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How to get fluid behind the eardrum to drain?

Answered by
Dr. Zotaj Antoneta

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2004

Answered : 541 Questions

Posted on Tue, 5 Jun 2018 in Ear, Nose and Throat Problems
Question: Hello,

For past 4-5 weeks my ears are blocked. I have consulted my local ENT doctor according to whom there are fluids that has accumulated over my ear-drums. I was prescribed Cortizone spray to be taken through nose for 3 weeks and as exercise to blow a balloon through nose and after closing the nose to try and blow through the ears. When I try to blow through the ears, no air passes through. My hearing has gone substantially down and am hearing humming background sound always. My ENT doctor recommends the next step as to operate by making in-cession on the eardrum and inserting a balloon to drain out the air and fluid.
Is there any other medicine that can help and/or operations is the only alternative?

Answered by Dr. Zotaj Antoneta 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Medications are not helpful generally- see more explanations below

Detailed Answer:
Thank you for asking at HealthcareMagic.

I carefully read your question and understand your concern.

The condition you are having is called otitis media with effusion and is typically due to blockage of eustachian tubes which are the ones that help drain the ear fluids in the throat. it is generally a condition that might take weeks and months to settle and most of the times there is no need for treatment.

If the hearing is reduced and you are hearing noises (tinnitus) than the doctor might intervene. This would be more indicated in children as this condition might affect their speech if they are young children. In adults, the need for treatment is not so clear.

Tablets (and medication) are not generally found helpful. Because it is a mechanical condition (due to blockage of the tubes) then the only way to effectively help with it is making a way for the fluids to be drained. Sometimes with time, the tubes open up themselves but sometimes we can help with intervention. Tympanostomy is a surgery that can be done by causing a small opening in the eardrum and help drain the fluids and balance the pressures on both sides of the eardrum.

So to conclude I'd say that:
- medications are not found that much helpful
- time is probably the most effective "treatment"- most patients improve with time without really doing anything for it.
- nasal saline solutions might help dissolve secretions and are recommended regularly (at least 2 times a day)
- this might take weeks and months to settle and in adults, this is nothing to worry, children are the ones we would be more cautious
- if the tinnitus (noise in the ears) is really bothersome to you, then you can consider the tympanostomy (a tube inserted in the eardrum) to balance pressures and drain fluids.

I hope this is helpful and answers to your question but please feel free to contact me in case any more clarification is needed on this.

Kind regards,

Antoneta Zotaj, MD

Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Arnab Banerjee

The User accepted the expert's answer

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