Alternatives to Ear Tubes? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 03-20-2009, 04:12 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yesterday I took my 13 month old DS to see an ENT for chronic croup issues that put him in the hospital last week. While there, the doc found that DS has his third ear infection in about 7 months. (Both ears are infected.)

So my little guy has to by "put under" for a bronchoscopy (to check his airways because of the recurrent croup) and the doctor says, "While he's under, we might as well put in ear tubes at the same time."

Woah, what?

I know three ear infection is a lot - especially given that neither of our older kids has ever had a single ear infection. But tubes??

I'm madly googling, trying to find out if this is something we should do, or if there are alternative ways to prevent and treat ear infections. I certainly don't want this little guy to have chronic ear infections, but are tubes our only/best option?

Has anyone dealt with these issues? Have any insight for me? I'm just not feeling comfortable with how abruptly the ear tube thing was thrust upon us. We're supposed to schedule for 1-2 weeks out, so any help is appreciated!!

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#2 of 23 Old 03-20-2009, 04:42 PM
 
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Have you made any dietary changes? There is a strong correlation between eliminating dairy (completely, even the trace amounts) and ear infections stopping. Also, I'd look into cranial-sacral therapy and/or chiropractic care, that can help with structural issues that are contributing to poor drainage.
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#3 of 23 Old 03-20-2009, 04:44 PM
 
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Too lazy to find the "Yeah that" emoticon. But yes, try eliminating dairy first. That could help with both things since dairy is mucous producing (I believe that gluten is too, but someone else may know more about that).

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#4 of 23 Old 03-20-2009, 04:49 PM
 
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We had a referral for ear tubes last winter after our second winter of constant ear infections (and now 2 allergies to antibiotics).

We eliminated dairy and the ear infections *stopped*. We challenged the dairy 4 months later, DS caught a cold and it became an ear infection within 6 days. We took the dairy back out and we've been free of ear infections since.
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#5 of 23 Old 03-20-2009, 04:53 PM
 
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I don't know how you feel about using medications on your child but this is my experience with our daughter.

When she was little she had ear infections for several months solidly. We were sent to an ENT for a consult for placing tubes. Tubes were recommended. This was before decongestants were no longer recommended for children under 3. Before that our doctor always recommended that we give a decongestant to dry the fluid in the ears out when the kids had ear infections. We usually gave a dose or two and then stopped when the kids felt better. Well the chronic ear infections were around this time of year. It was a situation where the infection would get cleared up but the fluid would remain and get reinfected. We decided to try really hard to get the fluid in her ears gone. So we gave dimatap twice a day for two weeks to dry the fluid up. We figured that if we could get this case of cleared up then cold and flu season would be over and we would have all summer for her to grow. Usually kids grow out of ear infection problems when their Eustachian tubes grow so that fluid can drain easier.

It worked like a charm. We haven't had an ear infection since. I do know that the reason that decongestants are no longer recommended for young children is due to the risks of side effects and overdose. So if you do decide to go this route I'd talk to your doctor and get the proper dosing for your child. Even better would be if anyone out there knows of anything herbal or dietary that would act as a decongestant and dry those ears out.

Just wanted to add that we also started gently massaging the area where the Eustachian tubes are to try and promote drainage of fluid from the ear.

Of course I did all of that because I wanted to avoid my daughter being put under anesthesia.

Mom to DS 4/24/03 and DD 4/17/06
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#6 of 23 Old 03-20-2009, 05:08 PM
 
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My daughter had already been off dairy for a year when she had began having chronic ear infections. Having tubes put in is really just ventilating a wound which is an ancient way to cure infections. For me the worst part what having my baby girl put under but since you already are doing that I don't see the problem.

I'm sorry I'm not giving you the natural answer you are looking for. I was really afraid to have my daughter get tubes but as soon as she woke up from the procedure she was doing so much better. I thought she was verbal before but once she could hear, wow, did she talk up a storm.

She was 2 years old when the ear infections started and it took about 3 months to get everything coordinated and the tubes put in. I still wonder what receptive language she lost in that time. This could account for the speed in which they are doing this.
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#7 of 23 Old 03-20-2009, 05:11 PM
 
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Remove dairy and visit a chiro.

We had tubes put in our oldest and he went on to suffer through lots of illnesses before we found the cause of his issues. My youngest was referred to an ENT to get tubes as well and I decided to try the chiro first. We eliminated dairy, started probiotics and he started getting weekly adjustments. He hasn't had an ear infection since.
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#8 of 23 Old 03-20-2009, 07:53 PM
 
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Removing dairy might also help the croup issue, negating the need for the bronchioscope. My ODS had recurrent spastic croup. Every time he had a cold we were in the ER with croup. In hind sight I'm nearly positive he had food intolerances. He had bad reflux as an infant and I think the reflux continued but stopped in his throat rather than being full spit up at around a yr. We thought it was simply reflux and it went away. But now I believe the reflux continuing irritated his airway and led to the croup.

