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Neti Pot--ear pain
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bernieean posted:
I recently began using a Neti Pot to irrigate my sinuses, but did not heed the advice to blow my nose gently through both nostrils (I blew my nose like normal, with plenty of pressure). And OUCH! I now have ear pain. From what I gather, the water was forced from my sinuses into my inner ear. My symptoms include constant pressure inside my ear, congestion that makes it hard to hear other people talking as well as how loudly I am speaking, and when I try to "pop" my ears there is only an unsatisfying clicking sensation. I have had this ear pain for four days, and taking Sudafed to decongest has not helped at all. 1) Should I see a doctor? 2) Any advice on alleviating the symptoms until the problem goes away? 3) How long might this last, and could there be permanent damage? THANKS!
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Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
Without the ability to examine you, I cannot be sure, but you may be correct...sort of.

You may have ETD - eustachian tube dysfunction with middle ear pressure (or fluid). This fluid did not come from your nasal sinuses into your "inner ear", but you may have fluid in your MIDDLE EAR - the area on the other side of your eardrum.

ETD can take time to resolve, but unfortunately, it is not possible for me, or anyone to predict how long this may take for you. Every person and every case of ETD (assuming this is what you have) is different. I don't believe you have caused permanent damage with your Neti Pot.

The Sudafed is fine, but it is far from a miracle cure. Motrin/Advil may help due to the anti-inflammatory effects. You should see your medical provider if you are not improving in a week or so....or sooner if you have a fever, or if your ear pain worsens to the point where you feel you may have an infection.
 
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bernieean responded:
Thank you for your help. I had not heard of ETD, but I researched it after reading your response. Some of the information soothed me and some of it scared me--sounds like some people deal with this for years! I really hope that is not the case for me, caused by a little innocent but incorrect Neti Pot usage. I read and reread the Neti Pot instructions, and though they do tell you to gently blow your nose through both nostrils and to not use the device if you have blocked ears (which I did not have at the time, in fact my sinuses were quite clear), I don't think they sufficiently warn you about the side effects or potential damage that could occur.

Ironically, when I researched ETD, many people got relief by USING the Neti Pot!!! Should I attempt?
 
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Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
Sorry, I am not a provider that recommends the Neti Pot for ETD, but you can use it if you want. I do not feel it will be harmful if used properly. Neti Pots and things like them have been around for hundreds of years.

Most ETD will self-resolved, so hang in there...it can take a few weeks in some people, depending on the underlying causes.
 
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loulou1125 responded:
OMG i have done the same thing and i am in soo much pain and that nedi pod is going asap

just posted a few questions on ear infections as i have never had 1 in my 50 yrs so i'm very worried tks for talking about hat nedy pod
 
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bernieean responded:
UPDATE: It has been 3 1/2 weeks, and I still am experiencing ear congestion and discomfort. I visited my primary doctor 2 weeks ago to make sure I didn't have an infection, and he prescribed Flonase (steroidal nose spray) to decongest the sinus area in hopes of helping my Eustachian Tube Dysfunction (ETD) resolve itself. Thankfully, there has been some improvement (though I'm not sure if this is due to Flonase or just the natural healer of time). My right ear seems normal again and my left ear is getting better.

Meanwhile, I contacted NeilMed (the manufacturer of my NasaFlo Neti pot) because after reading and re-reading their instructions / warning, I found only a brief reference to "applying pressure to the eardrums" and no mention of ETD or other side effects. I feel this is irresponsible on the company's part and, based on my online research, there are many other Neti Pot users in similar situations. I was disappointed in NeilMed's lack of response.

While it seems that my problem is on the mend, for which I am very grateful, I hope other people read this post and realize the importance of using caution whenever health is concerned.
 
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fairfieldgirl responded:
bernieean,

Can you tell me what the outcome was for you?

I tried the Neti Pot almost a month ago and had ear pain while I was doing it, so I stopped immediately.

Since then, I have seen my regular doctor and two ENT's to no avail. They can't see anything wrong and the decongestant isn't working. I still have ear pain and blockage.

I have a long flight in a few weeks, so I started taking Prednisone, a steroid, and was told that if that didn't work, then my last option would be ear tubes.
 
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bernieean responded:
Dr. Moser, I sincerely hope you can give me some advice. I began this message to you last year regarding suspected ETD caused by Neti pot usage.

My ear pain did eventually go away, sometime in Nov or Dec of 2008. But this year, starting in early August, I began having problems again. I'm not sure if the problems are related to last year's incident or not, but they are definitely very similar.

In August, it began with my ears feeling supersensitive. For example: if I sat outside with crickets chirping, the noise would physically hurt my ears and when I went inside it felt like I'd been at a concert all night--my hearing would be muffled and dull. Then I began experiencing hearing loss and ear fullness / pain. Some days would be better than others, but it seemed to be getting progressively worse so I finally saw an ENT specialist.

After an examination and audiogram, the diagnosis was otosclerosis (calcification or fusing of the ear bones) with conductive hearing loss most pronounced at the low tonal range. He saw no sign of infection and there was no fluid in my middle ear when he perforated my eardrum. I don't doubt that I may have some otosclerosis because I've had slight hearing problems for a long time, but when I researched it many of my symptoms did not seem to match up.

