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FAQ/Ear Infections

Fluid running out of both ears. It has made the ears raw and red.
Fluid running out of both ears. It has made the ears raw and red. They are very sore. Extremely red and sensitive.
I have seen 5 Doctors so far. The last one has precribed Augmenton and Allegro. I have been on this 5 days and am seeing no relief. I have to put small pieces of paper toweling in my ear to try and absorb the fluid which constanly is running , and causing my ear lobes to burn. Please can you offer any suggestions,and reason this is happening. This has been going on for 5 months off and on. Also what can I put on my ears to try and heal them from this drainage? Thank You.
Dr. Roby Answers:
Read my section on ear infections. It sounds like you have otitis externa. Systemic antibiotics will probably not touch it. It is very difficult for me to believe you have ruptured both eardrums and that is what would have to happen for you to drain out of both middle ear spaces. So, we can pretty well rule otitis media.
Now, to the solution. Go to a pathology lab and have your doctor order cultures of the drainage fluid. If you get it done at the lab there is a good possibility the technician will be able to get a good culture. In three or four days your doctor will be notified as to the identity of the organism and more importantly, what antibiotic will kill it most effectively. It is difficult to treat these when you know what the bug is and what it is sensitive to. It is impossible without that information.

On & off ear blockage, sometimes it occurs all day. Change in energy – severe fatigue.
Saturday, October 12, 2002
I have been searching the net over and over for help and your site finally seems to have answers! I have read your entire site and my problem is similar to the problem on your FAQ’s page except different and that’s why I need help!
I am a 26 year old female and have gone to doctor after doctor who has told me that my problem is allergies. I have blockage in my right ear which is on and off, and I can’t see a pattern as to why it happens. It is SO bad and SO frustrating that I am miserable. I also work in a field that requires excellent hearing and I do not want this to affect my hearing and affect my job. Everything the doctor’s have suggested has failed. I have never had allergies in my life so when the doctor’s say it is allergies I believe them but don’t understand what possible allergies. They do not know either. This has been occuring for about 2 years but is really bad now. I don’t sneeze, I don’t have watery eyes or any symptoms like that, I just have blockage in my ear and sometimes it occurs all day!
I went to an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist and he stuck that tube light thing in my ears and said there is no liquid present and that it’s nothing big. Nothing big?! I am miserable! He gave me Flonase which isn’t helping. When I flip my head upside down the blockage immediately goes away. That’s why it makes me think it’s not swelling, or could it still be swelling? Why does it go away when I flip my head upside down? Sudafed used to work but doesn’t now. When I exercise (run) it gets worse! Every time I run – during the run I get the blockage. I almost don’t want to run anymore. I don’t want to see another doctor because I’m afraid he’ll just say the same thing. It’s almost as if something gets knocked out of place and blocks my tube and when I flip upside down it gets out of the way.
Is there anything that will stop this?! Please help! I know you have tons of mail and questions but I don’t know what else to do. Thank you so much.
Dr. Roby Answers:
Ear blockage that comes and goes is, by definition…allergy. If you had a tumor or some anatomical defect the problem would never change. It is indeed caused by soft-tissue swelling.
Now, as to why you have and what you can do about it. You have it because your hormones are changing. The one hormone you are no longer making enough of is cortisol…your allergy hormone. See my section on “Hormone Imbalance” for the appropriate tests. In the meantime, try a very low carbohydrate diet. Take over-the-counter antihistamines like Tavist-D (it has a decongestant that is very useful in stopping the swelling).
Many of your questions relating to allergy swelling, ear blockage and other symptoms are addressed in my section on “Hormone Imbalance” on my website. Please read that section again. Let me know how much of that material applies to you, in particular the menstrual history (how old were you when you began periods? have there been any changes in periods? weight? energy? fatigue? loss of short-term memory? skin problems? diminished sex drive?). I can then address your specific questions much more efficiently.
Patient Responds:
Hi Dr. R, Thank you so much for responding. It is nice to have someone that knows! If I were near Austin I would definitely go and see you. I just re-read your hormone imbalance page. To answer your questions, yes, I was under 15-16 when I started having my periods. I was 13. There hasn’t been any change in periods, however there has definitely been a change in energy. There are days when I can sleep the entire day if I do not get up and go to work. It’s not like I’m just tired though, it’s like I’m exhausted! It is more like fatigue. Like I can’t get up! I don’t mention it anymore because people just say, “yeah right!”. There is definitely a loss of short term memory. It was so bad a few months ago that I started to get scared but it is better now. I would forget everything. I would forget if I locked the door, what I drank that morning, what I ate the day before, etc. For some reason right now it is a little better. Maybe because I started taking vitamins on a daily basis. I did have skin problems (acne) until I started Ortho-Tricyclen. The entire time I’ve had the blockage I was on Ortho-tricyclen, and then I got that skin condition associated with birth control pills with dark spots on my face. That really bothered me so I got off the pill and took the depo-provera shot 3 weeks ago. The spots went away almost immediately but by the second week, I went nuts! I tried to attack my boyfriend (which is not like me!!!) I yelled at him and cried all the time. It was so bad that I started to take vitamin B-6 and now I feel better but I do not plan on taking the shot again. The diminished sex drive occurred after taking the shot. I haven’t gained any weight or anything. Could the shot be making it worse? IT’s mostly the ear blockage and fatigue that bother me right now. I will do what you said. Thank you for your help and I will definitely spread the word about your site.
Dr Roby Answers: This the worst thing that could have happened to you. They have injected the very hormone, progesterone, that causes soft-tissue swelling in women. It will affect you for about one year. I have seen some go on longer. I would try to “neutralize” the impact of the progesterone with homeopthic dilutions of the hormone itself. When we find the right strength, it makes the syptoms go away within seconds.

