Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any medical concerns we suggest you consult your GP.

Does anyone else get eczema/unbearable itchiness in their ear canals?!

(32 Posts)
gagamama Thu 05-Nov-09 17:23:39

This sounds weird, but I nearly always have some degree of itchyness deep inside my ears. Sometimes it drives me absolutely to disraction and I have to abandon what I'm doing to find something to soothe it (kitchen roll twisted into a long thin roll and dipped in E45 is my weapon of choice, and this does provide satisfactory, if temporary, relif - but I have been known to resort to pen lids or tweezers or unfurled paper clips in moments of desperation).

This of course means that I get ear infections very reguarly because I CANNOT avoid itching them when they are really bad, it's not just the itching right inside my head which drives me loopy, but the throbbing I can hear when they're really inflamed. The itchy part is far, far down inside my ear, I imagine it's either right in front of the eardrum or even behind it. My GP has given me steroid drops in the past, but they are very slow to work and don't seem to ever really get down to where the itching is worst.

I don't really suffer with eczema anywhere else. I have occasional flare-ups on a small patch on my knee, which sometimes goes crazy and gets infected, but other than that I have no real skin problems.

Does anyone else have this weird problem? Any hints? I'm currently suffering my umpteenth ear infection this year which is extremely tender and painful, and yet my ear STILL ITCHES!

SparklyTinselTits Tue 29-Dec-15 16:53:31

I've had it for years....DH laughs at me because at least once I day I say "ooo I need a cotton bud...I've got fizzy ears!"
I've been checked at the dr numerous times, for infections, swimmers ear etc, all to no avail. I've just accepted I will have a lifetime of "fizzy ears" confused

goinggrey1978 Tue 29-Dec-15 16:44:58

when i suffer an unknown allergic reaction in my eyes, my ear canals are also itchy and sore!!
going to the gp's later to see if he knows what the unknown source is that keeps causing these reactions!!

Tomorrowisanewday Tue 29-Dec-15 14:30:57

I get something which sounds the same. I had really bad eczema as a child, grew out of it when i was early twenties, but when I get stressed or upset, I get the problem with my ears, and small patches on my face. Doctor thinks the eczema is in my ears, and I get Optimise ear spray, which usually helps very quickly.

danny31 Tue 29-Dec-15 14:15:48

OK, this is only my experience so I hesitate to recommend it, but it has worked, it is easy and cheap.

I have had eczema and recurrent infections in my ears, involving yellow secretions, a cheesy smell, and severe itching, for some years. I took antibiotic drops/ sprays as prescribed. They worked for a while but the infection came back.

I read of a study being conducted by Swedish researchers into medications for resistant infections (admittedly in horses), which included promising results from using - this is where it gets odd - wild fermented mead. I have a couple of beehives in the garden, and by chance had taken some dilute honey which started to ferment, and put it in an airlocked demijohn to see what would happen. So I had a sweet, naturally fermented mead. In the spirit of being prepared to try anything, I put some in my ears, keeping it there for a quarter of an hour or so each side, two to three times a day, several days running. The infected eczema is gone. The better ear has been treatment free for a couple of weeks, and is healthy. The worse one had some skin damage but it is healing steadily. I am still treating it for the time being. My hearing seems unaffected and the mead didn't cause any pain.

There are several reasons it might have worked. Mead is alcoholic, honey contains naturally occurring hydrogen peroxide, sugar is antibacterial. But it may also be related to the wild yeasts and bacteria combating the infection in a similar way to probiotics in digestive health.

Of course, individuals must make their own judgements, and be sensible in the care of their ears. I am, however, really thrilled with the results.

Interesting post above. I had this for years. It disappeared very quickly when I finally got treatment for my under active thyroid and has not returned.

Hollydolly100 Fri 13-Nov-15 21:47:46

No offence to be taken as I hope your ok but thank god I'm not the only one who suffers with this. I have had this for about 2 years now, but I suffer with chronic sore, flaky dry skin all in my ears that I MUST rip out every day or it makes my ears even more itchy. Iv forever got my finger in my ear and tired every cream going, nothing's worked for me yet. I have to itch my ears with anything I can find. Usually a hair grip but now I'm using pen lids and anything sharp to get it.

