On this episode of Sisters Without Shame, Polokwane ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist Dr Lorraine Masotja comes to the aid of a parent in crisis from Vryburg who needs more insights on the treatment of glue ear.
Glue ear – or otitis media – happens when the middle ear becomes inflamed due to infection. It is most common in children and can follow a sore throat, respiratory infection or cold.
“The ear is divided into three parts, the outer ear, middle ear, and the inner ear. [Glue ear manifests when] there is a problem with the pressures in the middle ear and the tissues in the middle ear secret fluid,” Masotja explains.
“This fluid can be watery, or it can be like glue. You can equate it to mucus that comes through the nose; it is like a thick mucus in the middle ear.”
What are the symptoms?
The condition may be difficult to detect in children because they may not be able to accurately communicate their symptoms.
“The child may start complaining about pain in the ears or irritation but the very small kids who cannot talk you may see them shake and shake their heads or hitting their heads frequently or pulling their ears because of the pressure.”
In some cases, glue ear can resolve on its own, but a doctor can also prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection.
“Your middle ear is supposed to have air and the three smallest bones in your body, nothing else,” says Masotja.
Normally goes unchecked
The cause of glue ear is not fully understood and there is no way of preventing most cases. Symptoms sometimes go unchecked.
“We don’t really take our children for their routine medical exams. The ears may be left [unchecked] unless the parents say something about the ears, or you get a doctor who checks and says that there is something wrong.”
On this episode Dr Masotja also dives into detail about:
- The treatment options available for glue ear.
- What actions parents can take to prevent glue ear.
- The effect of diet on children’s ear health.
Listen to the full interview on Sisters Without Shame
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