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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.

DD (4) has had grommets for 4 months, still getting infections? Any ideas why?

(19 Posts)
mummytowillow Mon 02-Jan-12 20:23:14

My daughter is 4, she had grommets in August and her adenoids out. Since then she has had two ear infections, she has been with her grandparents for a week and has come home with one ear weeping smelly pus? shock

The strange thing is, she isn't complaining of pain, she is fine in herself, a little tired but she has had a busy week! hmm Only one ear is affected and it is yellow and smelly? The week before she went she had a very runny nose and a cough but seemed OK?

Do you think I should go back to the ENT consultant and see what he thinks?
Does she need antibiotics, even though she isn't complaining?
Or is it still normal to get infections with grommets?

She always wears those putty silicone thing in her ears when she has a bath, but she hates them. Has anyone any suggestions of better ones?

The grommets are as far as I know still in, as the doctor checked last time we went? Any suggestions on what's going wrong? Or tips on how to prevent the infections?

DeWe Mon 02-Jan-12 20:30:32

I was told that grommets don't necessarily stop infections, and that's not what they're there for, but may be a nice side effect.

If she's got stuff coming out of her ears then you ought to get in checked. If I think that ds has an infection I do get him checked that they're still in.

The first time ds had grommets it stopped the infections almost totally (down from about 10-20 infections a year to 1 in 18 months) but this time it hasn't been so successful. It's stopped the ear drum bursting but he's already had a couple of infections.

HairyMaclary Mon 02-Jan-12 20:41:26

There is no pain because there is no pressure in the ear drum to cause the pain as the grommet has made a little hole. As DeWe says the grommets can reduce the frequency of infections as there is very little buildup of stuff but they don't stop the infections completely. They do stop the perforations / pain / ear drum / hearing damage. Do either go back to GP or ring ENT consultant, it may need antibiotics. I usually didn't ask for antib's but did want the infections noted (due to previous difficulties in getting preventative grommets) so went to a GP.

In desperation last year, and in spite of a lot of scepticism, I took Ds (also 4 now) to a homeopath. I took him at the beginning of September again as a preventative measure for this winter - in spite of a fair number of colds he has had no ear infections or any illness beyond a mild cold....

mummytowillow Mon 02-Jan-12 21:25:40

Thanks Hairy, I never thought of the pressure thing!

I will take her to the doctor tomorrow just to get her checked, they will probably give her anti-biotics, but I will ask if she really needs them?

changingnicknameforxmas Mon 02-Jan-12 21:31:06

If I was you I'd take her back and get her checked - grommets not working can be a sign of further issues which might need investigated

krustyloaf Mon 02-Jan-12 21:35:02

I had grommets as a child and they completely stopped my infections but I still suffer with problems throughout my EN&T and whilst preggo had a hoopi ear wax thingy which helped massively.
They could just be having a clear out..? Soz if that wasn't very helpful grin

verybusyspider Tue 03-Jan-12 21:34:47

How did you get on at docs? I was just going to second what hairy said and also say get them to do an ear swab to check you are on the right antibiotics, could it be that the last one didn't clear properly? I was told by ENT if infection wasn't treated it could cause damage to ear (although I can't remember him saying how) so especially important to go straight to doc if you notice infection as child won't get pain as warning sign something is wrong if that makes sense...

I also have to replace the putty buddies very regularly, especially once have infection as I think the bugs could stay on them, if there is an infection we use cotton wool instead and chuck it after bath time

Have to say putty buddies are the best we've found especially for swimming lessons, all 3 of them wear them, everything else seems to hard or goes intio ear canal

I'd also second seeing homeopath - worked wonders for strengthing ds's immunity, only a few coughs and snotty noses this winter and only ds1 had an ear infection this term smile

mummytowillow Tue 03-Jan-12 21:49:53

The doctor said she has an infection, so is on anti-biotics again.

She hasn't complained at all, but her ear is really manky!! hmm

Will have a look into homeopathy, worth a try!

Thanks for all the advice x

beautifulgirls Tue 03-Jan-12 22:11:23

Our ENT told us when DD had her grommets that if she got infections to ask the GP to prescribe ear drops not oral antibiotics as far more effective. We thankfully never had to, but a friend of mine went through this with her son post grommets and had multiple doses of oral antibiotics but the infections never properly cleared. She finally asked for ear drops after I told her what our ENT had said and her son's ear was clear for the first time in months after she got them. It may of course be co-incidence but thought I would share in case it is of help.

