Cholesteatoma: Causes Symptoms And Diagnosis
A cholesteatoma is an abnormal, noncancerous skin growth that can develop in the middle section of your ear, behind the eardrum. It may be a birth defect, but its most commonly caused by repeated middle ear infections.
A cholesteatoma often develops as a cyst, or sac, that sheds layers of old skin. As these dead skin cells accumulate, the growth can increase in size and destroy the delicate bones of the middle ear. This may affect hearing, balance, and the function of facial muscles.
Can Sinusitis Be Prevented
Simple changes in your lifestyle or home environment can help lower the risk of sinusitis. For example, during the winter, use a humidifier to keep home humidity at 45%50%. This will stop dry air from irritating the sinuses and make them less of a target for infection. Clean your humidifier often to prevent mold growth.
Corticosteroid Drops Or Sprays
Corticosteroids, also known as steroids, are a group of medications that can help to reduce inflammation.
If you have persistent symptoms of sinusitis, your GP may prescribe steroid nasal drops or sprays to help reduce the swelling in your sinuses. These may need to be used for several months.
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How Can A Sinus Infection Cause An Ear Infection
Does a sinus infection cause an ear infection? Or is it the other way around? Actually, sinus and ear infections stem from the same root causes: viral infections and bacterial infections. Once an infection takes root in the sinuses, its easy for it to spread to the middle ear and cause an ear infection. Having these two infections at the same time means youve signed up for all the symptoms of a sinus infection, plus the additional symptoms of ear pain and/or clogged ears.
While these common causes can make diagnosing your ailment more difficult, they also make treating one infection akin to treating the other. Awareness of the common causes of sinus infections and ear infections, then, can make you less susceptible to getting both infections at once. Lets examine these causes now.
Sinus Infections: Your Top 5 Questions Answered
Cold and flu season isnt quite over yet. If you have congestion that includes sinus pressure, you may have a coldor it could be a sinus infection. How can you be sure that its one or the other, and when is it time to make an appointment with your doctor?
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Complications Of Chronic Sinusitis
Some people are troubled by frequent sinus infections, or continuous infection. Chronic sinusitis can linger for weeks or even months at a time. This can sometimes lead to serious complications, including infections in the bones and tissue near to the sinuses. Very rarely this infection can spread to the brain and the fluid around the brain. The person will be very ill and have swelling around the eyes.People with chronic sinusitis may have other problems which affect the nose, throat and ears at the same time, including:
- Middle ear infection and temporary deafness
- Post-nasal drip , which can lead to constant coughing, a sore throat and bad breath.
Symptoms Of Inner Ear Infection
Since the inner ear plays key roles in both hearing and balance, any issues with these senses could be linked to an infection in this area. Infections in other parts of the ear are less likely to affect your hearing or balance, but the other symptoms can be similar.
Possible signs of an inner ear infection or inflammation include:
- Vertigo, a sensation that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving around even when everything is still
- Having trouble balancing or walking normally
- Feeling like the ear is full or blocked
- Tinnitus or ringing in your ears
- Fluid or pus coming from your ear
Inner ear infections can also be linked to other symptoms, depending on the source of the infection. For example, if the infection spread to the inner ear from your airways, you might also have a runny nose. In some cases, these other symptoms might be fading when the problems in your inner ear begin, because the original infection might have been eliminated. You could also have more generalised symptoms of infection, such as a fever.
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Diagnosis Of Chronic Otitis Media In Children
Diagnosis of COM typically involves an extensive evaluation by a pediatric ear nose and throat specialist or otolaryngologist. The doctor will take a history and examine the ears, nose, and throat. Additional tests may be ordered depending on the symptoms, severity of the disease, and findings. Common tests include tympanometry to determine if the eardrum has ruptured, audiogram if hearing loss is suspected, and imaging test such as computed tomography scans and magnetic resonance imaging to look for mastoiditis or cholesteatoma.
