For most people, an ear infection is the result of a viral or bacterial infection that goes away on its own. However, if you have chronic ear infections or the symptoms persist for long periods of time, your doctor might take a more aggressive approach in treating you. Before undergoing treatment, here are some of the options available to you.
If the symptoms of ear infection do not go away on their own, your doctor might recommend the use of antibiotics. Antibiotics are usually not a first choice because the more they are used, the less effective they can be. It is possible for bacteria that is causing the ear infection to become resistant to the antibiotics. As a result, some doctors choose to treat the symptoms of the infection, such as the pain.
If the antibiotics are ineffective or you experience chronic ear infections, the doctor could insert ear tubes. The tubes are designed to drain fluid that builds up in the ear and causes the infection. The tubes are inserted through a procedure known as myringotomy. During the surgery, the doctor will suction fluid out of your middle ear and insert the tiny tubes. Your doctor could opt to place tubes that fall out naturally or that require him or her to surgically remove them.
There is an alternative to inserting tubes into the middle ear. Laser-assisted myringotomy involves using a laser to help create a hole so that fluids drain out of the ear naturally.Your doctor does not need to give you any anesthesia, and the hole in the eardrum naturally closes. If your doctor determines that you still need to have tubes inserted into your ear, the laser can be used to guide the tubes into place. You might also be required to take antibiotics if the ear infection is the result of bacteria.
If the ear infection is accompanied by severe nasal blockage, the doctor could recommend having your adenoids removed. Once the adenoids are removed, you should experience an increase air flow to your nasal passages, which can help reduce the chances of fluids building up in the middle ear.
If you are experiencing chronic ear infections, it is important that you seek medical treatment to avoid further complications. A professional doctor, like those at Eastern Carolina Ear Nose & Throat-Head, can discuss your options and help determine what the best treatment is for your particular situation.
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