A middle ear infection is one of the most common types of ear infections observed in people around the world. Being also known by the name Otitis Media, the infection of this type is mostly observed affecting children, but it can also affect people from all age groups.
The middle ear is the space behind the eardrum which is connected to the back of the throat through a passage called the Eustachian tube. When congestion due to an allergy or cold blocks the Eustachian tube, the fluid increases inside the middle ear, thereby increasing the pressure on the rear of the eardrum. Along with the increase in the fluid inside the middle ear, the number of bacteria or viruses, which could have traversed through the eustachian tube, may also increase, thereby leading to infection inside the ear.
Otitis Media, if left unattended, can lead to the inflammation or infection of the ossicles (tiny bones inside the ear), which help in transferring the sound vibration from the eardrum to the inner ear, thereby eventually resulting in partial hearing loss.
Causes of Otitis Media:
Otitis Media results when there is an infection or malfunctioning of the eustachian tube. The eustachian tube helps to maintain the pressure difference between the outer ear and the middle ear. When the drainage of fluid from the middle ear doesn’t happen as desired, the fluid level inside the middle ear increases leading to an increase in the count of bacteria and viruses inside the middle ear. The various reasons for fluid entrapment inside the middle ear are
- Common cold or sore throat leading to swelling and congestion of the throat, nose, or eustachian tube linings
- Malformation of the eustachian tube
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Otitis Media is generally found to be common among children since they are the most susceptible to frequent cold, sore throat, and upper respiratory problems.
Otitis Media is further classified into three different categories:
- Acute Otitis Media: Fluid and mucus become trapped inside the ear causing swelling and redness.
- Otitis Media Effusion: Fluid and mucus continue to accumulate inside the ear even after the infection subsides.
- Chronic Otitis Media with Effusion: The accumulation of fluid and mucus repeats quite often even without symptoms of cold, sore throat, etc.
Symptoms of Otitis Media:
The earliest symptoms of acute Otitis Media often start 2 to 5 days after catching a cold or upper respiratory infection. The most common symptoms observed in the patients are:
- Pain inside the ear (could be mild or severe)
- Fluid draining from the ears
- Trouble in hearing
- A lack or difficulty in sleeping
- Tugging or pulling of the ear to one side
- A loss of balance
Diagnosis of Otitis Media:
An experienced doctor may carry out a thorough physical (visual) examination of the ear along with inquiries related to the general health of the patient to know more about issues, such as past infections of the ear, whether you were suffering a cold or any other sort of upper respiratory problems. During the physical examination, doctors may check the ears using a pneumatic otoscope which can help in determining the signs of ear infection or fluid buildup inside the ears. In certain cases, where patients complain of hearing difficulty, they may be advised to undergo a hearing test also. It is also important to note that the symptoms of otitis media may subside within 48 to 72 hours after the commencement of treatment. However, the chances are very high that the fluid may not drain out completely in the first instance itself and can get trapped inside for several months.
Homeopathic Remedies for Otitis Media:
Acute Otitis Media and its symptoms can be completely healed with homeopathic medication over a short period. The effectiveness of the treatment lies in a good patient and doctor relationship wherein the patient should be able to openly discuss with their homeopathic practitioner about various symptoms and the lifestyle they follow. A few of the most common remedies suggested for Otitis Media in homeopathy are shown below:
(i) Belladonna: Belladonna is an effective medicine when patients complain of symptoms, such as tearing pain in the middle and external parts of the ear, delirium while sleeping, repeated episodes of the pain, and sensitivity to the slightest draft of touch or light. The occurrence of fever can also indicate Belladonna.
(ii) Hepar Sulph: Hepar Sulph is suggested as a remedy when the ear infection might be in an advanced state. Bulging of the eardrum with pus formation, whizzing and throbbing in the ears, and difficulty in hearing indicate this remedy. The patient can be hypersensitive with a craving for cold things.
(iii) Chamomilla: When the patients complain about symptoms, such as earache with soreness, ringing in ears, swelling and heat driving patients frantic, and the sensation that their ears could have stopped working kind of deafness, this remedy may help. In such cases, chamomilla is identified as an excellent remedy.
(iv) Pulsatilla: Pulsatilla is recommended for ear pain or infection accompanying a common cold. Pain that turns worse in the evening and night times, the sensation of pressing out the ear, deep itching in the event of chronic infection, and hearing difficulty as if ears were stuffed with something indicate Pulsatilla.
(v) Mercurius Solubilis: Mercurius Solubilis is suggested as a remedy when you find pus discharge from the ears due to an infection. Sticking pain occurring mostly during the night time and inflammation in the external canal indicates this medicine.
A few other improvements or additional care habits and lifestyle modifications can prevent us from catching an infection, such as the common cold or respiratory allergies. We should take care of our children, safeguard them from getting exposed to chill or the cold weather and dusty atmosphere, advise them to wear cotton inside the ear during the bath, encourage a short bath than prolonged bath under the shower, etc.
So, if you or your child happen to suffer from a middle ear infection, follow all good care habits and count on homeopathy without a second thought for relief.