Poor Immune System, ear infection that won't go away - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-18-2009, 01:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi mamas,
I am absolutely desperate, so any advice you can give, no matter how insignificant it may seem to you, would be so greatly appreciated.
Back story: I work as a teacher on a special ed K-2 room and am exposed to a plethora of germs daily. I also have fibromyalgia and meniere's disease which are autoimmune disorders and hypothyroidism. I will also admit straight up that i don't drink enough water, eat enough fruits or vegetables and I rarely have the energy to exercise these days.
Current situation: Starting about 3 months ago I started coming down with everything under the sun. Diahrrhea and stomach cramps, then a mild cold, then more diarrhea and stomach cramps, then another cold, then thrush, and now a three week long and still going strong ear infection.
I have seen a doctor several times over the ear infection, and basically we are at the point where if it doesn't resolve by the end of this latest round of antibiotics then I go for sugery and get tubes put it. So far I have taken two different rounds of antibiotics, two different antibiotic/steroid ear drops, and a round of oral steroids for the infection. I am on nystatin for the thrush which has exploded out of control because of all the antibiotics. I also used gentian violet which cured the thrush until I reached the end of the course of treatment and stopped it, hence the thrush returned full force. I am also eating yogurt and taking probiotics and vit c crystals. I am also trying really hard to clean up my diet and weed out caffeine, processed foods and sugar.
I truly do not know what to do anymore and am at the end of my rope. psychologically I am not doing well at all and the steroids certainly have not helped any in that regard. I know three months doesn't seem like a long time but when you are sick and in pain it feels like an eternity. Does anyone have anything else they could recommend?
TIA for your help,

Michelle
PS... wanted to add too that I've been tested for HIV which was negative so that is not the cause of all of this thankfully.

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Old 04-18-2009, 04:37 PM
 
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First, I would encourage you to get some support. Either a woman's group, individual therapy to learn some coping strategies....it's hard being sick. It sounds very frustrating.
I may also look into chiropractic. It sounds like the traditional medical approach has not really helped you thus far with the ear situation, and all the other complications are now stressing your immune system further.
is your thyroid in check?

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Old 04-18-2009, 05:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Leafwood, I would dearly love to go see a chiro or even better an acupuncturist, but I am flat out broke right now and simply can not afford them. My thyroid is low and the dr just doubled my meds as the dosage I was on did nothing so perhaps that will help some.

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Old 04-18-2009, 05:41 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.
I would do whole food 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


Antibiotics rarely address ear infections, which are generally viral in origin. Nor are they more effective than watchful waiting, unless it is a double ear infection in a child younger than age 2.

Here is more information regarding avoiding drug-resistant bacteria: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...5&postcount=12 Basically, UNNECESSARY antibiotics are the cause, not avoiding antibiotics when NOT needed.



Pat

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Old 04-18-2009, 09:07 PM
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Vitamin D (2000 IU daily) has done wonders for my immune system.

"Our task is not to see the future, but to enable it."
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Old 04-18-2009, 11:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you Wu Wei and A&A for your input. Someone else just suggested Vit D as well and I already have to go in for more bloodwork so I will get my levels checked. I have wondered if dairy products might contribute to this, but the only dairy I eat is one container of yogurt a day. I never drink milk, ever. I guess if I'm allergic even yogurt might set it off but I am not a huge dairy consumer. As for the antibiotics, as much as I hate them I do think they were warranted. My ear drum ruptured two weeks ago and was bulging and getting ready to rupture again last tuesday when I went in to the doctors for the third time. So far I am ok but I just finished a course of steroids last night and I am really afraid that as that gets out of my system the inflamation and bulging will come back. Anyway, just wanted to thank you for your input. I will definitely look into these suggestions.

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Old 04-19-2009, 01:00 AM
 
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Originally Posted by wytchywoman View Post
So far I have taken two different rounds of antibiotics, two different antibiotic/steroid ear drops, and a round of oral steroids for the infection.
Essentially, I would ride it out until warm weather fully sets in, at which point your ears are likely to clear up. Then I would work HARD to rebuild your gut flora, which have been obliterated by all the antibiotics, which has in turn left you highly vulnerable to any/all bacterial and viral infections - infections which a normal gut would not allow into the bloodstream. I would completely stop all grain, sugars & sweeteners of ALL kinds, and unfermented dairy products, and begin probiotic supplementation via the powdered formulas (e.g., Jarrow) and real yogurt (as in, pastured real yogurt if you can find it - plain of course, not flavored), plain kefir, and such.
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Old 04-19-2009, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks Periwinkle. By unfermented dairy products I am assuming you meant hings like milk and cheese right? Does this include things like oat or rice milk ( if I can find it unsweetened). I have Jarrowdophilus brand probiotics that I have been taking for years, is it possible that I need a different brand because my body has developed a tolerance for that particular probiotic?
Thanks again for your advice.

