When to Visit Your Pediatric Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist
Many health issues can cause sleep problems. For children who experience symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing, it is often caused be enlarged tonsils. Those children with enlarged tonsils are approximately 3.7 times more likely to encounter sleep disordered breathing. Another medical issue than can disrupt sleep is laryngopharyngeal reflux, although it is generally more prevalent during the waking hours for children. This is a disorder where the gastric juices in the stomach that occur during digestion come back up into the larynx. It is often referred to as acid reflux.
In adults,laryngopharyngeal reflux can sometimes be controlled with lowering your weight and/or making changes to your diet. Medication may also be required. In children, laryngopharyngeal reflux does not have the same symptoms as an adult. When a child experienceslaryngopharyngeal reflux, the child may show symptoms the are associated with ear infection or sinus infection. When this therapy does not control the symptoms, your ear, nose and throat doctor may prescribe other tests to rule out a different issue. The test for laryngopharyngeal reflux will test the swallowing process for the child.
For other childhood illnesses it is also important to visit a pediatric ear, nose and throat doctor. This type of specialist is generally referred to as Pediatric ENT. These doctors can provide testing, diagnosis and treatment of childhood disorders such as hearing loss, tonsil and adenoid complications, cleft lip and cleft palate, airway and breathing difficulties.
Children with recurring tonsil infections or ear infections may indicate the need to have their tonsils and/or adenoids removed. By the age of two, about 90% of children will have experienced at least one ear infection. Tonsillectomies, which is surgery to remove the tonsils, is a relatively common surgery for children and adolescents, with 300,000 to 400,000 of these surgeries performed each year according to recent government numbers.
Hearing loss and ear canal problems are other symptoms to be taken to and discussed with your pediatric ENT. Children who exhibit problems with hearing, sleep disorders, and recurring infections should have a visit to their pediatric ENT. Any ear, nose and throat problems should be taken to an ear, nose and throat doctor.