Something to consider...

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#9 of 23 Old 03-20-2009, 10:32 PM
 
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My son has recurrent ear infections. When we went to the ENT (who was fantastic and didnt pressure at ALL) we decided to try a chiro. DS went two months without infection which was unheard of for him. We havent been in a while and he just was diagnosed with one today, so back to the chiro on Monday we go.
Cant hurt to try!
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#10 of 23 Old 03-22-2009, 02:59 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Masel View Post
My daughter had already been off dairy for a year when she had began having chronic ear infections. Having tubes put in is really just ventilating a wound which is an ancient way to cure infections. For me the worst part what having my baby girl put under but since you already are doing that I don't see the problem.

I'm sorry I'm not giving you the natural answer you are looking for. I was really afraid to have my daughter get tubes but as soon as she woke up from the procedure she was doing so much better. I thought she was verbal before but once she could hear, wow, did she talk up a storm.

She was 2 years old when the ear infections started and it took about 3 months to get everything coordinated and the tubes put in. I still wonder what receptive language she lost in that time. This could account for the speed in which they are doing this.
DD3 had one ear infection after another, after she and I had already been dairy free since she was a few weeks old. Honestly, I am so glad we had them done. She's only had one ear infection since, and is a much better talker than DD5, who needs speech therapy due to ear infections/fluid.
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#11 of 23 Old 03-22-2009, 12:25 PM
 
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We also improved my dd's ears by visiting a chiro. We didn't know about removing dairy back then but after 3 recurrent ear infections we tried chiropractic- no ear infections in the last year.
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#12 of 23 Old 03-22-2009, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, you guys, thanks so much for the info. I have read a lot about the dairy connection, and also about chiro. We will definitely do both. This is really helpful!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurieG View Post
Removing dairy might also help the croup issue, negating the need for the bronchioscope. My ODS had recurrent spastic croup. Every time he had a cold we were in the ER with croup. In hind sight I'm nearly positive he had food intolerances. He had bad reflux as an infant and I think the reflux continued but stopped in his throat rather than being full spit up at around a yr. We thought it was simply reflux and it went away. But now I believe the reflux continuing irritated his airway and led to the croup.

Something to consider...
Yes, that's exactly what we're experiencing with the croup.

The ENT did prescribe Zantac, even though DS hasn't shown signs of reflux, apparently every baby has it to some degree, and he thinks that might help with the croup. I sure would like to avoid putting my baby under anesthesia at all!

DH and I were just talking this afternoon, since I'm supposed to call tomorrow to set up the bronchio/tubes appointment. He's like, are we sure this is the best thing to do? Are there other alternatives we could try first? I think we'll for sure eliminate dairy, and maybe do an elimination diet to look for other intolerances. And we'll take him to our chiro, and see how we go from there.

He's only 13 months, and has only had 3 ear infections, so I think we'll try these other approaches first, and if they don't work, we'll rethink the tubes.

Thanks again!

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#13 of 23 Old 03-22-2009, 08:06 PM
 
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This is a copy of a recent post of mine regarding ear infections. Hope it resolves quickly.

Pat

Quote:
Diary intolerance is the number one cause of fluid build up in ears.

"In one study an astonishing 86% of the children tested became free of ear problems once they came off dairy food."
http://www.safekids.co.uk/EarProblemsAndAllergies.html
http://www.healthychild.com/ear-infe...ternatives.htm
http://www.vitacost.com/science/conc...infection.html
http://www.femail.com.au/ear-infections-truestar.htm

Additionally, I was just reading that chiropractic adjustments could help with ear infections. I didn't know.

Breast milk in the ear or garlic oil is supposed to help too.

Also, add vitamin C and whole food probiotics, such as yogurt for the immune system.

"In an October study in the medical journal The Lancet, researchers found that antibiotics for ear infections are only beneficial to children under the age of 2 with both ears infected. Study leader Dr. Maroeska Rovers, of the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, said that researchers found that in most other cases, watchful waiting is OK."
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16140545/#storyContinued
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/ear-infections/EI99999

http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/...ics-vs-waiting

"Evidence has been building over the years showing most ear infections resolve on their own and antibiotics do little or nothing to speed the process. And, overuse of antibiotics leads to antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. The most important factor in treatment for ear infections is pain relief."


