Chances are we have all experienced the most common symptom of throat problems at some point in our life, which is the basic sore throat. The most common cause of this throat pain is a benign viral infection and is nothing to worry about so long as it goes away in a week or so. Also, many times symptoms can be alleviated by at-home remedies. Another cause for throat discomfort is when small food particles called tonsiliths or tonsil stones can get caught in the small pits that form in the tonsils. Bacteria such as strep can infect tonsils and cause swollen tonsils and difficulty swallowing. Problems swallowing can be caused by enlarged tonsils or even silent acid reflux, and sometimes an enlarged thyroid gland can interfere with normal swallowing. Especially in children, inflammation of the throat can cause a barking cough called Croup which should be a cause of concern, and the child should be brought in for an evaluation. There are of course many more concerning causes of persistent throat problems, particularly in people who smoke. The important part is that if you have throat pain or trouble swallowing and the problem isn’t going away, you should seek the guidance of a medical professional.MAKE AN APPOINTMENT
During your initial visit we will obtain a thorough history from you including a history of your symptoms, anything in your daily routine that could be causing the problems, and any past throat problems or treatments you may have had. After that we will perform a detailed examination. This exam includes the evaluation of your throat with a small scope that is about the size of a strand of spaghetti. Dr. Davis will place the scope gently into the nose and back toward the throat. This allows us to view, in detail, structures that are not visible by simply looking in your mouth with a tongue depressor. In some patients exhibiting specific symptoms we will also perform a Q-Tip culture of the back of the throat to check for strep and other bacteria. Depending on the nature of the problem, we may order additional testing such as imaging studies or tests that check your ability to swallow solids and liquids of various consistencies.