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Ear and Nasal Drainage
hayleymo posted:
Hi there. This is my first time participating in the community here on WebMD. Basically, I really need some advice. Here is my situation.

I fall into the bracket of Americans that cannot afford health insurance, but also make a little too much to qualify for gov. assistance. So I'm hoping the experts here can give me some advice.

Basically I have drainage in both of my ears. The fluid is clear and out of desperation I tasted it (ick I know) and it is basically like tears. Could be the same fluid for all I know. Here's the clinker-It's been ongoing for over 30 months. There has never been a day where this hasn't plagued me. The drainage isn't heavy enough to just fall out of my ears while I'm upright but it is enough to drain onto my pillow when I sleep. Sometimes it's less, sometimes it's more. Because of the fluid, my ears always itch and I've become obsessed with Q-tips. I shouldn't be using them in my ears but it's like having poison ivy with no calamine lotion, only it lasts 30 months. Because of the Q-tips, three times a year I get otitis and need antibiotics. When the otitis is cured, the fluid is still there. In the last year I've noticed that sometimes when I bend down, as I'm lifting my head back up, fluid will drip out of my nostrils. It's the same fluid, and it drips out onto the floor. As soon as I'm upright it stops. It's awfully embarrassing when I'm in public.

When I went to my family practitioner for my first ear infection, she attributed the fluid to the infection. I told her that it has been a constant occurrence over the last couple of years. She told me the antibiotics would cure it. Everything I've read online and in medical books says that the most common reason is a ruptured ear drum. However, they all say that the drainage should only last a couple of weeks.

Possible contributing factors.

Dec 2006 (about a year before drainage) I was in a car minor accident where my head hit the windshield and spidered the glass. At the hospital, they did not give me an MRI. I assumed that it should be fine since they seemed to think I didn't need one.

In 2000 when I was 16, I was diagnosed with pseudo tumor cerebri. I'd been having headaches, high blood pressure, and vision problems. PTC is basically heightened levels of spinal fluid which cause one to express symptoms of a brain tumor. The excess of liquid causes pressure on the brain just as a tumor would. It also has an effect on some of the organs surrounding the spine because of the pressure. In my case, they did a spinal tap and removed some fluid. Since then, the only problems I've had are vision problems and hypertension which I treat with lisinopril. The vision comes and goes so glasses aren't an option. I've not had the spinal fluid levels checked since I was first diagnosed. Either way, the only way to alleviate the symptoms is to lose weight, which I am.

Q-tips=no no. But it didn't start with Q-tips. I'd never even touched my ear with a Q-tip until this started. I've never had a problem with swimmers ear or even water collecting in my ears after being under water. I always came up to the surface and the water would fall out. I had great ear health. Now I'm worried about losing my hearing and furthermore, I'm terrified at what could be the possible cause. Before it started, nothing had been different. No illness or trauma.

I am:
28 y.o.
250 lbs (was 280...losing steadily)
No children
No other medical issues
Fam. history: diabetes, hypertension
Recently a non-smoker
no alcohol or drugs
No allergies...not even to pollen.

Sorry for the long drawn-out explanation. I just wanted to give you as much info as I could for my situation to be properly evaluated.

I really appreciate any help you guys could give.

Rod Moser, PA, PhD responded:
I appreciate all of the information, but unfortunately, it is not possible for me, or any medical provider for that matter, to be able to determine a reason (and a solution) for your ear drainage based solely on the data you provider. Insurance or not, the ONLY way for you to be properly evaluated is to SEE an ENT specialist -- someone who can examine you first-hand.

Otorrhea (ear drainage) can be from a chronically ruptured eardrum, even though one may not be obvious on a routine exam. It can also be drainage from the ear canal itself - various skin conditions can be "wet". Additionally, water can enter the ear canal during showers, become trapped, and later on will seep out. You must have a definitive diagnosis first, since treatment regimes are very specific.

My suggestion would be for you to arrange an ENT visit so that you can be properly examined, diagnosed, and treated.
hayleymo replied to Rod Moser, PA, PhD's response:
Thanks Dr. Moser. I will try to save up some cash to be able to see an ENT.

I understand it's not as easy as a simple online diagnosis. I was just hoping it wasn't something serious that I was missing in my readings.

I really appreciate your feedback. (=

Have a great day!

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