PS... came back to add that I live in the desert, so we never truly get "bad" weather here. Actually it's going to reach close to 100 next week. I would love to think that summer coming would resolve this, but it's been summer like for the past few months now and the climate here is extremely dry. If this is season related I think it has far more to do with Spring and pollen than anything else.

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Old 04-19-2009, 03:19 PM
 
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It sounds to me like a flare-up of your autoimmune disorders (have you been tested for lupus by any chance?) combined with a bowel issue. 70% of your immune system is in your digestive tract. It's a good place to start solving immune system problems.
I wouldn't go for the tubes if I were you. I suffered from horrible ear infections from the time I was very young until I was in mid-grade school. The doctor kept pushing tubes, and my mom stood firm and said no. The ear infections went away on their own eventually with minimal scarring. I've seen threads on MDC that are chock full of natural ways to cure ear infections, and I recommend you try them! I hear they really work! And a doctor's only going to give you antibiotics, which will do absolutely nothing except make you resistant to even more antibiotics. I suggest a probiotic too, since you feel kind of crappy in general and don't eat very well. A supplement could do you a lot of good! I always felt under the weather and got every single ailment that was going around - and then some. I was sick all the time, tired, with headaches, sore joints, and developed shingles at 24 years old. Not until I started taking adrenal supplements and omega-3 fish oils did things improve, and I haven't been sick literally since I started taking the supplements.

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Old 04-19-2009, 10:16 PM
 
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It sounds like you may have a primary immunodeficency disease. Onset can be adult and happen around age 30. I have common variable immune deficiency and was diagnosed when I was 32 after the birth of my third child 20 years ago. Back then there wasn't even a name for what I have. Testing showed all three of my sons also have it. It is genetic but it is very, very rare for all the children to have it. We may be the only family.

There are 10 Warning Signs of Primary Immunodeficiency Disease (PID) and if you even have one you should be tested. It sounds like you may have several of the warning signs. It is common for people with IgA deficiency to have problems with diarrhea because IgA protects the digestive track. Ear and sinus infections are common in people with IgG deficiency.

If you have CVID, common variable immune deficiency, or hypogammaglobuinemia you can get IV therapy every 3 weeks and it can make a huge improvement in bacterial infections. You may still have problems with autoimmune diseases like fibromyalgia & arthritis. At any time you can get pneumonia, cellulitis, or other infecions very quickly and your family will probably always worry about you.

The therapy is very expensive. It can cost as much as $20,000 at a hospital. If you live in a state that lets you learn to infuse yourself it is around $3,000. You aren't supposed to be around children, crowds, movie theaters, church, ect. It is a life-threatening condition. Since you would have to quit your job you may be able to get SSI or Voc Rehab.

If you do have a PID it can be a big relief to know what is wrong. I wish you well. My sons and I are doing well after 20 years with CVID.

: Grandmother , 3 Adult Sons

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Old 04-19-2009, 11:01 PM
 
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Originally Posted by wytchywoman View Post
Thanks Periwinkle. By unfermented dairy products I am assuming you meant hings like milk and cheese right?
Yes for milk - I'd avoid all milk for a while. And it depends for cheese. If it's raw / unpasteurized cheese, then fine. Organic Valley makes a delicious raw cheddar that is widely available. And as for butter, only if it's cultured butter.

Quote:
Does this include things like oat or rice milk ( if I can find it unsweetened).
Completely different foods. Oat milk and rice milk (organic, unsweetened) would be fine - they aren't dairy products.
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Old 04-20-2009, 12:50 AM
 
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I second the suggestion about lupus testing. I talked to a woman today that told me she had many reoccurring infections of the ear, nose, urinary, ect today and she just found out she has lupus. She said it took years to be diagnosed.
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Old 04-20-2009, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the continued suggestions. I've had CBC's run and my white blood cell and platelets are low. Could lupus initially show up as something like that? or is there a specific test that is run for lupus that has to be requested? Also, in relation to PID, how does one test for that? Can I go to my PCP and request a test or is this something that needs to be dealt with by a geneticist? It does sound highly suspicious, for both my older son and myself. I had a really hard time almost a year ago with what may have been MRSA but no one ever figured out what it was, definitely lots of problematic cellulitis though, huge spots of it. I am definitely going to look into this. Unfortunately I don't have $20,000, are there any alternative treatments?

