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ear remedy sought

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

I'm stuck in the valley because this stuffed-up ear swells when I go up to the mountains. Its been a whole week since I skied last and i am bummed big time - it is foggy and boring. Tons of pseudofed and robitussin, intex, not yet working. Tried a bunch of chinese herbal stuff, various teas, didn't hurt, didn't help either

Any secret remedies out there? I gotta long weekend comin up.
post #2 of 13
What caused the ear to stuff up to start with?

How long has it been like that?

Have you seen a doctor?

Are you on other medication?
post #3 of 13
Sounds like an ear infection. Best bet is to consult with your PCP.
post #4 of 13
I had an earache once that felt like a knife was being stabbed in my ear. It was so badly swollen that my GP couldn't really see what was going on. I went to the ENT and he took the pain and swelling away instantly, and gave me some drops ( I think it was a topical steroid) to finish taking care of it for good. Don't let it go on and on, it usually ends in misery.
post #5 of 13
There are only two "secret" remedies out there that I am aware of: one is to see a doctor; the other is to see a trusted homeopath.

It may be anything from ear infection to nerve inflammation. In any case, it may get you deaf on the ear that hurts if you let it go untreated.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well yeah:

I went to the doctor - that's where I got the prescription. He said take this entex and it did nothing but keep me up all night. He said wait another week before he would refer me to an ENT. Plus, he knows I had an ear infection year and a half ago; too. same deal.

Of course, I can't hear very well in that ear. constant humming. doctor knows that.

It doesn't hurt right now. just real congested. sleeping is out of the question. sorry - 4 days without sleep (8 without skiing) makes one irritable.
post #7 of 13
While the primary problem may be an infection this could also be non-infections (like a serous otitis- fluid collection in the middle ear), and significant worsening of your symptoms with ascent suggests some eustachean dysfunction. If there is an inability to equalize pressure between the atmosphere and the middle ear, changes in atmospheric pressure will be transmitted to the middle ear through the ear drum. Under normal circumstances, the pressure is equalized through the eustachean tube, which connects the middle ear to the back of your throat. When that pathway is blocked, you have essentially a closed space, and as you ascend, the pressure in your middle ear becomes greater than that in the outside world. That is what hurts. It is just like those overpriced little bags of potato chips that you buy at the restaurant on the mountain that were packaged at low altitude- the air in them swells up and they look like they are about to explode. This does not lead to deafness, but does hurt like hell and can lead to TM perforation (rupture of the drum) with continued ascent.

You need to see an ENT doc. Tell your primary care doc to stop screwing around and kowtowing to the HMO bean counters and give you the appropriate referral or you will file a complaint. If medical management has failed, you might need a myringotomy (making a tiny incision in the ear drum to drain the fluid that has collected there and equalize the pressure). In some cases, tiny ventilating tubes are placed in the drum to maintain equalization of pressure (a 3 minute operation that can be done in adults with local anesthesia in the office).

Good luck and get well soon!
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 

the primary problem was the flu, at one point, I bent over to pick something up and felt this liquid go into ear, but it never drained out. The doctor did tell me it might be the eustachian tube, but he didn't refer me. I sorta still have the flu a little, so mebbe he wants to give the congestion a chance to die down. This drug sucks too. It doesn't work.

What's really spooky is that the woman in line in front of me had ear pain, and appeared to be coming back for a second time. Yikes.

Drugs keep it just about stable in terms of pressure (no pain right now), but I know what you mean about the altitude thing, and the mountain is 10,500 feet above where I am now.

Now that ya mention it, the doctor did mention the eustachian tube.

I will call them now. And BTW, it is an HMO.
post #9 of 13
Ask your doctor about Clarinex or Claritin-D, which you can get without a prescription. Much easier on the wakey wakey effect at night.
post #10 of 13
Steve- the decongestant or drying type drugs can sometimes help for a couple of reasons- they may dry up the fluid in the middle ear itself, or they may help to unclog the glop that may be preventing drainage through the eustachean tube, but these interventions are not always effective. I ahve wondered how much inflammation may be playing a role as well, and the effectiveness of both steroidal and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory treatment has not, to my knowledge, ever been studied for this.

I had a similar problem once when flying with a cold. On landing (actually the opposite pressure effect that you have with ascent) I developed ear pain that took about a day and a half to go away, and it sounded like everyone was talking to me in a tunnel. I was finally about to see one of my ENT friends, when all of a sudden it just popped open (which hurt for a minute)and got better immediately.

I think that your doctor was probably right in thinking that it was related to your cold/flu, but if it has lasted this long, not responded to conservative treatment, and is this debilitating, you need a referral.

Good luck!
post #11 of 13
You might consider having your ears "candled". A candle is a waxed cone about six to eight inches long. The practioner, who often is associated with massage therapy, puts the small part of the cone in your ear, and lights the other end. I do not know how it works, but I assume the resultant vacuum sucks a lot of junk out of the ear. I have had this done several times, and just recently when I had a sinus infection with a stuffed up head. It really made a big difference, and increased my ear comfort. Is there anyone out there who does this, who can explain this in more detail?
post #12 of 13
I used to suffer from fluid in the ear, and I found that hydrogen peroxide helped a lot. Just pour a capful in your ear and endure the bubbling for a couple of minutes. It helps force the fluid out and helps dry up the ear.
post #13 of 13
Diamonddave- that will only work for external otitis, not middle ear fluid. There is no connection via that route to the middle ear, unless you have an eardrum perforation, in which case this problem wouldn't exist in the first place. Also, that can actually be dangerous and damage the delicate middle ear structures if there is a perforation).
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