Q&A with a mother who is also a doctor: Dr. Alisha Trent

Mamas, we love it when we get a chance to talk to a doctor who also happens to be a mother. We think that dual experience gives her a unique insight into health care and its real-life application in a family’s daily routine. Dr Alisha TrentWe think you’ll love this Q&A with Dr. Alisha Trent of Mercy.

Moms are famous for looking for answers from “Dr. Google.” What types of online sources can be trusted when people are looking for reliable medical information? Are there certain sites that you feel comfortable recommending to your patients when they want to get more info on a medical issue?

mouse2Kellymom.com is a great site for new moms with breastfeeding questions. There is a lot of evidence-based information on that page.

CDC.gov is a great go-to website for the latest updates on a wide range of health topics.

WebMD is a good broad tool, but it isn’t the best site for people trying to Google symptoms. You could use it to gather information once your doctor diagnoses you with something and you need a bit more information about the condition.

What kinds of questions do you get asked most often by patients?

Patients come in often to discuss weight loss, which I love because I’ve had my own personal weight loss journey. Medical school doesn’t do a great job teaching about nutrition per se, however, because of my own needs I have done a lot of research on nutrition. I combine that research with my medical knowledge and compassion with those struggling to help patients through their own weight loss journeys.

With new first time moms, I get lots of questions about breastfeeding. I recently had a baby myself, and although he is my 3rd son, he is the first that I’ve breastfed. Given that I’ve recently been new to breastfeeding myself, I can also relate to the struggles and offer advice accordingly.

What kinds of questions do you think more patients SHOULD be asking when they’re at a doctor’s appointment?

question-markI think some people should ask more questions regarding their medications, especially from any specialists they may see. When I see patients and discuss their medications, I always ask what certain medications are being used for. Surprisingly, some people just do not know. I do my best to try to explain to people medications and their significance. I feel like if they know these things, it will help them be more compliant about using the medications as prescribed.

During the winter months, what types of conditions are you treating most often during a typical day at work? What could patients be doing to help prevent or avoid those conditions?

baby sleepingFor babies (younger than age 1), I see cases of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), which can really end badly if not caught early. Parents with new babies should avoid large public places, and when they do go out, they need to make sure people wash their hands or sanitize before holding babies. Also, kindly ask those holding your baby NOT to kiss the baby’s hands. Babies often put their little hands in their mouths.

For kiddos, I see cases of the common cold and other upper respiratory viruses. Cough medicines don’t help kids as they do with adults. It’s difficult to keep kids in this age range healthy because of contact at school and other places. The main advice is to keep these kids bundled up and constantly remind them to wash their hands and use Kleenex (and not their hands and clothes) to wipe their noses.

For adults, I’m definitely seeing sinus issues and upper respiratory colds. I advise them to keep a small bottle of sanitizer in their pocket or purse, especially at work. Cleaning hands and surfaces is the best protection.

What is the difference between “family medicine” and “internal medicine”? How would a patient know which one she needs?

Family medicine is really about treating the entire family. For generations, family medicine physicians would deliver babies then take care of the baby, mom, and siblings. As the mom ages, the family doctor continues the care, then the children grow and have their own children and the cycle continues. Family medicine has notoriously been proficient at many avenues in medicine including obstetrics. Some doctors will also do various endoscopy and colonoscopy exams as well as any number of procedures.

Internal medicine, in contrast, treats lots of disease processes. They are dubbed “internists” by most people. They deal with complex medical pathology and how one single illness or disease affects multiple systems.

In general, for general medicine, a patient can see either specialty, however, many internists do not do a lot of women’s health and none of them do osbstetrics (OB). Therefore, that woman would have to see multiple physicians versus seeing a Family Medicine/Obstetrician such as myself who can treat chronic conditions and deliver babies and then see the mom and children in one visit.

If you could only give one piece of advice that would make the most impact on a patient’s overall health, what would it be? 

Keep a food journal! Journaling food helps to keep you conscious of what exactly you are eating all day long and how much. This is crucial for many factors in a patient’s overall health. Food journaling helps with weight loss, and it also helps with conditions like diabetes. If you are writing down your food, you are also more likely to make better choices.journal woman

Our food choices determine our weight and studies over and over have shown that obesity is a cause for so many conditions (high blood pressure, diabetes, certain cancers, infertility, etc). This one behavior change could affect a person significantly.

Describe what kinds of things would happen during your “ideal” day at work?

I’m really a stickler for being on time. I like to respect my patient’s time as I hope they would respect mine and show up on time. Therefore, my ideal day would have me seeing my patients right on time. Getting them in and on their way to whatever services they may need (lab, x-ray, ultrasound, pharmacy) and then back to their day.  I hope to help them feel better leaving than when they arrived. I answer any emails or patient messages all throughout my day periodically. Deliver a baby if it should arise, and then get home to my family!

Our thanks to Dr. Alisha Trent, who is a Family Medicine physician and also an Obstetrician. She works at the Mercy Clinic Family Medicine and Obstetrics in Rogers (located at the Physician Plaza at 2708 Rife Medical Lane). To schedule an appointment with Dr. Trent, call the clinic at 479-338-5555. 

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Health: Answers from an Ear, Nose & Throat Specialist

dr-chad-putman-entMoms often have tons of questions for doctors about ears, noses and throats. From earaches and sore throats to toddlers with a bad habit of seeing what might fit up their nose, moms have to deal with plenty of the same problems ENT physicians see every day.

So today we’re continuing our interview with Dr. Chad Putman of Mercy, who we talked to recently about about earwax, snoring and tonsillectomies. (If you missed the previous post about ear infections, click here to read it. Click here to read more about adenoids and ear tubes.) Today Dr. Putman weighs in on what to do if your child sticks something up her nose, what causes nosebleeds, and the truth about earbuds and excessive volume.

