expert type icon EXPERT

Dr. Sara Richer, M.D.

Ear-Nose and Throat Doctor (ENT)

16 years Experience
Dr. Sara Richer, M.D.
  • Trumbull, CT
  • Rush Medical College
  • Accepting new patients

I feel like something is stuck in my throat. What should I do?

Yes, the constant feeling of having something stuck in your throat is a reason to see an Otolaryngologist. It may be something as simple as acid reflux or post-nasal drip, but READ MORE
Yes, the constant feeling of having something stuck in your throat is a reason to see an Otolaryngologist. It may be something as simple as acid reflux or post-nasal drip, but it could also be various other things such as a thyroid nodule pressing on your airway or a mass (either cancerous or not) in your neck. The otolaryngologist can pass a small camera through
your nose to examine your throat and larynx as well as examine your neck at the time of the appointment. She or he can then give recommendations for treatment or any further testing that needs to take place.

I just found red traces which seem like blood when coughing this morning. Is it serious?

When there is blood in your phlegm, it can be a sign of a serious problem, so I always recommend being evaluated by an otolaryngologist. Many times, it can be from dry, irritated READ MORE
When there is blood in your phlegm, it can be a sign of a serious problem, so I always recommend being evaluated by an otolaryngologist. Many times, it can be from dry, irritated mucosa, especially after a recent infection. However, it is always best to be evaluated to ensure there is not a more serious health concern, especially if there is a history of tobacco use.

Why shouldn't I use cotton swabs?

Your ears will clean themselves. If you see wax or debris outside the ear canal, you can wipe it with a soft washcloth. You should not put anything in the ear canal, however, as READ MORE
Your ears will clean themselves. If you see wax or debris outside the ear canal, you can wipe it with a soft washcloth. You should not put anything in the ear canal, however, as this can damage the delicate skin in the ear canal, introduce infection, and actually push the cerumen (ear wax) in beyond where the ear can clean itself. So, you may actually cause a wax build up by putting the cotton swab in your ear!

Why was I prescribed an antibiotic for an ear infection? Don't I need drops?

If you have a bacterial middle ear infection, you will need the antibiotics to help fight the infection. Ear drops are for an infection of the ear canal which is a different infection READ MORE
If you have a bacterial middle ear infection, you will need the antibiotics to help fight the infection. Ear drops are for an infection of the ear canal which is a different infection than one in the middle ear (where the tiny bones for hearing are). Some patients have tubes in the ear or a perforation (hole) in the ear drum and then ear drops can be effective in helping to cure a middle ear infection because the antibiotics in the drops reach the middle ear. For the majority of people with an intact ear drum, ear drops do not help a middle ear infection because they can not reach the middle ear! It's always best to clarify from your doctor if you have a middle ear or ear canal infection.

Alzheimer's and loss of smell?

A decline in the sense of smell has been associated with early stage Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative disorders, so it certainly may be connected in your father's case. READ MORE
A decline in the sense of smell has been associated with early stage Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative disorders, so it certainly may be connected in your father's case. He may also notice a decline in his ability to taste as the sense of smell and taste are closely related. There are other causes of a loss of smell including non-cancerous growths in the nose or injury to the olfactory nerve from trauma and illness which an Otolaryngologist can help you rule out by history taking and exam.

Are these crackling sounds in my ear from TMJ?

TMJ is an inflammation of the temporomandibular joint. Like other joints in the body, you can experience a short term or a long term problem (including arthritis) with the joint. READ MORE
TMJ is an inflammation of the temporomandibular joint. Like other joints in the body, you can experience a short term or a long term problem (including arthritis) with the joint. Popping of the jaw is common in patients who suffer from temporomandibular joint dysfunction. You should be evaluated by an experienced professional who can guide you on options to help relieve your symptoms. Some of these can include bite guards to avoid grinding your teeth at night, antiinflammatories, or a soft diet. A professional who is experienced in TMJ can study your anatomy and help guide you in the right direction.

I had a balloon sinuplasty and symptoms are coming back. Do I need it again?

Sinusitis is a very complex disease and can be caused by a variety of factors. The inflammation in sinusitis can be caused by a combination of allergic inflammation, environmental READ MORE
Sinusitis is a very complex disease and can be caused by a variety of
factors. The inflammation in sinusitis can be caused by a combination of
allergic inflammation, environmental factors, and your genetics as well as
viruses, bacteria, and fungus. The anatomy of the sinuses can certainly
play a role in increasing inflammation. Balloon sinuplasty works to help
improve the anatomy by increasing the size of the sinus opening. It does
not treat any of the other causes of inflammation. I would recommend
another evaluation of your sinuses so you can try to determine the cause(s)
of your inflammation to find the best course of treatment.