It feels absolutely amazing when i itch my ears but then they bleed or pop after and then there all inflamed. It drives me mad, once I start I can't stop! I don't know why I got this so randomly. But I can't tie my hair back as I'm so embarrassed with the state my ears are !

agnesm Tue 21-Jul-15 18:45:34

Regarding eczema in the ear I have had this for a number of years after an ear perforation and regular ear infections. Regarding itchiness I have found swabbing the canal with 100% vitamin E oil and rub Vicks vapour rub morning and night just inside and surrounding th ear stops the itch and finally gives relief. Applying Vicks vapour rub to any eczema takes away the itch, allowing the skin to repair by not scratching.

WaitingForMe Tue 09-Apr-13 16:18:18

DH had this and it improved drastically (along with other things) when he cut right back on caffeine and dairy.

Dahlialover Tue 09-Apr-13 16:00:30

I have had it for years.

The doctor told me not to scratch it hmm

I have had ear drops, but they did nothing. Recently I had metronidazole for something else and it went away. Then it came back again sad

I will have to go back again.

armagh Mon 08-Apr-13 19:06:34

I have it. Only in one ear. One doctor has said it is excema. Another said it was dermatitis and another has said it is psoriosis !

OrbisNonSufficit Sat 06-Apr-13 07:55:43

This happens to me periodically but linked to a really bad allergic flare up. My antihistamines make it go away. It's AWFUL I'm not surprised it's driving you mad!!

NotTreadingGrapes Sat 06-Apr-13 07:46:06

Oh, thank you for this thread! Both dp and I were convinced we'd got beasties inside our ears! He already suffers with dermatitis, and I have v dry skin, and the symptoms you all describe sound like us! Off to get some drops on Monday!

I don't know all the details but my sister suffers really badly with this. She had an operation recently (private) where they opened the back of her ear and removed the offending tissue(?). She suffered badly enough with it to be registered as deaf. She has seen a great deal of improvement but still needs her other ear doing.

80sMum Sat 06-Apr-13 00:10:25

I had something very similar. An almost permanent low-grade external ear infection, which the Dr said was caused by eczema in the ear canal. I tried loads of remedies. What finally cleared it up for me was medical grade manuka honey, which I bought for about £5 on Amazon.

QueenOfCats Sat 06-Apr-13 00:00:49

Otitis externa?

willyhaschips Fri 05-Apr-13 10:13:15

This sounds like one of the symptoms of candida. I have had this when I had candida overgrowth and cured it with strict diet and anti-fungal supplements caprylic acid and oregano oil.
My sympathies as it is maddening!

King1961a Thu 04-Apr-13 17:08:43

I cured myself with a thyroid medicine and an elimination diet.
I had severe eczema in my ear canals. I would scratch at it and get ear infections. I thought I would eventually become deaf. I was very afraid. So I researched all of it.
I had almost no ear wax. I also had dry skin, low morning body temp, intolerance of heat/cold, very slow hair & nail growth, and other signs of low thyroid. But my thyroid blood test results showed only a bit low, but still in the normal range.
To increase ear wax production and restore normal oily skin, I took a thyroid medicine Cynoplus, which is a T4/T3 combination. I now have some ear wax and oily (not dry)skin. Before all this, I was trying all kinds of natural soaps and shampoos, body lotions, etc as the solution. Now I can use any soap or shampoo and don't need skin lotion.
I also try to have more healthy oils in my diet -- olive oil, real butter, peanut butter, etc.
Also, to fully stop eczema flare-ups, I did an elimation diet of the most common food allergens (corn, wheat, tree nuts, coffee, alcohol, gluten, etc). I found that whenever I ate the smallest amount of corn (in any form, including high fructose corn syrup [found in MANY foods and drinks], corn starch, popcorn, etc) the eczema would start within 1-2 days. This happened even after I increased my ear wax by boosting my thyroid, but the eczema was very minor -- it didn't spread to the ear canal, just at the opening and went away quickly.
I have been free of ear eczema for three months now and also feel much better overall. The Cynoplus thyroid hormone T4/T3 also cured my chronic fatigue, brain fog, frequent depression, and slow wound healing.
Research/Google elimination diet and also the symptoms of low thyroid (hypothyroidism) -- and cure yourself permanently.
If you can't afford many doctor visits or expensive U.S. medicines, or you have a doctor who is unwilling to let you try thyroid hormones, you can try another doctor -- or order online inexpensive Cynoplus from a Mexican pharmacy and start at the lowest dose. You can also order U.S. blood tests via the Internet (without a local doctor), with blood taking labs in almost every U.S. city; the test results are emailed to you.
If you can afford it, it is best to see a doctor, ask for a hard copy of blood test results, and get a prescription for U.S. medicines. Remember that even if blood tests show normal levels of thyroid hormones, but you still have many of the low thyroid symptoms, you may need to insist that your doctor let you try thyroid hormone pills -- especially if you have serious problems like eczema in you ear canal and resulting, dangerous ear infections. See if T4/T3, or T4 alone, increases ear wax production. You will know in one week if it works.

