Throat Conditions

Doctor doing throat examination on older man

Augusta Health otolaryngologists, also known as ENT doctors, care for people with a variety of conditions that affect the throat, tonsils and adenoids We offer treatments to help you achieve the best possible quality of life. Some of the most common conditions we treat are included in this information sheet. If you have any questions about your health, we are here to answer them.

A condition or injury that affects your ability to speak or swallow can have a significant impact on your life. Our ENT specialists treat sore throats, hoarseness, adenoid problems (surgical removal of the small glands behind the nose), tonsillitis, laryngitis, swallowing problems, and other conditions that may irritate the throat.

Conditions of the throat

Voice and swallowing issues refer to a broad range of conditions and disorders that affect a person’s ability to speak or perform normal daily activities, such as eating and drinking. Voice and swallowing issues can affect people of all ages and walks of life and, although they may present significant lifestyle barriers, the most common disorders are rarely life-threatening

Inflammation of the larynx, pharynx, epiglottis

The larynx, called the voicebox, is located in the throat. When larynx becomes inflamed, the condition is called laryngitis.

The pharynx, the tissue in the throat between the tonsils and the larynx, can also become inflamed, causing a sore throat, or pharyngitis. A sore throat can be especially bothersome when it lasts more than a couple of days; it also can sometimes be a symptom of other, more serious conditions.

Symptoms of laryngitis and pharyngitis include:

  • Coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness

The epiglottis is a flap of tissue in the throat that blocks food and fluids from entering the windpipe when swallowing. When the epiglottis becomes inflamed, a condition called epiglottitis, it can block airflow to the lungs.

If you are experiencing these symptoms and finding it difficult to swallow, breathe or talk, a visit with one of our ENT specialists will help determine the cause of the problem and offer solutions that will help ease the symptoms and address any underlying conditions.

Inflammation of the tonsils and adenoids

Tonsils and adenoids are part of the body’s immune system, which helps protect the body from disease. Tonsils are located behind the mouth, one on each side of the throat. Adenoids are located behind the nasal cavity, above the roof of the mouth.

Tonsils and adenoids can become inflamed and infected. When this happens, symptoms include:

  • Sore throat
  • Snoring
  • Erratic breathing during sleep
  • Breathing through the mouth
  • Restless sleep
  • Difficulty swallowing and speaking
  • Frequent colds

Inflamed tonsils, a condition known as tonsilitis, can also develop abscesses—pockets of infection—that can produce an unpleasant odor.

After a discussion of your symptoms and an examination, an ENT specialist can make an accurate diagnosis and recommend the best treatment options for you. The goal will be to help restore your health and to treat symptoms in a way that will provide you with the best quality of life. Should your specialist recommend the removal of the tonsils or adenoids, you will have an opportunity to discuss the benefits and possible drawbacks of this kind of surgery so that you can make a decision that fits your goals and lifestyle.