DeWe Wed 04-Jan-12 12:23:36

confused I was told by ENT that with grommets DON'T use ear drops as they can go through the grommet and cause problems.

verybusyspider Wed 04-Jan-12 20:19:34

There is only one ear drop antibiotic you can use with grommits Ciloxan (Ciprofloxacin) but it is actually eye drops but ENT prescribe it for ears - ds3 was prescribed Amoxilcillin on boxing day for ear infection after grommits on 23rd, we couldn't have drops as to soon after surgery, but ended up back today for drops as hasn't cleared up - ear looked (and smelt) fine but suddenly oozed loads of goo at nursery this afternoon, looks foul now sad

totallyscunnered Wed 04-Jan-12 20:29:56

I don't want to worry anyone.

But anyone who has a child with recurrent ear infections even after grommet surgery, please please please take your child back to the GP and insist that this is treated seriously. If left, recurrent ear infections can lead to a condition called cholesteatoma, which if not spotted in time can cause a lot of problems with hearing loss, and other issues.

voice of bitter experience

(Disclaimer - I am not a doctor, just a parent whose child had a very large cholesteatoma requiring very very extensive surgeries which have left the child with permanent hearing loss.)

verybusyspider Wed 04-Jan-12 21:00:22

totallyscunnered that totally backs up what our consultant said - sorry to hear about your bitter experience though sad

totallyscunnered Thu 05-Jan-12 08:56:51

verybusyspider - I don't want to panic anyone, the extent of cholesteatoma my child had was very rare, and cholesteatoma itself is very rare, but in a circumstance where a child is still having repeated ear infections after grommet surgery, I would urge anyone to go back to the ENT surgeon and insist that they are checked.

Another possible sign of cholesteatoma is if the grommets are coming out very quickly.

As I said, just the voice of bitter experience, I'm not a doctor but I know a lot about cholesteatomas sad

Avantia Thu 05-Jan-12 09:03:09

My DS has grommets and he would sometimes get a infection which was really smelling etc . Then ENT consultant when happened to have an appointment with him which co incidesd with infection prescribed ear drops direct into ear - can't remeber what they were called - best way to deal with it apparently.

Also make sure that you are not getting soapy water in the ear as this can cause problems with grommet, swimming etc is fine but when hair washing use ear plugs or cotton wool and Vaseline ( again ENT advised that).

JodieR12 Fri 13-Apr-12 00:28:39

I've just come accross some fantastic information videos about grommet surgery and after care that I wanted to share with everyone - the videos are at

margoandjerry Fri 13-Apr-12 10:41:37

thanks for that website Jodie. I've just bought the earband from there - I haven't let my son near a swimming pool since his grommets for fear of infections - as with DeWe's son, my son had literally permanent infections for a year and was on antibiotics every single day of that year.

He's not had a single one since the grommets but I don't want to go back there again hence buying the band - we're going on holiday in June and I don't want to keep him out of the pool unnecessarily.

Ineedcaffeine Tue 29-Jan-13 21:29:18

after a several infection free years, my 10 year old DS had 3 ear infections over the summer: all of which were horrible-smelling (think really rotting feet sad, so I got him back to ENT for a check-up and hearing test.

He went into hospital last week for his 3rd lot of grommets to be fitted - but only one was done as the surgeon discovered that he has a cholesteatoma in his right ear. It is not visible to the naked eye - and couldn't be seen by his (new) consultant - it was only found under general anaesthetic. we are now waiting to see a paediatric ENT specialist, and a date for surgery for its removal.

His (original) consultant wanted to discharge him 2 years ago, after his second lot of grommets came out - I am so thankful that I "kept him on the books"; although this new issue was not what I was worried about - just more pain and infection.

Please take your daughter back if you have ANY concerns, my research tells me that an ignored cholesteatoma can cause major problems.

totallyscunnered, how did your child recover after surgery? what sort of time off school/activities was needed?

PaulM01 Tue 07-Nov-17 11:38:15

I'd like to add. although this thread is LONG dormant. Homeopath is made up. It's a placebo given to people who are naturally "getting better".

You might as well take your child to see a magician.

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