What should parents of toddlers/preschoolers do if their child sticks something up his or her nose? Does it always require a trip to the ER or doctor’s office?emergency-room-sign

If it is easily seen near the surface, sometimes parents can get them out. If there is a concern it may be pushed in farther, many specialists have special equipment and scopes that can safely remove them.

Why are some kids more prone to nosebleeds?

Some kids develop small blood vessels along the insides of their nose that can cause nosebleeds and can often be treated easily in the clinic setting.

Are earbuds bad for my teenager’s ears? Can daily use of earbuds damage hearing?volume level

Earbuds themselves do not cause damage, but moderate to loud noise over time can cause hearing loss. It’s important to use a reasonable volume when listening to music.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Putman, call the Mercy Ear Nose and Throat Clinic at 479-636-0110. It’s located at 5204 W. Redbud Street in Rogers, Ark. Click here for a map and to see a full list of the conditions treated at this clinic.

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What moms need to know about ears and tonsils

dr-chad-putman-entHappy Wednesday! Today we’re continuing our interview with Dr. Chad Putman of Mercy, who we talked to recently about about ear infections. (If you missed that one, click here to read it. Click here to read more about adenoids and ear tubes.) Today Dr. Putman weighs in on the best way to clean your kids’ ears, childhood snoring and what factors trigger a recommendation for a childhood tonsillectomy.

Moms often feel the need to clean their kids ears, especially if it seems like there’s too much earwax. Why does the body make earwax and is there such a thing as “too much” of it? How should moms be cleaning their kids’ ears?

Our bodies make ear wax to protect the skin in out ear canal.  It is similar to the reason we wax our floors — to provide a barrier to water. Normally the ear canal acts like a conveyor belt which allows wax to come out on its own. Sometimes q-tips can push the wax in and cause it to buildup. I generally advise that it’s okay to clean the wax you can see on the outside part of the ear canal, but don’t use Q-tips.

emoji sleepingIf a child isn’t overweight but snores loudly, should he or she be evaluated by an ENT? 

The primary concern we have with loud snoring is the risk of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, which in kids is commonly caused by large tonsils and adenoids. Even when mild, kids can sleep a full night and not get quality sleep which can cause problems with how they develop and learn.

What are some of the reasons an ENT might recommend a tonsillectomy for a child?

The two most common reasons we consider taking out tonsils and/or adenoids during childhood are Obstructive Sleep Apnea and recurrent tonsil infections.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Putman, call the Mercy Ear Nose and Throat Clinic at 479-636-0110. It’s located at 5204 W. Redbud Street in Rogers, Ark. Click here for a map and to see a full list of the conditions treated at this clinic.

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Q & A with a Mercy Ear Nose Throat Specialist

dr-chad-putman-entHappy Wednesday! Today we’re continuing our interview with Dr. Chad Putman of Mercy, who we talked to last month about about ear infections. (If you missed that one, click here to read it.) For those of us who have kids with frequent ear infections, Dr. Putman offers some helpful insight on the common concerns parents have when kids battle these types of infections.

Can chronic ear infections cause long-term damage?

Middle ear infections typically don’t cause long-term conductive hearing loss which hampers sound transmission through the ears. It can cause a delayed or impaired speech if hearing loss is present for many months in young children.

How do tubes help prevent ear infections and how do doctors determine which kids need them?toddler

Tubes (or Pressure Equalization Tubes) keep a small hole open in the ear drum which essentially bypasses the middle ear problems kids have. The procedure takes a few minutes and requires a short gas anesthetic in children. They reduce the frequency of middle ear infections and allow middle ear fluid to drain which improves hearing and discomfort.

The true art of medicine  is to determine when kids need tubes. This most often occurs from frequent ear infections and prolonged hearing loss from middle ear fluid. There are recommendations from numerous studies that help guide us to determine when tubes are needed or if we can try other options first.

What are adenoids and why do some kids need to have them surgically removed?

Adenoids are tonsil tissue at the back of the nose that at times can cause chronic nasal blockage or not allow the Eustachian tube to drain as it should. Sometimes kids who have chronic nasal congestion, even when they’re not sick, benefit from taking out the adenoids at the same time when they receive tubes.

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Q&A with a Mercy Ear, Nose and Throat doctor

If you have kids, especially babies, toddlers and preschoolers, then you’ve probably seen a few ear infections and endured the misery they can cause for kids and parents. We recently interviewed Dr. Chad Putman of dr-chad-putman-entMercy to find out what causes ear infections, the tell-tale symptoms, genetic predisposition and treatment with antibiotics.

What causes most ear infections in children?

Middle ear infections (Acute Otitis Media) are infections that occur behind the ear drum and occur in children due to their Eustachian tubes not working well. These are the small tubes that open in the back of our nose that normally equalize the pressure behind our ear drums and cause our ears to pop when we fly on an airplane.

What are the red flag symptoms parents should know about which might indicate that their baby or child has an ear infection?baby-428395_640-2

Typical symptoms include nasal congestion, fever, and irritability since most ear infections are the result of an underlying upper respiratory infection. The only way to know for sure is to look at the ear drum.

Can a child be genetically predisposed to ear infections?

There have been some studies that link an increased frequency of ear infections in identical twins or triplets compared to other siblings in the same family. More research is being done to develop more specific genes and hopefully someday tests to allow us to determine who might be at a higher risk.

Should an ear infection always be treated with antibiotics?

The short answer is yes. Many studies show antibiotics reduce how long ear infections last and generally improves how the child feels while recovering. They also reduce the frequency of other rare complications that middle ear infections can cause.

We had SO many questions for Dr. Putman on this topic and several others, so look for a series of posts which continue our interview with him in the weeks to come. 

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