A landmark study published in Pediatrics has shown that treating ear infections with antibiotics has no benefit when compared to doing nothing. (McCormick 2005).
http://www.hpakids.org/holistic-heal...-Not-Necessary

My recommendation is classical homeopathy.
A friend's daughter had six rounds of antibiotics for ear infections and was scheduled for tube insertion. She saw the homeopath and gave her daughter the proscribed remedy. On return to the physician prior to the surgery, her ears were no longer infected. And she has had no ear infections since.

Our classical homeopathist first learned about homeopathy for her son with ear infections. Then she became schooled about homeopathy. I am a complete believer. Although, I still do not understand how it works. We are all on constitutional remedies and are rarely ever sick.

Another suggestion is Grapefruit Seed Extract. (Not grape seed.) GSE is also a natural anti-inflammatory. It is give orally, diluted in water. It tastes horrible though.

Here are some more ideas:
Garlic is a natural antibiotic.
Collodial silver is a natural antibiotic.
Vit C-large doses (natural fever reducer, iirc)
Cod liver oil- essential fatty acids help the immune system (We use Nordic Naturals -strawberry and our son loves it!)
Chamommilla is good for restlessness, discomfort, insomnia, unbearable pain; fever; child is impatient and angry.
Zinc lozenges help the immune system
Echinecea- We use Sambucol for Kids
Probiotics- for immune support, digestive system is 70% of immune system. Many of the serious side effects of cp are associated with a damaged gut, secondary to antibiotic use. Avoid antibiotics with cp and other viral illnesses.


And Dairy is the #1 culprit of fluid and mucus production leading to an environment conducive to ear infections.


Here is some info about homeopathic remedies (and treating ear infections).

* Aconite: Pain that comes on suddenly after a shock or chill.

* Belladonna: Severe throbbing pain; child is oversensitive and cranky.

* Chamomilla: Unbearable pain; fever; child is impatient and angry.

* Lycopodium: Pain on right side only; stopped-up nose; cold extremities.

* Magnesia phosphorica (or "homeopathic aspirin"): Pain reduced by the application of heat or pressure.

* Mercurius solubilis: Pain accompanied by swollen glands and sweating.
Do probiotics, cod liver oil, magnesium, vit. C, zinc, coconut oil, bone broths, green juices. Support the immune system. The gut is 70% of our immune system. Antibiotics damage the microbial balance in the gut.

Basically, you have to heal the gut to strengthen the immune system. Check out the "Healing the Gut-cheat sheet" at the top of the forum. http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=434071

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#14 of 23 Old 03-22-2009, 11:29 PM
 
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Alright Pat, I've been meaning to ask you this - I hope the OP doesn't mind me jumping in here:

As you know, Ellie has been battling ear infections since last fall. After you set me straight in November (following 2 rounds of abx that didn't resolve the infection) I've been using home remedies to treat the infections and we haven't done any further abx. The home remedies are working well and breastmilk in the ear alone generally resolves all indications of pain within 24 hrs. However, she continues to have fluid in her ears and general congestion most of the time. We know this by the mild runny nose and eyes which she has nearly every day, occassionally with yellow matter from her eyes.

We see the ENT in early April. I'm guessing she will want to do tubes since Ellie's speech is already slightly delayed. I'm not totally opposed to tubes - I think a serious speech delay is a bigger concern to me than the surgery. However, if we could resolve the congestion without tubes that would be ideal.

So I'm looking specifically for suggestions to resolving congestion as opposed to the infection itself. Here's what we're doing already:

1. Daily probiotics
2. Elimination of dairy and soy (with the exception of her daily dose of lactose from her Synthroid which I don't think there is a good alternative to right now). A 3 week trial of wheat/ gluten elimination showed no improvement, and reintroduction of wheat also showed no symptoms.
3. Vitamin C (how much would you recommend?)
4. Humidifier in her bedroom at night
5. Breastmilk in the ear at the first sign of discomfort or worsening congestion.
6. Homeopathic remedies for pain, fever, or infection
7. 1/3 Juice Plus capsule daily
8. And we were doing weekly chiro appts, but we haven't been there in a few weeks.

TIA!

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#15 of 23 Old 03-22-2009, 11:54 PM
 
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Laurie, to get symptomatic healing, the acute remedies will help. But, to get holistic healing, I'd recommend consulting a professional homeopath for prescribing a classical homeopathic remedy specifically for her individual constitution. The homeopath would take into consideration other issues and address them concurrently, as they are part of the picture: dietary issues, sleep, eczema, the runny eyes, throat clearing, behaviors, fears, aversions, cravings, etc. All come into play, birth issues, chronic illness, etc.