Natural Remedies For Sinus Infections
1. Top Foods & Beverages for Sinus Infections
2. Foods & Beverages to Avoid
3. Oil of Oregano
4. Grapefruit seed extract
5. Vitamin C
8. Neti Pot
9. Add Moisture
10. Essential Oils
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How Chronic Otitis Media Occurs
Long term, negative pressure in the middle ear or continued alternating pressure may deform the eardrum or cause a perforation in the eardrum. When there is a hole in the eardrum, the natural defense of the middle ear is compromised, and water and bacteria can freely enter the middle ear. This leads to infection and inflammation. Over time, this can cause erosion to the ossicles and the bony border of the middle ear and allow infection to spread deeper into the ear, the mastoid bone, and even the meninges or brain. A perforated or deformed eardrum, can also allow a cholesteatoma, a growth in the middle ear made of skin cells and debris, to grow freely. Cholesteatomas can cause hearing loss, infection and significant damage to the middle ear structures and the mastoid bone. The damage from COM can include:
- Severe retraction or perforation of the eardrum
- Erosion of the bones of the middle ear
- Erosion of the bony cover of the facial nerve
- Erosion of the cochlea
- Erosion of the mastoid
In general, chronic otitis media develops over a long period of time in children with persistent ear problems. In rare cases however, it can develop over a short period of time with no previous history of ear infections.
Chronic Ear And Sinus Infections
When the immune system becomes compromised, the body is unable to effectively fight ordinary infections. A suppressed immune system over time can cause these infections to become chronic. Two very commonly effected areas are the ears and sinuses.
Standard medical treatment has been antibiotics, but this treatment is becoming increasingly controversial. Many patients have become frustrated because of the ineffectiveness in successfully treating chronic ear and sinus infections.
After 40 years of pushing antibiotics for any ailment, physicians are now confronting bacteria that have built defenses against those same drugs. Some infectious bacteria that were once treatable are stronger and often deadly. The reappearance of highly infectious bacteria is caused in part by the overuse and misuse of antibiotics, but the resilience of bacteria also stems from the ingenious biochemistry of the microorganisms themselves. To survive microorganisms and fungi mutate into resistant strains. Morton Walker, DPM
A number of studies have found that children who did not take antibiotics for ear infections recovered completely and had less recurrence than children who were regularly treated with antibiotics. In some countries children are never treated with antibiotics
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How Acute Otitis Media Occurs In Children
The eustachian tube can become blocked by swelling in the nose and throat , swelling of the middle ear mucous membrane, or swelling of the mucous membrane of the eustachian tube itself. The blocked eustachian tube prevents the air pressure in the middle ear from equalizing. A negative pressure is created, and this can draw fluid into the air-filled space of the middle ear. Fluid trapped in the middle ear can lead to thicker mucous, the presence of bacteria, inflammation, and infection.
Children are much more likely to develop ear infections for several reasons. The eustachian tubes in young children are shorter and more horizontal than they are in older children and adults. This allows bacteria and viruses to reach the middle ear more easily. The tubes are also narrower in young children, which makes blockages more common. Often young children have large adenoids. These tissue collections are located near the eustachian tubes and can cause blockages when they are swollen or infected.
Other factors can also increase the likelihood and frequency of Acute Otitis Media in children.
- Recent cold or flu
- Exposure to cigarette smoke or air pollution
- Changes in altitude
- Changes in climate or colder climates
- Bottle-feeding instead of breastfeeding
- A feeling of fullness in the ear
- Vomiting and diarrhea
Causes & Risk Factors
Any health situation that blocks off the vital drainage channels of your sinuses can cause a sinus infection including:
- Respiratory infections like the common cold
- Hay fever or exposure to allergens such as cigarette smoke, dry air and pollutants
- Obstructions in the nasal or sinus cavities including nasal polyps, deviated septum, or nasal bone spur
- Non-allergic rhinitis
- Changes in air pressure
- Infections resulting from dental problems
- Physical injury to the sinuses
- Bacteria, viruses, and fungi
The five most common bacteria that can cause sinus infections are: Streptococcus pneumoniae, Haemophilus influenzae, Moraxella catarrhalis, Staphylococcus aureus, and Streptococcus pyogenes.
Risk factors for sinus infections include:
- Being in the hospital, especially if the reason you are in the hospital is related to a head injury or you needed a tube inserted into your nose
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How Do I Know If My Child Has An Ear Infection
Unfortunately, young children are often unable to communicate their discomfort, forcing parents to identify symptoms via a process of deduction. Most ear infections are preceded by a normal cold. Children may have a runny nose with clear drainage that begins to turn yellow or green at the first signs of infection. Ear infections can also cause many other symptoms usually a combination of at least two of the following:
- Fussiness and irritability, often appearing suddenly
- Grasping or pulling at the ear
- Interruptions in sleep patterns
- Low grade fever, usually 101º 102º F
- Changes in balance
- Verbal complaints of ear pain
- Difficulty hearing
- Drainage from the ear, often tinged with blood or pus
Consider Using A Supplement Such As The Enzyme Bromelain
Bromelain is a mixture of enzymes found in the pineapple plant that is sold as a dietary supplement. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health , you can get it as a powder, cream, tablet, or capsule, sometimes in combination with other ingredients.
