Back in December I decided there was something wrong with my ears. Every so often my ears would get this “feeling” like I was coming down with a cold, usually accompanied by that “feeling” I get in my throat when I’m about to get sick. I could tell my ears were infected with something, but it was very mild and didn’t hurt. I would put garlic oil in my ears at night and the next day I would no longer feel like I was getting sick. If a virus was entering my body through my ears, this would make a lot of sense.
After a while, I noticed that my ears never really felt normal. By December it was noticeable enough that I asked my chiropractor about it. It was really hard to describe how it felt, but the point is I could feel something, whereas before I never really felt anything in my ears. My chiropractor stuck an otoscope in my right ear to have a look and I almost cried from the sudden pain (otoscopes aren’t supposed to hurt). The left ear didn’t hurt as bad but it hurt. He said it looked irritated in my ears but not inflamed, and guessed that it was residual from a past ear infection. Since it had been going on for so long, there was no way to pinpoint when it started. There was also some impacted ear wax.
I felt that my ear problem was partially related to a subluxation in my neck, and my chiropractor agreed. After getting adjusted, I felt a little better but my ear problem did not go away. On my chiropractor’s advice, I put ear drops in my ears every night. I did this for two weeks, and the results were interesting. First of all, my ears got really itchy. I tried really hard not to go at my ears with a Q-tip but I could hardly bear the itching sometimes and just had to. Naturally, a lot of wax came out for a while. Then the wax eased up, and my ears began to actually ache. Surprisingly, the left one hurt more than the right. After about two weeks on the garlic oil ear drops, I decided to stop.
I went back to the chiropractor for another adjustment. Again it helped a little but was not enough. Then I got my copy of Gut and Pyschology Syndrome I had ordered and finished reading it. Low and behold, there was a chapter on glue ear and ear infections. I didn’t even know what glue ear was but after reading it I thought maybe that was what I had. I never really felt plugged up, but I guess you could say there was sort of a “sticky” feeling within my ears. Again, it’s really hard to describe, but it seemed quite possible there was extra fluid in there or at least an inflamed adenoid, which the author, Dr. Campbell-McBride, calls “ear tonsils.”
I felt a little silly that I had never studied the anatomy of the ears well enough to know that there were these “ear tonsils” or that the mouth and nose actually connect to the ears. Seriously, how did I not know that???
Campbell-McBride says that ear infections usually clear up on their own (which I’ve actually heard numerous times), but regardless of whether or not antibiotics are used to clear the infection, probiotics should be taken to repopulate the ears with good flora. This is where I feel silly again. I never even once thought about ears having natural protective flora in them. Yet it totally makes sense! The mouth does, the vagina does, the intestines do, the skin does. Yep, totally makes sense!
What you do is open up a high-quality probiotic capsule and put the powder in your mouth the very last thing before going to bed. The idea is that if you don’t swallow the probiotic then it has a chance to work it’s way up to the adenoids and then the eustachian tubes and middle ear and start to balance out the ear flora. The good guys settle in and the bad guys get kicked out. The inflammation of the adenoids (ear tonsils) calms down and fluid can then freely drain from the ear like it’s supposed to. Good bye glue ear and good bye ear infections.
I was quite excited to try this. The first night I put the probiotic powder right on my tongue but then my saliva went all kinds of crazy and I was forced to swallow a lot of it. But some of it stayed in, and the next day was like magic. My ears had stopped hurting and I barely noticed them all day. The next day wasn’t quite as dramatic but I still saw noticeable improvement. I learned to put the powder under my tongue and along the insides of my cheeks to avoid excess saliva production. Within just a few days my ears felt almost normal again.
I was determined to stick with this protocol for at least two weeks. My ears kept regaining a more normal feeling. After two weeks I felt fairly cured, except for this slight pulling sensation I get which I am sure is related to that subluxation in my neck. I have decided to keep with this practice for quite a while longer to make sure that good ear flora is truly established. The probiotics might even benefit my mouth and anything I swallow would hopefully benefit my gut. What’s to lose?
I had to wonder, if probiotics can clear up and prevent ear infections, then maybe it could help with sinus infections, too (makes sense, right?). Here is an article by The Healthy Home Economist that suggests using probiotics in a neti pot. I can’t help but wonder if putting the powder in the mouth overnight would help, too, but the neti pot is certainly more direct.