The goal of most doctors and therapists is to rid the middle ear of infection before more serious complications set in. Treatment usually involves eliminating the causes of otitis media, killing any invading bacteria, boosting the immune system, and reducing swelling in the Eustachian tubes.
In conventional or allopathic treatment oral and topical analgesics are given to treat the pain caused by otitis media. Oral agents include ibuprofen, paracetamol and narcotics. Topical agents include antipyrine and benzocaine ear drops. Decongestants and antihistamines either nasal or oral are also recommended.
Antibiotics have significant rate of potential side effects, and a recent trial has found increased rate of recurrence in children who were treated with amoxicillin. Antihistamines will not cure but causes side effects, including drowsiness and nervousness.
Many homoeopathic medicines are used to successfully eliminate recurrent otitis media. Homoeopathy cure can challenge the immune system and successfully prevent and treat various infections, leading to stronger and healthier individuals who do not get severely or recurrently ill.
Antibiotics are only helpful in certain bacterial infections; also viral diseases are particularly common amongst children where conventional or allopathic medicines offer little help. Homoeopathy differs from conventional medicine in that it doesn’t focus on treating ear infections as a separate problem but instead treats the child as a whole.
This same child who has ear infections may also have other physical or emotional symptoms. They have a certain type of personality, certain likes and dislikes and many other things that make them a unique person. All of this information helps in choosing the right homoeopathic medicine which matches the whole pattern of symptoms. This one right remedy will help bring your child back into balance and allow their body to heal itself by strengthening the overall health of the child. Once the immune system is stimulated your child’s health improves, the ear infections and other problems will permanently go away.
There are 67 homoeopathy medicines which give great relief in different types of otitis media. However, the correct choice and the resulting relief is a matter of experience and right judgment on the part of the doctor. The treatment is decided after thorough case taking of the patient. Thus remedies are designer made unlike allopathy in which all patients receive the same drugs having various side effects although trade name may be different.
What is Otitis Media?
Otitis media refers to inflammation of middle ear by pyogenic organisms means pus forming bacteria. It is more common in infants and children. This disease has a typical course; first there is viral infection of upper respiratory tract then followed by pyogenic bacterial infection which invade the middle ear.
In this infection there is production of pus, fluid, and inflammation (swelling) in the area behind the eardrum (tympanic membrane) in the chamber called the middle ear.
The eustachian tubes, also called the auditory canals are tubes that connect the inner ear to the nose and throat, are not fully formed in children. As a result, fluid in the ear cannot drain properly into the nose as it does in adults. When the fluid builds up, it causes pressure, pain, and inflammation on the eardrum hence providing a good environment for bacteria to grow, resulting in an infection. Normally by age seven, the auditory canal becomes large enough to allow good drainage, and most children stop having ear infections at that age.
Acute suppurative otitis media: It starts as inflammation of the middle ear with fluid and mucus trapped inside the ear, resulting into pain. It is often preceded by upper respiratory symptoms. Acute otitis media (AOM) is most often purely viral and self-limited, as it usually accompanies viral URI (upper respiratory infection).
There is congestion of the ears and mild discomfort but the symptoms resolve with the underlying URI. If the middle ear, which is normally sterile, becomes contaminated with bacteria, pus and pressure in the middle ear can result, and this is called acute bacterial otitis media. Viral acute otitis media can lead to bacterial otitis media in a very short time, especially in children, but it usually does not. The individual with bacterial acute otitis media has the classic “earache”, pain that is more severe and continuous and is often accompanied by fever of 102 °F (39 °C) or more. Bacterial cases may result in perforation of the ear drum, infection of the mastoid space (mastoiditis) and in very rare cases further spread to cause bacterial meningitis.
Otitis media with effusion (serous otitis media, secretory otitis media, mucoid otitis media, glue ear) : It begins as acute otitis media, but the collection of fluid and mucus continues in the ear for 6 weeks or longer after the infection is over. Often the effusion is thick and viscid but sometimes it may be thin and serous. The fluid is always sterile.
