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07/Oct/2019

Eustachian tube dysfunction (ETD) is a frequent problem for individuals.  The dysfunction occurs in the Eustachian tubes that run from your ear to your throat when they become blocked with fluid. Their purpose is to make sure your ear does not back up with fluid or pressure and they are closed unless you are yawning, sneeze or swallow.

Causes

If you have recently suffered a cold, flu, or sinus infection, your Eustachian tube can build-up with fluid. If you have allergy problems, this can also increase the likelihood of a persistent or frequent build up in the ears. There are also other individuals who are more prone to having ETD.

  • Individuals who are obese are more prone. Obesity causes fatty deposits around the ears that creates the blockage.
  • Children are more prone.  Little ones have shorter and more straight Eustachian tubes which increase the likelihood of bacteria and fluid to get into the tube and become trapped.
  • If you smoke. Smoking damages the tiny hairs that sweep mucus away.

Symptoms

The symptoms of ETD can vary from person to person; however, here is a list of the signs to look for if you suspect you have ETD.

  • Ringing in one or both ears.
  • Sounds are muffled.
  • Clicking and popping in the ears.
  • Your ears feel full or plugged.
  • You are having trouble keeping your balance.

Treatment

ETD usually resolves on its own, especially if it results from the flu, a cold or sinus infection. Simple things such as yawning or chewing gum can help pop your ears and relieve the fluid. However, if you have allergies and it is constant, there are a few things you can do from home.

  • Invest in a neti-pot
  • Saline spray is an effective way to clean out the nasal area.
  • A nose spray can also reduce nasal inflammation and allow fluid to move more freely.
  • Taking an over-the-counter antihistamine such as Sudafed or Claritin.

Prevention

The way you can reduce the build-up of fluid in your ears is through prevention.

  • Don’t smoke.
  • If you are overweight, speak to your doctor about a weight loss plan.
  • Use a nose-spray, especially before you go outside if you have allergies.

If you have a constant problem with fluid, speak with your doctor about a treatment plan such as prescription nose sprays or medication that will reduce inflammation. If you suspect your infant has a fluid build-up, feed your child or offer a pacifier to loosen up the fluid. If your baby is tugging at his or her ears, crying more than usual, or waking in the night fussy or crying, it may be an ear infection.

Schedule an Appointment.

If you have tried everything from home and you still have problems with your ears, make an appointment with your doctor to see if you have a fluid build-up or if it is caused by something else. If you have ringing in your ear from tinnitus, you may need to see an audiologist.  Remember prevention is best, but if you are still suffering from a build-up of fluid, there are treatment options your doctor can discuss with you.

 


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26/Jun/2019

Everyone has cleared their throat at one time or another. The reasons differ from person to person; frequent throat clearing can be a sign of an underlying health condition related to allergies.  Apart from allergy-related conditions, frequent throat clearing can show other health-related problems or a habit.

Sometimes you may clear your throat to get another person’s attention or because you felt a tickle in your throat.  Frequent throat clearing may not only indicate a health condition, but it can also damage your vocal cords depending on how much you do it.

Other Throat Conditions

Conditions such as Zenker’s Diverticulum, a person has an unusual pouch that stops food from passing from the esophagus to the stomach.  When this happens, it may cause excess mucus in the throat.   Chronic Motor Tic Disorder starts in children and has other associated symptoms from spasms such as facial grimacing, rapid eye blinking, groans, and grunts.  Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder that also creates habits where grunting or throat clearing is a part of a habit or behavioral issue.

If you are not experiencing any conditions relating to neurological disorders, you may have acid reflux.  This can cause a person to clear their throat from a buildup of stomach acid coming up from the esophagus.

Medications can cause you to feel a tickle in your throat or as though something is stuck. Coughing or trying to clear your throat will not help.  Allergy medications such as Sudafed, for example, will dry your mouth out and will cause your throat to feel dry and scratchy.

  • Smoking or being around second-hand smoke can irritate your throat.
  • Environmental allergies like pollen and dust.
  • Food allergies can trigger your throat to tighten or tickle.
  • The side effect of medications can cause a dry mouth and throat.

 

Allergies

Most often, if allergies are something that you deal with, the frequent throat clearing causes excess drainage, at night while you have been laying down and mucus drains when you are sleeping.  If you suspect that your frequent throat clearing is because of any neurological related symptoms, please contact your doctor so you can receive proper testing.  However, if food or environmental allergies are your concern, it may be time to call your allergy or ear nose and throat doctor.

While you are waiting to get into your doctor for an appointment, there are things you can do to ease some symptoms.  Drink plenty of water if you are taking a medication that dries out your mouth.  Avoid smoking or being around anyone who is smoking.  Keep a journal of times when you eat when your throat restricts or you feel a tickle in your throat during or after you eat.  You can use this if you suspect food allergies for notes to provide to your doctor.  Avoid areas where your allergies flare or wear a mask when cleaning or mowing.

Frequent Throat Clearing


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