perform these very common procedures, often in an outpatient facility.
A Healthy Head and Neck Begin with Your Primary Care
Primary care differs from ENT by the degree of specialty care needed to diagnose and treat a health condition. A good, consistent relationship with your primary care provider is the best place to start for ear, nose and throat concerns. Your PCP will determine if the care of a specialist is warranted. Even if your health insurance does not require a referral, your PCP will share your health history with a trusted specialist best suited to treat your condition.
Primary Care and ENTs in Sarasota and Manatee, Florida
Intercoastal Medical Group is a top healthcare provider with both primary care and expert specialists – including the area’s best ENTs. With Intercoastal Medical group, referrals are easy, because we share health history and files between the doctors and ENTs within our own practice. If you’re looking for a medical practice that can take care of all your health care needs, call Intercoastal Medical Group today for an appointment with one of our board-certified ENTs. Call our offices at Lakewood Ranch office in Bradenton at (941) 538-0018, or (941) 379-1800 in Cattleridge Medical Building in Sarasota today. You can also request an appointment online now.