3 yr old daughter, 3rd infection in 3 months.
Thursday, October 10, 2002
My daughter will be 3 in December and has now had her third ear infection since July 5. Today she was prescribed Augmentin for 2 weeks, and after her next follow-up the doctor said if it wasn’t cleared up, she would be a candidate to take some kind of sulfa drug every night for 30 days. Do you know anything about this? I’ve heard that sulfa drugs can not be very good for you and my mother is allergic to them. I have severe allergy problems and take prescription Zyrtec. If you could please give me any information or help on this I would greatly appreciate it. I’m starting to be at my wits end. Thank you.
Dr. Roby Answers:
I do not think antibiotics are the answer. see my section on ear infections for some better ways to manage it, prevent it and understand why this is happening.

Son having trouble walking, can’t climb into chair or carseat…
Tuesday, August 27, 2002
I took my son to the ER Sunday night because I noticed how uncomfortable he was walking and how he couldn’t climb into his carseat or even on a chair. He had a 101.6 fever. They did x-rays and bloodwork to check for broken bones or bone infection. Everything was normal. His pediatrician thought that maybe the pain is a result of the fever, however he woke up this morning still in pain but without a fever. Do you have any ideas what’s wrong? Please advise.
Dr. Roby Answers:
This sound like an ear infection or increased ear pressure. See my section on ear infections and another section on airborne allergy. Take the boy off cow’s milk. Try soy milk or rice milk (called Rice Dream in most grocery stores). Try over the counter antihistamines such as Pediacare. Ask your pharmacist to reccommend one of the many over-the-counter antihistamine drops for infants. This won’t do any harm and I think it might clear up the problem.

Allergies – Ear Problems
Thursday, October 03, 2002
I am so glad to finally find someone who will listen to me! You come highly recommended to me by friends in Big Lake, Texas. Let me apologize ahead of time for rambling! I am a 34 year old female with one child. I moved to Abilene, Texas when I was three years old. I have always had allergy problems, taking shots from approximately 5 years old until 12 years old. When I say allergy problems, I mean watery eyes, running nose and sneezing. After the birth of my daughter, who is now 12 years old, my problems became much worse. Five years ago, my work location moved from an old courthouse to a brand new building located on the Taylor County fair grounds! I am there every day from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. right in the middle of dirt, horse “stuff”, cow “stuff”, hay, and what ever else is in the middle of nowhere. I was involved in a very bad car accident 8 years ago this Christmas, at which time my right jaw was broken.
For the last year I have literaly been through hell. In August of 2001 I was diagnosed with a sinus infection. My biggest problem was not pain or fever, but my right ear. I cannot hear. When it gets to the “better go to the Dr.” stage, I am usually having dizzy spells and vomiting. After numerous months of every kind of antibiotic, steroid pills and shots, sinus medications of every kind, mucus looseners and dryers by famil Dr. sent me to Dr. Appleton an allergy dr. in Abilene, Texas.He performed an allergy test & the results were as expected…REALLY BAD! I was immediatly placed on allergy shots twice a week. This continued for several weeks with the dosage being made stronger every so often. My experience taking the shots was not good. With original sinus infection continuing, I began developing food allergies NEVER before experienced. I quit taking the shots against everyone’s advise, I cannot be sick all the time! Next, went to an Ear, Nose and Throat Dr. who continued the antibiotic courses and added nasal irrigation (I do this once a day faithfully with only table salt and warm water)Tubes were placed in my ears in June 2002. The procedure was done at my insistance. Finally in July of 2002, I had sinus surgery. It has been 2 1/2 months since my surgery and I do feel better.Can I hear normally? NO – Is it better? YES.
Right before my surgery, I met a women who knows quite a bit about vitamins and herbs. I am taking a ridiculous amount of vitamins and alternative medications. Examples include, large amounts of buffered vitamin c, ginko biloba, manganese, B-12, olive leaf, colloidal silver, a good all around multi vitamin containing herbs and vitamins, oil of oregano (ran out, have not purchased more)quercetin (ran out, have not purchased more, finished a bottle of Echinacea. I take Zytec on pretty much a daily basic. I have also been to manual therapist, and a person who ajusted by “harmonic balance” (“Bowtec for Health)? I am not drinking anything except water and a little fruit juice. I drink a least 12-8 oz. glasses of water a day and try to drink more. I have had several hearing test and depending on my sinus situation at the time of testing, the results have varied greatly. For example, a test performed on Monday, with my nose clear and ears clogged would show severe nerve damage in the ear. I I go back on Friday, with a runny nose and clear ears my hearing test is normal with no damage? This has happeded more than once. The Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist is not able to give any explanation. At times it feels like a sock is inside my right ear.
Right now, I do not have a feeling of fullness in my ear, but my hearing is probably not 100%. I am eating more and more raw vegetables and fruit, little meat. Weight is an annoying problem. I think I am eating healthy, but never seem to lose weight. I really do not gain, but cannot seem to loose. I definitely suffer from PMS. I say that because my attitute changes severely and I swell. The week after my period is the best week of the whole month! I have discussed with you all I can remember off the top of my head. I have copies of all allergy test results and have also had an MRI and a CAT Scan to rule out any tumor activity in my ear canal. If you need more information of would like copies of any test, please advise. I would love to hear from you and would love to come to Austin and see you in person. Please respond to my letter! Thank you for your time.
Dr. Roby Answers:
Everything you describe is a natural consequence of your changing hormones. I am so sorry you had to go through all that surgery. Once we put your balance back like it was 5 or 10 years ago you stop having all these symptoms. Hormone imbalance causes soft-tissue swelling. The ear tubes are a common area of swelling and that has caused your ear problems. Sinuses as well. Many of your questions relating to weight, ear problems and sinusitis are addressed in my section on “Hormone Imbalance” on my website. Please read that section again. Let me know how much of that material applies to you. I can then address your specific questions much more efficiently.

