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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.

How to treat severe ear pain in a child with an exposed ear canal?

(31 Posts)
cupofteaplease Wed 21-Nov-12 21:30:08

My dd1 is 7. She has always suffered form glue ear and has had 2 sets of grommets.

Her latest appointment with the ENT consultant showed that due to persistent nasal allergy, 70% of her ear drum has been 'vacuumed' into the ear canal meaning her hearing is low, but more concerning is the pain she is in. He prescribed a steroid nasal spray to clear her tubes.

The pain is frequent, and she has alternate calpol and brufen most days. Today was a very bad day and she asked me to take her to the GP (shows how bad it is when a child asks to go to the doctor). GP said there's no infection, it's 'just' the exposed ear canal that's causing the pain and to keep going with the paracetamol and brufen.

Tonight she's been in agony. It's awful to watch. She said she was tired but couldn't sleep through the pain. She said, 'If the doctor can't take the pain away, can we ask God?' sad I've given her a hot water bottle and she's finally fallen asleep in the armchair.

What else can I do? I hate seeing her in pain. I can't believe there's nothing else to be done and she just has to deal with it...

Lougle Tue 27-Nov-12 21:09:00

Well let's hope someone cancels smile

cupofteaplease Tue 27-Nov-12 20:40:39

Thanks Lougle He said it's about 8 weeks, but I agreed to take any cancellations that come up!

Lougle Tue 27-Nov-12 20:24:33

Poor her, and poor you. I hope the amitriptyline works for her. It'll take a while to get into her system. Did he say how long the waiting list is?

cupofteaplease Tue 27-Nov-12 19:28:20

Right, been to see the consultant this afternoon. He has put her on an antidepressant called Amitriptyline which should work on the nerve pain. She is now on the waiting list for an operation to retrieve some of the ear drum from her ear canal and reconstruct it around a new grommet. He said there is no long term solution to her problem, he just needs to keep on top of her pain.

Lougle Thu 22-Nov-12 21:26:15

Have you tried the cotton wool in the ear trick, Cup? It might shield it from breeze, etc.

Hatescolds Thu 22-Nov-12 21:04:34

I would speak to GP again really- there are stronger analgesics available for children via prescription eg codeine or swapping ibuprofen to diclofenac - not usually done in primary but CAN be done even if they want with advice from paeds but any GP can prescribe stronger analgesia- does not need to come from secondary care.

bumpybecky Thu 22-Nov-12 20:45:46

She can probably have a higher dose than it states in the bottle, I know they give more when you're in hospital. Obviously you're going to have to get a doctor or pharmacist to tell you how much more though.

I'd be very tempted to take her to A&E if it gets bad again. I do hope she's feeling better soon xx

cupofteaplease Thu 22-Nov-12 20:11:10

Kept her dosed up today and gave her a little hand warmer to hold over her ear. She was fine at school, as the evening has worn on, she's complaining again. Dh has just taken her back up to bed now in pain.

I rang her consultant's secretary, and she has booked her in for Tuesday afternoon. Better than end of January...

AnyFucker Thu 22-Nov-12 19:08:33

how is dd today ?

narmada Thu 22-Nov-12 16:30:04

Dikkertjedap speaks sense. Your poor little DD.

dikkertjedap Thu 22-Nov-12 10:19:02

There must be stronger painkillers available but they will be prescription only so it is very important to get a very urgent referral as it is not fair to your dd to let her suffer like this.