In this condition the Eustachian tube is not functioning enough to ventilate the ear; this makes it harder for the ear to fight new infections. This fluid can also affect child’s hearing. Fluid in the middle ear sometimes causes conductive hearing impairment, but only when it interferes with the normal vibration of the eardrum by sounds waves.
Over weeks and months, middle ear fluid can become very thick and glue-like (thus the name glue ear), which increases the likelihood of its causing conductive hearing impairment.
Chronic otitis media: In this the infection persists and can cause ongoing damage to the middle ear and eardrum. This is not as painful as acute otitis media, but it can last for longer and the infection can occur repeatedly.
Chronic otitis media can also be caused by a condition called cholesteatoma, which is a benign growth of skin in the middle ear behind the eardrum. Chronic suppurative otitis media involves a perforation (hole) in the tympanic membrane and active bacterial infection within the middle ear space for several weeks or more. There may be enough pus that it drains to the outside of the ear (otorrhea).This disease is much more common in persons with poor Eustachian tube function. Hearing impairment often accompanies this disease.
Aero-otitis media: It is non suppurative condition resulting from failure of Eustachian tube to maintain middle ear pressure at ambient atmospheric level. The usual cause is rapid descent during air flight, under-water diving or compression in pressure chamber.
Cholesteatoma: It is defined as presence of keratinizing squamous epithelium in the middle ear which is normally lined by ciliated columnar and cuboidal cells.
Signs & Symptoms
Acute otitis media causes pain, fever, and difficulty in hearing. If a child is too young to talk, signs of an ear infection can include crying, irritability, and trouble sleeping, and pulling on the ears.
Other symptoms that may be associated with an ear infection include sore throat (pharyngitis), neck pain, nasal congestion and discharge (rhinitis), headache, and ringing (tinnitus), buzzing, or other noise in the ear.
Symptoms in adults
Symptoms in children
If virulence of organism is high or resistance of the patient is poor then resolution will not take place and disease spreads beyond the confines of middle ear and lead to following complications :
Acute bacterial otitis media can cause pain that leads to sleepless nights for both children and parents, can cause eardrum perforations, not all of which heal, and can spread to cause mastoiditis and / or meningitis, brain abscess, and even death if a severe infection goes untreated long enough. High fever can occur and can cause febrile seizures.
Hearing Loss & Otitis Media
Children with recurrent episodes of acute otitis media and those suffering from otitis media with effusion or chronic otitis media, have higher risks of developing conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
This hearing loss is mainly due to fluid in the middle ear or rupture of the tympanic membrane. Prolonged duration of otitis media is associated with ossicular complications, and together with persistent tympanic membrane perforation contributes to the severity of both the disease and the hearing loss.
When a cholesteatoma or granulation tissue is present in the middle ear, the degree of hearing loss and ossicular destruction is even greater.
Periods of conductive hearing loss from otitis media may have a detrimental effect on speech development in children. Recent studies have also linked otitis media to educational problems, attention disorders, and problems with social adaptation. Furthermore it has been demonstrated that patients suffering from otitis media have more depression / anxiety-related disorders compared to individuals with normal hearing.
Once the infections resolve and hearing thresholds return to normal, childhood otitis media may still cause minor and irreversible damage to the middle ear and cochlea.
Hence, to relieve the symptoms of otitis media by promoting the immune system with the help of a safe, natural and effective treatment consider homoeopathy.
You can provide a great deal of symptomatic relief for an infected ear at home.
Although diet alone won’t cure an ear infection, nutritionists suggest using the following vitamins and supplements to fight a viral infection:
Vitamin A: One should increase the uptake of natural vitamin A to improve overall health and to prevent infection. Food rich in vitamin A are eggs, milk, fishes, green leaves and so on.
Vitamin C: This vitamin helps to fight infection, increases immunity of the body and also help in repairing wound.