Ouch! Earaches can be very unpleasant and painful… read on how Homeopathy can help!
Earaches most often occur, not surprisingly, in the colder autumn and winter months. They are usually caused by an infection behind the ear drum. A virus or bacteria cause the area behind the eardrum to become inflamed. The condition is most common in children. This is because their Eustachian tubes (the tiny canal which connects the middle ear to the upper respiratory tract) are narrower in diameter, more horizontal in orientation, and closer at the nasal opening of the Eustachian tube to the adenoids.
There are two types of ear infections – acute otitis media (acute middle ear infection) and otitis media with effusion (also known as ‘glue ear’).
Acute Otitis Media comes on quickly and is accompanied by swelling and redness in the ear behind and around the ear drum. Fever, ear pain, and hearing impairment often occur as a result of trapped fluid and/or mucus in the middle ear. Glue ear usually occurs after ear infections following a cold when mucus continues to build up in the middle ear. This can cause the feeling of the ear being ‘full’ and affect the ability to hear clearly. It may only last a few days, but can take many weeks to clear. Consult your GP if deafness or poor hearing persists so that the level of hearing can be monitored.
The most common symptoms of a middle ear infection include ear pain, tugging and pulling at the ears, irritability, fever, difficulty hearing, loss of balance, decreased appetite, to name a few. Most ear infections are due to a virus and usually clear within 24 to 48 hours. If not, you should consult your doctor. If your child is prone to ear infections or if they have repeated earaches each winter, or if the earache forms part of a picture of frequent colds and chesty coughs, there is an underlying constitutional weakness for which a professional homeopath should be consulted.
Homeopathic Remedies that may be useful for Earaches
- Aconite – sudden and abrupt onset of pain in ear, especially after a chill in cold/dry weather. Unbearable pain and usually worse at night. Some improvement by local heat. Skin is burning and dry. Fever with shivering. Anxious, restless and fearful.
- Apis – stinging, burning, pricking pain. The external ear may be red and tender. Eased by cold compresses, made worse by heat. Hot dry skin alternating with perspiration.
- Belladonna – throbbing pain in ear. Very hot dry skin, deep redness of ear or cheeks. Glassy eyes and dilated pupils. Hot compresses give relief.
- Chamomilla – stabbing pain. Intolerable pain, the person becomes cross and irritable, nothing pleases. The child wants to be carried and rocked.
- Pulsatilla – jerking, tearing pain. The ears are hot. Pain is made worse by heat. Miserable and whining, responds to cuddling and affection.
- Silica – shooting pain in ear. Feeling of stoppage in ear, better when yawning or swallowing. Swollen glands. The pain is ameliorated by warmth, warm wraps around the head. Sensitive to all impressions. Starts from slight noise. Sensitive and weeping mood.
Earache which ceases suddenly followed by the appearance of pus discharging from the ear canal most likely means that the eardrum has burst. This is not an emergency because the pressure in the ear has been relieved. When the infection has subsided with treatment, the eardrum will heal. The perforation will close and hearing will return to normal. At this point you might have to change to a remedy which is indicated by the type of pus being discharged.
- Hepar sulphuris – yellow pus, flows easily. Very sensitive to draughts.
- Kali muriaticum – thick, white, stringy pus. Very sticky and difficult to clean.
- Pulsatilla – yellow/green pus. Thick and sticky.
If ENT infections are promptly and correctly treated, glue ear is not likely to occur. However, if the condition has been present for a long time, treatment using only ‘first aid’ homeopathic remedies is unlikely to be enough. So it will be wise to contact an experienced homeopath who will evaluate the whole person, taking into account the person’s past medical history and family history.
Lastly, the following homeopathic remedies may be helping a ‘glue ear’:
- Kali muriaticum – chronic catarrh. Mouth breathing. Recurrent tonsillitis.
- Pulsatilla: deafness – intermittently hard of hearing. Variable deafness. Squelching, bubbling noises in the ear.
Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of your physician or health care provider. First aid situations may require medical or hospital care. Do not use this article as a means to diagnose a health condition. Speak to your doctor if you think that your condition may be serious, before discontinuing any medication that has been prescribed for you, or before starting any new treatment.
Contact me if you have any questions.
Ulrike Holzer LSECH MSCH MARH RHom