According to a research published in the journal Laryngoscope, bromelain has been studied for sinusitis because it is thought to be effective in taming inflammation. A small number of double-blind studies has found bromelain improves sinus symptoms more than a placebo, the review found.
Research published in Alternative Medicine Review indicated that oral doses of bromelain are typically from 500 to 1000 milligrams per day, but some people take 2000 mg.
Although bromelain is natural, that doesnt mean there cant be side effects. The NCCIH cautions that some people experience allergic reactions, GI issues, menstrual problems, and an increased heart rate.
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Cleaning Inside Your Nose
You can clean the inside of your nose using either a home-made salt water solution or a solution made with sachets of ingredients bought from a pharmacy.
To make the solution at home, mix a teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda into a pint of boiled water that has been left to cool. To rinse your nose:
- wash and dry your hands
- stand over a sink, cup the palm of one hand and pour a small amount of the solution into it
- sniff the water into one nostril at a time
Repeat these steps until your nose feels more comfortable . You should make a fresh solution each day. Don’t re-use a solution made the day before.
Special devices you can use instead of your hand are also available for pharmacies. If you choose to use one of these, make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions about using and cleaning it.
It’s Easy To Get The Care You Need
See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.
Though an earache might be something most people remember from childhood, adults are not immune from them.
Ear pain in adults is less likely to be caused by an ear infection than ear pain in children.
In adults, the pain is more likely caused by one of a variety of issues:
- Arthritis of the jaw
- Ear injury from pressure changes
- Hole in the eardrum
- Object stuck in the ear
- Short-term ear infection
- Tooth infection
Symptoms of an earache can include pain, fever, ear drainage, nausea, and vomiting.
When an adult has an earache, its important to treat the root cause of the problem, even if that problem isnt directly related to the ear, such as arthritis of the jaw.
If you experience ear pain that doesnt go away or gets worse within 24 to 48 hours you should call your doctors office.
Also call your doctor if you have severe pain that suddenly stops. This could be a sign that your eardrum has ruptured.
The type of earache you have determines the best treatment:
- For a general earache. Take over-the-counter pain relievers, rest in an upright position instead of lying down, and put a cold pack on the outer ear for 20 minutes
- For ear pain from pressure change. Swallow hard or chew gum
- For earaches caused by other medical issues. Visit your doctor to determine the best treatment on a case-by-case basis. This includes causes such as excess wax buildup, object in ear, sinus infection, sore throat, and tooth infection.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of An Inner Ear Infection
Ear infections can happen anywhere in your outer, middle or inner ear. The symptoms can be very different depending on where the problem is located. If the infection is in your inner ear then it can have a particularly dramatic effect on your senses of balance and hearing. Read on to learn more about inner ear infections and how they can affect you.
How Can I Treat Earache
How you treat your earache depends on what is causing your pain.
If your pain is coming from a build-up of wax, you may need ear drops to soften the wax. You might need to have your ear canal cleaned by a health professional.
If your earache is caused by a middle ear infection, its likely to get better on its own within 7 days and usually wont need antibiotics. Until the pain gets better, you can use simple pain relief medicines like paracetamol or ibuprofen.
If your earache is caused by an outer ear infection, you may need a prescription for antibiotic ear drops to treat it. The drops may contain other medicines such as steroids.
Never try to remove something stuck inside your ear by yourself ask your doctor for help.
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What Types Of Treatments Are Available For Ear Infections
Many children recover from ear infections without medical intervention. However, your doctor may prescribe a course of antibiotics depending on the cause and extent of your childs infection. Usually, treatment includes several days of amoxicillin, azithromycin, or augmentin. You may also need to treat a ruptured eardrum with antibiotic or anti-inflammatory eardrops.
If your child is experience severe ear pain, your doctor may suggest using an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to manage discomfort and aid in sleep. If pain continues, prescription eardrops may be available to anesthetize the eardrum so long as there is no drainage from the ear.
Some parents find that home remedies are effective for alleviating discomfort during an ear infection. Examples include applying a warm compress to your childs ear or putting a few drops of warm olive oil into the ear canal. However, you should never place anything inside your childs ear without first consulting his or her doctor.