The ear comprises three areas- the outer ear, middle ear and inner ear. Each of these areas are prone to infection, leading to a range of symptoms.
What to look for
The outer ear can become inflamed or infected, causing pain which is often quite severe. There may be a discharge and hearing is often affected.
Causes of outer ear infection include: Otitis externa (ear inflammation) is often caused by infection.
Boils or abscesses. The build up of pus can cause acute pain in the ear, which usually disappears once the boil or abscess bursts and the pus is discharged. Swimmers ear, which is an infection brought on by bacteria entering the ear from polluted water. It can become chronic, particularly if the sufferer continues to swim. Fungal infection causing inflammation. It can be recurrent. Damage caused by probing with an external object.
When to seek further professional advice
If you have any of the above symptoms or think you might have an ear infection you should consult your doctor.
Homeopathy: Depending on the cause of the infection, there are various homeopathic remedies which may be used by practitioners. Earache is a common symptom of ear infections and the following remedies which may be prescribed to treat it: Hepar sulph. for earache with sharp pain. Belladonna for throbbing earache with redness.
Aromatherapy: Ear infections may be eased by massaging a blend of anti-infectious essential oils below the ear and along the neck. One drop of German camomile oil wiped carefully around the ear will help cool the area and aim at reducing the infection.
Western Herbalism: External and internal treatments can reduce inflammation and fight infection. Where the conditions are recurrent a longer-term program of treatment can reduce problems.
Other Therapies include: Reflexology, Acupressure, shiatsu, massage, Spiritual Healing, Crystal and gemstone therapy, Colour Therapy and Ayurvedic Medicine.
Aspirin and paracetamol will be given to relieve pain, and when there is bacterial infection in the middle or outer ear, antibiotics will be appropriate. Viral infections will usually clear in a few days but antihistamine drugs may be given. If a discharge is present in the outer ear it may need to be sucked out. When there is 'effusion' in the middle ear, causing it to swell and bulge outward, an operation to make a small hole in the eardrum may be necessary to drain the fluid. Grommets (small tubes) are inserted into this. External infection may be treated by antifungal or anti-bacterial drops. For cholesteatoma surgery will be required.
The information contained in this Site/Service is not intended nor is it implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice or taken for medical diagnosis or treatment.