Did you know that children who have difficulty swallowing or a cleft palate can be helped by a pediatric ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist? If a child is having problems with eating, speaking, or hearing, then a visit to the pediatric ENT might be in order. A Pediatric ENT will work closely with the family to create an individualized treatment plan for the child. Feeding difficulties may arise when there are concerns about how food passes through the oropharynx into the esophagus. The oropharynx is located between the back of your tongue and your voice box, also called your larynx.
Tongue-tie is a condition in which the thin membrane under your tongue (lingual frenulum) restricts the movement of your tongue. This can lead to feeding difficulties and speech problems. Tongue-tie may require surgery to correct. A Pediatric ENT can diagnose the problem, and if it’s just a short piece of lingual frenulum, they might offer laser treatment rather than surgical intervention.
When feeding difficulties persist, parents should consult their pediatric ENT. The best way to determine whether a tongue tie is causing feeding difficulties or speech problems is by examining it and ensuring that it’s thin enough to allow for normal tongue movements. A Pediatric ENT can examine your child and provide surgical treatment if required.
Feeding difficulties are a common complaint among parents of young children. Pediatric Ear, Nose, and Throat specialists can help diagnose and treat problems that may be causing these issues.
The most common causes of feeding difficulties in children are related to the swallowing mechanism or muscle tone. In these cases, an ENT specialist can help evaluate your child’s swallowing mechanism and recommend treatment for specific issues. Another possible cause of feeding issues is a structural problem in your child’s mouth or throat. Most children develop without any issues, but for some, something gets in their way as they grow.
Pediatric ENTs will examine your child to identify the specific cause of the feeding difficulty. If a structural issue is identified, we’ll work with you to find the best solution. If it’s not due to a physical problem and the doctor does not find any other symptoms such as pain, fever, or loss of appetite, he may prescribe behavioral therapy, which helps retrain your child’s habits around eating.
A common cause of feeding difficulties is laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR), also known as acid reflux. LPR is a chronic, often life-long condition where the stomach contents back into the throat and cause inflammation in the larynx and pharynx. Laryngopharyngeal reflux can be treated through lifestyle changes, medications, or surgery. For example, one can avoid acidic foods, take medications to reduce acid production, or make dietary changes such as avoiding spicy food.
Pediatric ENTs are specially trained in diagnosing and treating children with swallowing problems like laryngopharyngeal reflux. If your child has trouble swallowing due to an underlying health issue, it’s important for you to see a pediatric ENT specialist for evaluation and treatment.
A laryngeal cleft is a defect of the larynx, which is the voice box. Symptoms of laryngeal cleft include nasal speech and difficulty swallowing solids. More severe cases of laryngeal cleft may result in respiratory issues such as asthma or even tracheotomy, where doctors create an opening in the neck to allow air into the lungs.
Children with symptoms of a laryngeal cleft should see a pediatric ENT specialist for evaluation.
Laryngeal clefts can cause feeding difficulties and breathing problems in infants and children, but pediatric ENT specialists are trained to fix these problems. Parents need to be aware of this condition to get treatment when necessary. Pediatric ENT specialists perform surgeries on children with clefts to repair their throats and larynx.
Pediatric ENTs will work closely with the family to create an individualized treatment plan for the child. They provide therapy, including exercises, behavioral modification techniques, the use of adaptive equipment, and medications if necessary.
When symptoms persist, they may recommend surgery to correct any problems found in the airway. Surgery may be needed in some cases to remedy a problem detected during the mouth and throat examination.
There are many potential causes for difficulties with eating and speaking, but a visit to a pediatric ENT may help diagnose what is causing them so the best course of action can be taken.