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Old 02-01-2009, 06:57 AM   #1
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Exclamation What causes recurrent ear infections in adults?

I'm a middle aged adult. A few years ago I began getting ear infections which would recur 2-3 times a year. This coincided with my move to Galveston. I'm very careful not to get water in my ears. My doctor at the time blamed it on the area stating there was a high incidence of ear and sinus infections there, probably related to the high humidity, mold spores, pollen, and pollution from chemical plants. After I moved out of state, I thought the problem would resolve itself. It hasn't. After the 3rd or 4th ear infection, I developed tinnitus which seems to have gotten worse after my last infection which was just before Christmas. At that time I borrowed $85 to see a doctor. Thankfully, he gave me some ear drops and antibiotic samples which would have been too expensive for me to purchase. That took care of the infection and everything was fine for a while. Now both ears itch and the right one is draining. What is going on?! Can anyone enlighten me? Will this tinnitus ever go away? Sorry for so many questions but I'm not having much luck with my research into this so far.
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Old 02-01-2009, 12:27 PM   #2
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Re: What causes recurrent ear infections in adults?

Hi Boozjee and everyone else who may read this

I know you probably think I am going to give you an answer, but unfortunatly I can't. I am replying to your message hoping that I can get the answer to this problem as well. I posted a message about it a few weeks ago, but got no responses so I thought I would try again.

Since October I have been having this problem and have been to the doctor three times already. I thought it was because of my sinuses, but that only was the cause the first time. Everytime the antitbiotic works for a few weeks before the infection comes back. Unlike you Boozjee I don't have itching or draining, but I do get sharp pains in my ear. Everytime the doctor looks in she finds dark fluid which means infection.

I hope your problem resolves Boozjee

KDD
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Old 02-01-2009, 12:38 PM   #3
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Re: What causes recurrent ear infections in adults?

Hi KDD,

That's rough that you're getting the infections within weeks of your antibiotic treatments. It sounds like the antibiotics aren't totally eradicating the infection, just lessening it temporarily. At least I have a reprieve of 4-6 months between infections.

Mine started the same as yours. First a sinus infection that migrated to the ear. Actually, I think 3 of my ear infections started with the sinuses. However, since moving away from the Galveston area there's been no sinus problems, yet the ear infections continue.

Has your doctor offered any explanation for your repeated infections?
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Old 02-01-2009, 07:45 PM   #4
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Re: What causes recurrent ear infections in adults?

Boozjee: No explanation at all. They just keep giving me stronger antibiotics. The only problem is the stronger the antibiotic the more expensive it gets and I have no prescription coverage. I work in a pharmacy and can get some good discounts on some stuff, but then there is some stuff that I can't.

I wonder if its the fact that my doctor is only giving me oral antibiotics and not ear drops as well. One person at work was saying that it was weird that I didn't get any ear drops.

Unfortunatly this is something that, if it happens again (I just finished an antibiotic) I don't think I will be going back to the doctor. The crappy health insurance I have will only cover up to a certain amount of visits.

Has your doctor had anything to say?

KDD
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Old 02-02-2009, 12:29 PM   #5
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Re: What causes recurrent ear infections in adults?

have either of you been to a ENT? sounds like you would be a candidate to get tubes put in your ears. I don't have exp with infections but chronic fluid behind my ear drum

 
Old 02-02-2009, 01:02 PM   #6
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Re: What causes recurrent ear infections in adults?

Hi dolysods,

Yes, my doctor referred me to an ENT during my first ear infection. He put a wick in my ear to help it drain. If I had insurance right now, I would probably go back to one and ask about a tube. Hmm, chronic fluid behind the ear drum...........maybe that's what I have too. How does the doctor put te the tube in?
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Old 02-02-2009, 02:52 PM   #7
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Re: What causes recurrent ear infections in adults?

not sure. Mostly kids have it done. They are only under for about 15 minutes. I've read on this forum that adults take longer to adjust.. but i'm tired of this. I went to my family doc today and looks like i have a sinus and slight ear inf.. he said it wasn't red but my ear drum was bulging and opaque. He would only give me a zpak.. I guess it is better than nothing. There is a ENT in Columbus that i'm hoping to go if he is in network.

 
Old 02-02-2009, 07:24 PM   #8
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Re: What causes recurrent ear infections in adults?

Like Boozjee I have no insurance so I guess I am stuck. My mom suggested the same thing as you with the possibilty of tubes, but that doesn't look like an option right now.

Hopefully this last batch of antibiotics clears it up and I won't have to worry about it.

KDD
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Old 02-06-2009, 02:23 PM   #9
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Re: What causes recurrent ear infections in adults?

Maybe your not taking the antibiotics long enough. I was told by my ENT that it could take 4 to 6 weeks of antibiotics to clear the infection.

 
Old 02-06-2009, 09:25 PM   #10
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Re: What causes recurrent ear infections in adults?

I have had a similar problem for years. When I lay down at night, I can feel the drainage in my ears. When I get up in the morning, my ears are wet from the drainage. My ears are also extremely itchy. Whenever I mention this to any docs, they always say it is impossible for my ears to be wet unless there is a hole in my eardrum, which there isn't. Well, I'm there in the morning, and they are moist.

I have had docs tell me that my ear canals are narrow, and that's why I end up with "swimmer's ear" quite a bit. It's easier for the bacteria to "sit there" and not move like it should.

This works for me when my ears start to get sore and I feel like I'm headed for an infection: Equal parts rubbing alcohol and peroxide, or equal parts alcohol and white vinegar. A few drops in each ear.

One time, a nurse practitioner prescribed an antibiotic eye drop. She said it actually worked better than the ear drops.

 
Old 02-07-2009, 03:45 AM   #11
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Re: What causes recurrent ear infections in adults?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Boozjee View Post
... A few years ago I began getting ear infections which would recur 2-3 times a year. This coincided with my move to Galveston. .....
It could be Lyme disease...doctors aren't good at diagnosing it. It's an epidemic in some parts of the country and I suspect that if others in the Galveston area have the symptoms, it may be a problem there also.

Special antibiotics are used to treat Lyme over a longer period of time than they would treat "typical" infections.

Good luck.

 
Old 02-07-2009, 05:23 AM   #12
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Re: What causes recurrent ear infections in adults?

Colinette,
Mine do the exact same thing as what you just described. I can feel them drain at night and if I dab my ear with a piece of tissue, it's wet. My ears seem to go back and forth from draining and itchy to flaky and itchy.
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Old 02-07-2009, 06:42 PM   #13
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Re: What causes recurrent ear infections in adults?

Boozjee,

Yep, same with me. Do you have any other respiratory/sinus issues? I do.

 
Old 02-07-2009, 07:32 PM   #14
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Re: What causes recurrent ear infections in adults?

No sinus issues since moving out of Texas. Don't know what it was there but my nose was always stuffed up - or running and stuffed up at the same time. I could never breath out of both nostrils. I also had sinus infections, which let to ear infections. Thankfully, the sinus problem has cleared up. Still, the ear problems remain. How about you?
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Old 02-07-2009, 09:04 PM   #15
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Re: What causes recurrent ear infections in adults?

My nose is always stuffed up. There are times when I feel like a plegm machine, between what comes out of my ears and what's clogged in my head. There are days when I get up in the morning and I have so much crud to spit up.

I was once told I had vasomotor rhinitis. Now I suspect I have some kind of chemical sensitivity.

 
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