I always prefer whole food probiotics. Not sure which probiotics you all are using. But, none of the bottled probiotics have the same ability to withstand the stomach acid and remain viable into the large intestine as non-dairy kefir, fermented vegetables. Those are quite easy, if you need more info.

I assume you've seen the list of hidden dairy? http://www.kellymom.com/store/handou...dden-dairy.pdf

Corn seems to be an issue for many folks, especially GMO-corn, which is about 70% of the food supply now, unfortunately. I'd consider eliminating that. But, it is hard as it is everywhere also.
http://www.cornallergens.com/list/co...ergen-list.php

I'm no expert about gluten removal, but I believe I heard 6-12 weeks to see significant improvements. Dairy is quicker to see improvements (1-3 weeks). Gluten is hard to avoid completely also. And apparently, it is more important to be 100% gluten-free, or reactions are worse with any slight exposure, I believe.

I recommend vitamins and minerals come from whole foods. But, have you been following the digestion, absorption, detox pathways discussions to gut healing and allergy resolution? Basically, if we digest the proteins, they don't leak and thus we have fewer toxins to detox. Proper stomach acid (HCl) and specific nutrients are required for detox. You can read more about all of this here: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...e#post13406780

Here is more information about eliminating environmental allergens: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...l#post13380214

I just bumped the "Master Tonic" thread. Historically, we consumed natural antifungal, antibacterial, antiparasitic, antimicrobial foods, herbs and spices. I add some Master Tonic to my cooking and get the benefits naturally. And when we get a sniffle or something, we take a dose of Master Tonic straight for the antimicrobial benefits. It is powerful! http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1017724

I am not impressed with the juice plus product lines actually. The lack of nutritional clarity, along with the wellness claims are too marketing oriented for my scientific perspective.

I can find no information indicating quantities of actual fruits or vegetables in the product, nor organic status. Not even a nutritional indication that there is
x amount of vit A
y amount of vit B
z amount of vit C, etc.

The marketing claims have no indication of nutritional value to substantiate them, imo. We do actual green juicing with local, whole foods, and whole organic fruits and vegetables. But, I recommend that daily (along with bone broths) for maximizing bio-available vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and amino acids.

Love our chiro too!

I'd include some Epsom salt baths for detox also.


HTH, Pat

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#16 of 23 Old 03-23-2009, 05:22 AM
 
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umm ear tubes b/c of only 3 infections!? that's crazy!!

I would agree to eliminating dairy too. infections are painful and can damage eardrums/hearing. but really tubes should be a last resort! they can damage things too... and often don't work anyhow.

my dd has frequent inflammation, so we took her off dairy and have seen and improvement. we also use natural remedies b/c the ABX always took it away only to have it come back much worse.

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#17 of 23 Old 03-23-2009, 11:01 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaurieG View Post
1. Daily probiotics
2. Elimination of dairy and soy (with the exception of her daily dose of lactose from her Synthroid which I don't think there is a good alternative to right now). A 3 week trial of wheat/ gluten elimination showed no improvement, and reintroduction of wheat also showed no symptoms.
3. Vitamin C (how much would you recommend?)
4. Humidifier in her bedroom at night
5. Breastmilk in the ear at the first sign of discomfort or worsening congestion.
6. Homeopathic remedies for pain, fever, or infection
7. 1/3 Juice Plus capsule daily
8. And we were doing weekly chiro appts, but we haven't been there in a few weeks.
I thought there was soy in most (if not all) of the Juice Plus products.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WuWei View Post
I'm no expert about gluten removal, but I believe I heard 6-12 weeks to see significant improvements. Dairy is quicker to see improvements (1-3 weeks). Gluten is hard to avoid completely also. And apparently, it is more important to be 100% gluten-free, or reactions are worse with any slight exposure, I believe.
I have heard the same thing. I don't know if a week's trial tells you anything about intolerance for gluten. For me, it was at least 3-4 weeks.

Quote:
I am not impressed with the juice plus product lines actually. The lack of nutritional clarity, along with the wellness claims are too marketing oriented for my scientific perspective.

I can find no information indicating quantities of actual fruits or vegetables in the product, nor organic status. Not even a nutritional indication that there is
x amount of vit A
y amount of vit B
z amount of vit C, etc.
According to Wikipedia, the Juice Plus gummies are 85% corn syrup. Yum.... I was not impressed either. The person who presented them to our group talked about how you shouldn't take a pill. You should get your nutrients from whole foods, so you should... take their pill. What?!?!

