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Thread: Pacifier Causing Ear Problems?

  1. #1

    Default Pacifier Causing Ear Problems?

    For the past two years I have had on-off problems with fluid buildup behind my eardrum. I've read that sucking a pacifier can cause fluid from the throat to enter the ear, and last night when I was sucking my thumb I started to get that pressurized feeling in my ear. I've been to doctors and the only thing that seems to help it is a cortisone shot. (My ear, nose, and throat doctor recommends tubes only in very severe cases.) But while it may be the cause of the problem I could NEVER give up my paci! Anyone have similar experiences?

  2. #2

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    I would be slightly hesitant about cortisone shots. I've had to take oral steroids (prednisone) for asthma before, and they're not pleasant. They make me very angry and irritable, when normally I'm a fairly relaxed person. A shot might be better, if the effects are more local, but I'm not sure if that's the case. The side effects would likely be the same, since I doubt they're going to inject it in your ear.

    I'm not a doctor, and so maybe this is bad advice, but have you tried pinching your nose shut and gently exhaling through your nose to equalize the pressure? If you're gentle about it that's unlikely to hurt anything. Otherwise open and closing your jaw like you're yawning to sometimes help open the eustachian tubes.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleAcorn View Post
    I would be slightly hesitant about cortisone shots. I've had to take oral steroids (prednisone) for asthma before, and they're not pleasant. They make me very angry and irritable, when normally I'm a fairly relaxed person. A shot might be better, if the effects are more local, but I'm not sure if that's the case. The side effects would likely be the same, since I doubt they're going to inject it in your ear.

    I'm not a doctor, and so maybe this is bad advice, but have you tried pinching your nose shut and gently exhaling through your nose to equalize the pressure? If you're gentle about it that's unlikely to hurt anything. Otherwise open and closing your jaw like you're yawning to sometimes help open the eustachian tubes.
    Yes, the pinch-your-nose and blow thing was recommended by my ear, nose, and throat doctor. I try it occasionally but it seems to have little effect, along with opening and closing my mouth, chewing gum, etc.

    I used predinose for a short period for this problem, along with Flonase. Neither seemed to have any effect. And no, the cortisone shot is given in the shoulder, not the ear. I don't know for sure if it worked or not, but I got one last October and my ear didn't bother me again for months.

  4. #4

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    I drool in my sleep and have a similar problem The drool was seeping into my ear. That was with out a pacifier.Not sure if you are drooling or not you didn't say.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by kennyrallen View Post
    I drool in my sleep and have a similar problem The drool was seeping into my ear. That was with out a pacifier.Not sure if you are drooling or not you didn't say.
    Yes, I drool with the pacifier.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by KimbaStarshine View Post
    Yes, the pinch-your-nose and blow thing was recommended by my ear, nose, and throat doctor. I try it occasionally but it seems to have little effect, along with opening and closing my mouth, chewing gum, etc.

    I used predinose for a short period for this problem, along with Flonase. Neither seemed to have any effect. And no, the cortisone shot is given in the shoulder, not the ear. I don't know for sure if it worked or not, but I got one last October and my ear didn't bother me again for months.
    Strange. Normally sucking on something helps with ear pressure (hard candy, gum, etc - I'd think a pacifier would be similar). Personally I'd try sticking with flonase for a while longer. I've used it for allergies before and it worked well for me, although it does take some time before it starts to be effective. And the side effects of nasal steroids are minimal compared to systemic steroids.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleAcorn View Post
    Strange. Normally sucking on something helps with ear pressure (hard candy, gum, etc - I'd think a pacifier would be similar). Personally I'd try sticking with flonase for a while longer. I've used it for allergies before and it worked well for me, although it does take some time before it starts to be effective. And the side effects of nasal steroids are minimal compared to systemic steroids.
    I should have been a bit more clear, I was on flonase for a lot longer than predinose. I used the nasal spray for probably about 6 months.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by KimbaStarshine View Post
    I should have been a bit more clear, I was on flonase for a lot longer than predinose. I used the nasal spray for probably about 6 months.
    There is a nasal spray that is just saline solution, it doesn't have all the other drugs in it. That is what I use and it stopped most of my drooling.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by kennyrallen View Post
    There is a nasal spray that is just saline solution, it doesn't have all the other drugs in it. That is what I use and it stopped most of my drooling.
    I was instructed to use that in conjunction with the flonase.

  10. #10

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    I would try a saline solution with a horn, to rinse out your nose and passages. I've had four sets of tubes, chronic ear infections for years and years, but never much of an addiction to pacifiers or my thumb (even as a child). I DO understand the problem. The simple reason is that sucking changes the pressure in your ear, much the way it does with children. Ever heard of the advice that babies should nurse as a plane goes down to land or gains height in the air? That's the reason. Sometimes, the constant pressure changing can irritate your ears enough that it becomes just as painful as an ear infection, without actually being one. I'd imagine that if you kept on sucking even after it becomes painful, the irritation doesn't have the time to die down on its own.

    To be fair, I think you've got an underlying physical disposition for this problem. I'm guessing your pacifier is probably not the cause of the problem, merely an irritant.

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