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Old 04-21-2009, 03:59 AM
 
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To test for PID your primary care provider would probably send you to an immunologist. You would have a blood test for at least IgA, IgG, IgM, and IgG subclasses. It will probably take a week or so to get the results. Of course the primary care provider could order the tests and it would be much quicker. If you are hospitalized you can ask if the tests can be done.

If your IgG is low the doctor may want to test how well you can form antibodies. You would have a blood test to see antibody levels you have to something like 14 different strains of pneumonia vaccines. Then you get the vaccine. Then 3 months (it may not be that long now) later you have your blood drawn and tested to see your pneumonia antibody levels. If you don't form antibodies well enough that pretty much means gamma globulin IVs every 3 weeks for life.

Not all immunologists have had patients with PID or know what to do. Only 1 in 50,000 people have a PID. That includes people with just an IgA deficiency that may not even have any problems. Moving to Tucson I had to go to 3 immunologists before I found one that understood how to manage someone who has been having gamma globulin IVs. Immunologists at university hospitals are usually best. Once the immunologist sets up your medications you usually only have to see them once a year. You may also have an infectious disease doctor so if you get a wierd infection you already have a doctor.

I know way too much about this. We have lived in several cities and been treated at lots of hospitals.

: Grandmother , 3 Adult Sons

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Old 04-21-2009, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, what a coincidence. I live in Tucson as well. Can you PM me or post back with the Dr's you see here in town? Thanks. Also, although we ( my son and I ) have a hard time fighting things off, we have yet to be hospitalized. From what I have read so far hospitalization is pretty common with PID. Is that correct or is that just a worse case scenario?
Thanks again for all your help. I really appreciate it!

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Old 06-20-2010, 09:03 PM
 
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like Wytchymom I also have Fibromyalgia, and visit with people in my community alot with my volunteer work (I work at home on computer)

I have had a sinus/ear infection since May 30. I am pretty sure it was from the weekend i spent with nephews and swiming in my pool which was very very low in Chlorine.

1st round of Amoxicilin did help. my voice has returned but my right ear still felt full of fluid, although i could now hear movement when i would blow my nose. Before antibiotics i had no movement as it was FULL. Nurse Practitioner at hospital on wed June 3rd told me she would not prescribe meds except how bad my ear looked (it had been getting worse and worse up till then)

after one night camping i came home and developped the WORST sore throat earache. it hurt my neck on the outside even. I figure it was due to lack of sleep camping and smoke inhallation from campfire and took strepsils - which are helping at least i can talk now. I am pretty sure that as I type this i am fighting a fever (its how i feel all over - my skin hurts when I have a fever, albeit low grade)

ik already go to chiro often. I try to go for walks daily and swim often (pool) i had been taking oil of oregano for the infection but did not make a dent
and i am fighting with yeast infection after the round of antibiotics with both pill from probiotics and organic balkan style yogurt. I have also gone mostly grain free (removing most wheat oat and rice foods from my diet, replacing with mostly vegetable and protein and quinoa) i try to stay at no more than one cup of coffee and and appart from the yogurt which i take with special digestion supplements i am dairy free.

I have to remind myself to take the vit d which i normally only take in winter because of S.A.D.

any other suggestions?
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Old 06-21-2010, 01:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi Catpat,
Sorry you're so ill. I know how hard it is to deal with. The things I found that assisted me with the ear infections were the following:
1) Get seasonal allergies under control- I had horrible allergies which I think really caused my immune system to take a serious nose dive. It happened again this year too although not as bad as last year. Not sure if you suffer from seasonal allergies or not, but they certainly played a huge role in all the illnesses I developed.
2) Eliminate caffeine and processed foods- this has been really difficult for me but I am finally caffeine and gluten free and am working on sugars next. I would wean out one thing at a time as doing a total elimination diet seemed just way too much for me to handle.
3) Supplement well- I take multi-vit and D3 daily (received clarification from my son's rheumatologist that D2 isn't absorbed well by the body, it needs to be D3). Doing any kind of living foods supplement would probably help as well.
4) Acupuncture- I can't do this often ( and couldn't do it when I was really ill) because of cost, but I have used acupuncture to help strengthen my immune system and definitely got good results from it.
5)See a specialist- At this point , if I were you, I'd consult with an ENT dr. He was able to tell me that I wouldn't need tubes and to just give it more time. He also said that what I caught was simply bad luck and he had seen more adult cases of this type of infection that year than he had in the rest of his career as a physician, so something was definitely going around locally that was hitting adults hard. Consider seeing a specialist, they may have info that a primary care dr wouldn't about what you have and what would help you.
Hope you feel better soon!!!!!!

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