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#18 of 23 Old 03-23-2009, 11:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kjbrown92 View Post
According to Wikipedia, the Juice Plus gummies are 85% corn syrup. Yum.... I was not impressed either. The person who presented them to our group talked about how you shouldn't take a pill. You should get your nutrients from whole foods, so you should... take their pill. What?!?!
Wow, I read that whole wiki entry. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juice_Plus It is shocking. A local naturopathic physician sells Juice Plus. And we were just having this same little debate last Sunday.


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#19 of 23 Old 03-23-2009, 12:03 PM
 
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Only have a second this am but I wanted to say I believe the JP gummies do have soy but the capsules do not. We sprinkle a bit of the capsule into Ellie's drink. Pat, I agree with you re: getting nutrients from food ideally and also share some of your concerns about the lack of concrete info on dosage in JP. However, given that Ellie eats very little in the way of anything this is a good way to get a variety of fruits and veggies into her.

Kathy - I was off gluten for about 3 1/2 weeks with no obvious improvement. But maybe I need to go longer still.

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#20 of 23 Old 03-23-2009, 12:38 PM
 
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Laurie, you've had other structural/physical misalignment issues, though, and so I'd tend to look there. But I know you've seen a lot of people, too. The chiro now, and a PT person? CST too? I've sometimes wondered if, for more complex cases, either the right person or one particular technique are more essential than for others. Especially for mouth/ear/head type stuff, CST seems perfectly suited--if you can find a practitioner you mesh with. Was that a problem for you and your LO? (My memory is hazy...)

I know my son, last summer at least, wasn't holding adjustments well (we're not going now, but due to finances, I think our CST was great), so the continuing visits, if feasible, seem like a good idea. Though then again--sometimes stopping and seeing if anything changes is a good thing.

And I'll flout all the good advice from Pat and say that I think a multivitamin/mineral supp is a great idea. Whole foods, yeah they're fundamental, but you've got a fair amount going on, and even when things are straightforward, getting enough of some of these nutrients through food is just really challenging. But I'm getting better on pills, so that's my bias.
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#21 of 23 Old 03-23-2009, 09:02 PM
 
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I love getting all of your perspectives! You really help me think through blocks.

Pat, thanks for the links - esp the one about the environmental allergies. I've been thinking in this direction for a few days.

I am really thinking right now that the issue is not another food intolerance. She did have a great couple of days a few weeks ago. I'm wondering if the stars were aligned just right that day. Her torticollis was great then too, but now its worse again. The PT theorizes that the Torticollis is a factor of the fluid (like she is holding her head tilted to compensate). I've been thinking about going back to the chiro to see if she needs an adjustment and that's why we're sliding backward with the tort (I'm sure she does - she always needs an adjustment). It's frustrating, b/c these issues are all related but nobody can seem to get to the bottom of it - The chiro had us focus on PT since her adjustments weren't holding, the PT thinks the issue is the fluid since we aren't progressing there. Ugh.

Anyhow, yes Tanya - we did do CST at one time. I really liked the CST but Ellie was tormented by it. She actually was friendly with the CST (she generally is very suspicious of people she doesn't know but with the CST she was friendly), but during the treatments she would scream bloody murder. The CST said Ellie wasn't hurt or scared, just vocalizing her frustration with the situation. But it was hard for me to keep going through that. Plus, of all the people we are / have seen the CST is the most expensive and the furthest away.

Sigh.... Negativity be gone....

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#22 of 23 Old 03-23-2009, 09:23 PM
 
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FWIW, I think my son's poor ability to hold adjustments is basically related to nutrition (which for us is thrown off by the toxic load issue--he didn't get adequate stores of just about anything from me). CST is expensive, I'm hoping later this year we can get back to it. For us, the things I'm working on, that all seem to fit together and reinforce each other (either positively or negatively) are nutrition (we do lots o' supps), lowering toxic load, working on happiness/attitude (I wasn't feeling good and it was really affecting the household), and if we could afford it, we'd do something structural, and heck, if we had something energetic (either acupuncture or homeopathy) I think that would be good support too. But I think it's sort of chipping away, a little progress here, a little there, and then I think now things may be building on each other in a good way. Not saying it's the same for you, but these all seem to work together, is my impression (when there's a more complex situation going on).
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#23 of 23 Old 03-25-2009, 03:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the info!

At this point, we are NOT scheduling the ear tubes or the bronchioscopy.

We are going gluten and dairy free.

We are taking DS to see a Naturopathic Doctor who also specializes in CST.

Hopefully this will yield favorable result with no more antibiotics or trips to the ER!

If not, we'll rethink ear tubes at a later point.

Thanks again!!

slinggirl.gif  Melissa: wife todh_malesling.GIF, mama to 5 dear children grouphug.gif and remembering Matthias angel2.gif (8.9.05 - 8.10.05)

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