August 31, 2006 in Features

Draining ear causes extreme pain

Peter H. Gott, M.D. The Spokesman-Review
 

Dear Dr. Gott: My 50-year-old son has had a draining ear for a year and a half. He has been to nine doctors, including ear specialists and doctors at a teaching university hospital at the University of Denver.

The fluid is clear but is not spinal fluid. There are no signs of infection.

He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at the time the drainage started, but doctors, including neurologists and otolaryngologists, see no connection.

All nine doctors have the same reaction: “How unusual – I’ve never seen anything like this.” They don’t seem to want to find out what could be causing this.

There is pain involved: A sharp pain will literally bring him to his knees. None of the doctors has seemed interested.

This is a most annoying and uncomfortable condition. When he chews, the fluid runs down his neck.

Is there any hope of improvement?

Dear Reader: Far be it for me to second-guess the cadre of doctors your son has had. However, a few thoughts are in order.

A draining ear usually means an infection or some other, noninfectious process. You don’t say what the ENT doctors discovered upon examination, but my bet is that there is a tiny opening in the eardrum through which sterile fluid is draining.

This has nothing to do with multiple sclerosis, a serious and progressive neurological disorder.

I would recommend a brief course of antibiotics followed by an MRI if the drainage continues. Should the diagnosis remain in doubt, you may choose to return to the specialists at the university hospital.

I’m afraid that I, like your son’s doctors, commonly say: “How unusual – I’ve never seen anything like this.” Keep me posted.

To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my health report “Ear Infections and Disorders.” Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

Dear Dr. Gott: Awhile back, I read in your column a suggestion from one of your readers that if you apply clear nail polish to skin tags, they will dry up and fall off.

I tried this method on skin tags on my neck by applying the clear polish twice a day, and on the fourth day, the tags dried up and fell off. The best part is that it has been almost a year, and they have not returned.

I also want to thank you for printing this easy solution, as I had tried a few products, and the only thing I lost was my money.

Dear Reader: Since I mentioned this quick and easy therapy for skin tags, I have received several very positive letters from readers who tried – successfully – to treat these annoyances with clear nail polish. Check off yet another success for alternative medical treatment.


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