Glue Ear – \otitis media
Around two thirds of all children in the western world have an ear infection each year, and are the single reason that so many children are prescribed antibiotics that can lead to other problems, especially with the gut.
The ear infection is usually in the middle ear which is a small air filled space containing the bones that transmit the vibrations from the ear drum to the inner ear. It is connected to the outside world by a fine tube (the Eustachian tube) that equalises the pressure in the ear. It is protected from infection by a lump of lymph tissue called the Tube Tonsil, but this however can get swollen by infection and block the entrance (the feeling when you can’t clear your ears on a plane). The tube also produces mucous and in certain circumstance such as an imbalanced mucous flora similar to the bowel flora, it can over produce at the same time the tonsils inflame and this results in a tube full of gluey mucous, better known as glue ear.
The conventional treatment is endless antibiotics or a grommet in the ear to drain the fluid, however these are not tackling the root cause and while a grommet is in place there is an added risk of infection making swimming and bathing a factor in continued infections.
Mullein oil in the ear will help the symptoms and acutely an anti-catarrhal like plantain or hyssop could be taken as tea or tincture.
The homeopaths have a number of remedies:-
- Calc carb 6c:- Thick, yellow, chronic discharge following every throat infection. Swollen, painful glands. Often in a weak, flabby child, prone to colds. Better in warm/dry weather.
- Graphites 6c:- Thick, honey-like discharge from ears. Crackling noise in ears on moving jaw or swallowing. Often with tinnitus or impaired hearing.
- Kali bich 6c:- Yellow, stringy, purulent discharge with pungent odour. Shooting pains in ears. May be associated with sinusitis.
- Lycopodium 6c:- Thick, yellow discharge with chronic deafness and tinnitus with roaring noises. Hot, tingling sensation in ears. Right ear may be worse. Sometimes with eczema behind ears.
- Merc sol 6c:- Offensive purulent discharge. Sharp, sticking pains. Susceptible to sore throats/colds. Cold sensation in ears. Copious salivation/sweating with pungent odour. Worse at night.
- Pulsatilla 6c:- Creamy, foul-smelling discharge. Ears feel bunged up. Drum feels as though it will burst. Pinna red, hot and inflamed. Weepy child who wants attention.Worse for heat.
However one important factor is that the mucous lining has a flora similar to the gut flora and is equally knocked out by antibiotics. To keep the area healthy long term and stop the continual recurrence then introducing probiotics can be helpful. The easiest way is to get some acidophilus capsules, split them and rub the powder inside a child’s mouth just before going to sleep. Do this for about 10 days on the run and it will really calm that mucous lined tube and the associated tonsil.
Of course adults can suffer similar problems and the treatments are exactly the same.
Another long term factor can be there general immunity but this is very individual and it is advised that a Consultations is involved to help the long term balance in the immunity