1) This particular set of problems began suddenly in August and has gotten worse quickly. In the past week or two, the hearing loss has made it difficult to work (I am a teacher) and the pain has elevated to a miserable level. From what I read, otosclerosis comes on so gradually that most people don't know they have a problem until someone else mentions it.

2) My symptoms of hearing loss, ear fullness, and pain fluctuate daily and even hourly, and change from ear to ear. There are some days when I can only hear at maybe 30-40% capacity, others where I can hear at maybe 60-80% capacity. When I "pop" my ears, I can hear better for that split second. If my ear bones were fusing, wouldn't the symptoms remain fairly steady?

3) There is considerable and constant ear fullness and pain. When I yawn or burp, my eardrums feel like they might explode. These were not listed as symptoms of otosclerosis.

4) I can hear fine when on the phone. I can hear faint noises from far away, such as a distant car on the road while I'm on a hike in the middle of the woods.

5) I don't have tinnitus or dizziness (thankfully), which are listed as symptoms of otosclerosis.

Dr. Moser, do you have any idea of what might be going on? I know you don't have access to my audiogram results or my ears but do you think there may be a secondary or alternative problem? Thank you for any help or suggestions you can give me.
 
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Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
There are no rules in medicine that state a person can only have ONE problem at a time, and that all symptoms must be attributed to one, universal cause. In other words, you can have ETD and have otosclerosis with hearing loss. To make matters even more complicated, you could have other, yet-to-be-diagnosed ear problems, too. Having more than one issue would be a logcial explanation why your symtpoms are not "typical" or classic.

It think it is back to the ENT for you...things can change over time, so having a new examination and perhaps some additional diagnostic tests, may be in order.
 
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bernieean responded:
Thank you Dr. Moser for your quick reply.

I have been back to my ENT and he seems convinced that otosclerosis is it for me, that my fluctuations of hearing loss and pain are only my "perceptions." I'll definitely be seeking a second opinion, and I was hoping you might have ideas as to what else might be causing my symptoms.

Have you heard of Autoimmune Hearing Loss or Sensorineural Hearing Loss in Autoimmune Disease? After posting my message earlier, I researched this and found information on the following website that matches my symptoms exactly. I don't know if I'm allowed to post a website address or if you're allowed to read it, but if so... let me know what you think:

autoimmunedisease.suite101.com/article.cfm/autoimmune_hearing_loss

Thank you so much.
 
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Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
Yes, I am familiar with Sensorineural hearing loss and Autoimmune Disease, however, I caution you into traveling the self-diagnosis highway. These can be very difficult disorders to properly diagnose, even by an ENT or neurotologist. Similar symptoms do not necessarily imply that you have either one of these. I do agree with getting a second opinion. This is an excellent idea.
 
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Jil1234 responded:
Hi,

I used my netti pot this morning and since then I have a little discomfort or full feeling in my right ear. I realize now what I did wrong. My lower back had been bothering me so instead of leaning my head over the sink like I normall do, I stayed straight and turned my head in a way that brought this on. I 'm just wondering if its anything serious or will it go away on its own?

Thank you!
 
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Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
I guess I am wondering, too, but unfortunately, I do not have enough information to really comment. I don't think you did anything "serious", but this is just a guess since I have no way of examining you. If your symptoms do not self-resolve in a day or so, you will need to see your medical provider so you can be examined.
 
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HappyBeing responded:
HI Doc..Im wondering if you can advise. I had a cold and respiratory infection pretty intense for over a week. I rested and did self care, including NETI on days 5-10.(no fever) On day 10, I did the NET POT ritual and noticed my ear kinda cackle and it hurt. Then popped and it was fine. Also the night before, my glands started swelling again

I have noticed this in the past but never did an infection develop like this time.

So by the night on day 10, I was awake w pain and clogging. After 3 days of self care, steaming, herbal tincture and just one round of garlic oil in ear etc..It got worse. I still had lung congestion too.

Whew.. So i went to the nurse practitioner and she gave me Bactim. I have been taking it now for 5 days (2 per day, so 9 doses). The swelling has gone down but the cloggin is still there.No fever. and there is less pain if I take it easy.

  • Is it okay to go out?
  • How does the ear drain if the eardrum does not rupture?
  • Does the ear have to drain or can it just pop open?
  • If it drains, does it usually happen inside the body or outside the ear??
  • IS 4.5 days on antibiotics too long to not have it pop by now? The Practitioner is out of office till Mon.

    Its been about 20 years since if been in Antibiotics.

    PS I eat and live a pretty healthy lifestyle..organic food ETC. I have adapted this because I do have sensitivity and a fragile immune system..but never ear infection since a few in childhood

    THANKS for your time! Have a great day
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    Rod_Moser_PA_PhD responded:
    There is really no reason why you can't go out, assuming you are feeling well.

    The ear drains by absorption of the fluid, and some fluid will drain down the eustachian tubes to the back of your throat -- you will not notice this. Once the fluid is gone, your middle ear should fill with air again and your ear pressure will equalize.

    Bactrim may or may not work for your ear infection; depending on the bug and the sensitivity of that bug to this particular antibiotic. If you are not improving, you will need to see your practitoner again for a re-examination.


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