Furball Fri 06-Nov-09 07:47:34

I get this too! and have really bad flare ups over the years but seem to have found a way of keeping it at bay.

Every morning WITHOUT FAIL I dip a cotton bud in sudocream and then put it in and wipe it round my ear.

I know when I haven't or forgotten to do this my ears itch immediately.

gagamama Fri 06-Nov-09 07:03:44

Thanks everyone, I thought it was just a weird quirk of mine, had no idea it was so widespread.

Come to think of it I used to have some Otomize spray somewhere - I'll have to dig it out and give it another go. It was better than the drops because it kind of propels itself into your ear instead of waiting for it to drip down.

For the time being I'm keeping it vaguely under control with ibuprofen and antihistimines, but I'll make an appointment and try and get some different drops. He always shouts at me for poking things in there though. I know you're not meant to, but I've got it down to quite an art!

ThingOneofYourNightmares Thu 05-Nov-09 23:12:36

I had this problem for years. I cut my fingernails really short as I couldn't stop scratching in my sleep.

I was given steroid shampoo to use as drops in my ears and it was brilliant. If I ever feel it coming back I just use a drop a day until it stops, but I've barely had to use it in the last three years.

I got mine about five/six years ago and I had relief for the first time in fifteen or twenty years. I had tried so many things and had so many ear infections made or worsened by the scratching. No doubt I'd had the odd fungal infection along the way, and otomize had certainly helped sometimes, but only the steroids gave me long term relief from mine.

yy I was going to say unfurl half a dozen paper clips, fashion them into a bundle and twirl in yer lugole

obv one should never put anything smaller than one's elbow in one's ear

hester Thu 05-Nov-09 21:40:02

dp gets this - Otomize works once it gets infected, but no treatment for the itchiness. I shall pass on the cider vinegar tip!

Montifer Thu 05-Nov-09 21:36:48

I had unbearably itchy ears which my GP diagnosed as very dry skin, although it felt much more serious than that grin

He prescribed Otomize spray which smelt a bit vinegary but cured the itch within 24 hours.

ditzzy Thu 05-Nov-09 21:13:15

I was going to suggest dipping the kitchen roll twist in apple cider vinegar, because thats what I bathe all my eczema in, but I thought I should do a quick google to make sure there wasn't a reason not to... turns out its a well known treatment for dog ears blush although I did find a link saying that human ears should be kept acidic, so the cider vinegar may help!

It really does work on other parts of the body though, instant cooling relief, kills bugs and removes dead skin. There's loads of websites saying that it has to be unfiltered, organic and whatever, but I just buy standard Aspall Cider Vinegar from Tescos and it works fine. Put it in the bath too (only couple of teaspoons in one bath), then it coats all of you - including inside your ears if you soak for long enough!

My dh had this - he dealt with bad flare-ups with steroids I think, tablets and a cream to stop the itching. He does still get the itching so he carries a cotton bud around with him all the time, which does the trick as it's not as bad as it used to be.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now