Otitis media in each ear
Monday, September 02, 2002
Before I even ask my question, I must comment on the extremely well designed and executed web site. I could not have asked for a simpler or more complete on-line resource. Thanks for taking the time to design, develop and successfully launch and maintain a great web site.
Here’s my question:
Background Info:
I am 45 year old male, moved to Austin from Santa Fe two years ago and did not have any previous allergies but suspect
Current Problem:
I recently went to my Dr. with ear infections, (7/3/02) was diagnosed with otitis media in each ear, given a prescription for antibiotics, took all the medication, was fine for about two weeks and came down with the same ear infections again (7/28/02). I was given a prescription for antibiotics, took all the medication, was fine for about three weeks and came down with the same ear infections again (8/28/02).
I am currently in day 6 of the 7 day treatment (Biaxin 500 mg.) along with Liquibid-D tablets for congestion. But, I fear that as soon as I complete this cycle of antibiotics I will start all over again. I have never had allergies before and would like to get a strategy from you in order to break this cycle. I am really starting to get the hint that I might be in an allergy/ear infection cycle. Please help!! Could you suggest a strategy such as allergen testing and the use of an ozone generator in the house to keep me from falling back into this allergy/ear infection cycle. Thank you very much.
PS – I currently use the 3M Filtrete Ultra Allergen filters in my HVAC return lines. However, I still wake up every morning with my mucous membranes swollen and congested.
Dr. Roby Answers:
What you really need is a medrol 4mg dospak (a short course of oral steroids). The antibiotics are a “shot in the dark” and unlikely to resolve the problem.

Blocked eustachean tube, severe allergies & fibromyalgia
Thursday, August 29, 2002
Hi Dr. Roby, I notice your advice for a blocked eustachean tube is to use antihistamines. I have severe allergies (I have fibromyalgia also). My doctor put me on antibiotics and antihistamine. After several weeks, my ear was still blocked, so he put me on Extendryl, and another antibiotic, and ear drops. I went to an ear nose and throat specialist, because my hearing was totally blocked, and he told me to not take any antihistamines, because he said they would cause the fluid in the ear to become “like jello”. I stopped the Extendryl. He put me on guafenesin, and Flonase, and my ear did not open up, and now he recommends a tube. Do you think I should take the Extendryl? I would appreciate your advice, as I do not want to get a tube at my age.
Dr. Roby Replies:
He does tubes for a living…$5,000.00 per tube. That solves nothing. Review my section on ear infections. Follow my food restrictions. Walk one hour daily. See my section on “hormone allergy”. Fibromyalgia is part of the same picture.
Many types of allergy have their basis in hormone reactions. This is particularly of ladies who experience increasing symptoms as they undergo hormone changes, usually in their late twenties or after the babies are born.
Check out that section and let me know how those characteristics apply to you and then I can get more specific. You may find some useful areas to explore in your search for medical solutions. Areas such as dietary changes, low level exercise and alternative approaches to solving medical problems.

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