Hello everyone! Dr. Dalynes here from Outbound Chiropractic! I am the pediatric and prenatal specialist at Outbound Chiropractic. One of the common questions I receive from parents is "what would happen if I take my child to the medical doctor to get their ear infections checked?" Because it's so common, I wanted to talk to you about how ear infections are typically treated in the medical community. First, I want to give a little background info on ear infections. It’s important for parents to know that not all “ear infections” are actually infected ears, or even infections at all! This is because children’s Eustachian tubes (or ear canals) are not slanted down like adults. Their canals are straight across or horizontal, making it hard for gravity to move the fluid from the lymph nodes and the ears into the throat and out of their body. So, when fluid and congestion build up in the lymph nodes on the sides of the neck and throat, it can’t be moved or flushed out of the child’s body. That fluid has to go somewhere, so if the fluid can’t go back down, then it will usually back up into the Eustachian tube, causing fluid pressure on the back of the eardrum. This pressure will cause swelling and irritation (pain) just like an infection, and if it stays there long enough can progress into an infection. The problem, though, is that most pediatricians are medicating the kids they see before they know whether or not they actually have an infection.
Many parents have gone through this in the past: You’ve taken your child to the pediatrician because they are obviously in pain, acting funny, or pulling at their ears, and the doctor looked in their ears with the otoscope and said, “Yep, it’s red. he’s got an ear infection. I’ll write you a prescription for an antibiotic.” Think about that for a minute... How did the doctor know, just from the color of the eardrum, that your child had an infection? He didn’t. The only way to truly diagnose an infection in the ear is by doing a swab of the ear and culturing the area. Then they can see for sure whether or not your child actually has an infection. If they don’t do that, the problem more than likely is fluid buildup behind the eardrum. Or the area may simply be irritated (red, swollen and/or painful) due to teething, because the ears are close to the gums and mouth and often react when this area is under stress.
More antibiotics are prescribed today for children’s ear infections in the US than anywhere in the world. Antibiotics have many common side effects, including diarrhea, malabsorption, cramping, yeast infections, agitation, rashes and blood disorders. By wiping out much of the healthy bacteria throughout the body, antibiotics leave children far more vulnerable to other infections, such as thrush, and dangerous intestinal microbes that cause diarrhea.
Another common form of treatment in the medical profession is inserting tubes into the ear drums of infants to treat recurrent ear infections. This has replaced the previously popular tonsillectomy to become the number one surgery in the country. This is a real tragedy. Not only is the $3,000 spent on the surgery wasted because much of the time, ear infections can be treated by more conservative means. Plus, there are some recent articles that say that most children who have this procedure will have long-term hearing losses.
It’s important for parents to know how the medical community treats ear infections before taking their child to get treated. Stay tuned for the next post where we discuss the effects of chiropractic on ear infections! I hope you found this information valuable and if you have any questions feel free to reach out to us!
Thank you so much,