If necessary see another GP who may be more sympathetic to your dd or take her to (if possible paediatric) A&E during weekend thus circumventing GPs altogether.

rockinhippy Thu 22-Nov-12 04:03:58

I've just realised, being completely ignorant of what Grommets actually are, that they may be an implant of some sort, if they are, then please ignore my advice about Clary Sage, its effective, but it's also quite a potent oil & is not recommended for use in anyone who has any sort of implant, as it can cause rejection, same with pregnancy, it can bring on MC

eastendfareast Thu 22-Nov-12 00:08:16

Have they checked her adenoids cup? DS had his removed in feb and touch wood along with new grommets it seems as though the days of ear infections are over. He had a quick head X-ray which showed that they were huge and compressing his Eustachian tube which then lead to glue building up and eventually perforating the ear drum. Once removed his hearing and speech improved dramatically and he's not had any pain. Push for that if you can - things to look out for include mouth breathing and snoring - both signs of enlarged adenoids. Anyway best of luck. It's awful and I sympathise hugely.

rockinhippy Wed 21-Nov-12 23:55:55

Poor mite sad

Upping her magnesium levels could maybe help a bit, it's a mineral that helps the body regulate pain, stress, sleep etc & it's common to be deficient in it these days due to modern diet, soil quality etc. - Epsom salts - the sort that comes in big tubs/ boxes for adding to a bath is a great of getting extra mag into the system, it's absorbed through the skin - add 2 cups to a bath, or foot bath and soak for at least 20 mins, adding a bit of lavender aromatherapy oil can help with her pain frayed nerves too - sorry cant link, but google "Epsom salts council" for more info - it certainly can't harm her and will at least help her relax, which can help her pain tolerance quite a bit.

Other things that are safe & could help are Black cherry concentrate, it has known pain killing properties & mixed with sparkling water is a really nice drink, it's not cheap, but if you can afford it, worth a try, buy from health shops

Also Clary Sage aromatherapy oil, not best for kids, and definitely not long term, but won't harm if used occasionally - it is a natural analgesic & euphoric, so helps with pain in .2 ways - as she's small, do save it for the worst days though

Sorry no magic answer, she does need better medical care than she's getting, so as the others have said, push for that, but these things can help naturally, so can be used with medication - my DD suffers with a chronic pain condition, so do I & we both find these helpful

Good luck - I hope you BOTH get some respite soon

HairyMaclary Wed 21-Nov-12 23:35:20

yes, both conventional and complementary medicine in tandem is the way to go IMO. You cover all bases that way!

AnyFucker Wed 21-Nov-12 23:33:32

it's worth a try

onion ? smile

get the conventional stuff under way too, though

HairyMaclary Wed 21-Nov-12 23:31:43

Yes, that's what I thought! Ds2 has had similar issues, we are heading into our first winter within grommets for 4 years (he's only 5, first grommets done at 13 months!) and so far no infections.

The turning point for us was a homeopath, I'd been using the onion for pain relief for a while and all other conventional medicine had failed so we started seeing a homepage as well and have had no infections since, this winter will be the test though! Diet has made no difference as he has a dairy allergy so has been dairy free for ages anyway but it does seem to help for some.

AnyFucker Wed 21-Nov-12 23:29:25

she can't go on like this though, poor love

cupofteaplease Wed 21-Nov-12 23:28:19

Yes, alternating throughout the day.

AnyFucker Wed 21-Nov-12 23:27:15

there isn't really anything stronger than brufen/paracetamol for children that can be prescribed by anyone other than a specialist

are you alternating them...and giving even if she doesn't ask ?

cupofteaplease Wed 21-Nov-12 23:26:28

An onion! Wow, will give that a go tomorrow, anything is worth a try now...

cupofteaplease Wed 21-Nov-12 23:25:24

The GP today didn't seem overly concerned? She just said keep her dosed up regularly on paracetamol and brufen to preempt as well as manage the pain. She said it would be easier if dd had an infection then there would be something to treat.

HairyMaclary Wed 21-Nov-12 23:23:48

When I got to the end of my tether with ds2 who has numerous ear infections, perforations, grommets, etc the best, and only thing that worked in the end was pretty whacky but by that stage I didn't care. Dry fry a sliced onion, wrap it in a muslin or tea towel and hold on the affected ear while still hot ( make sure it's not too hot though.) This worked amazingly well and helped the pain more than anything else. Good luck, it's horrible to see them go through it.

AnyFucker Wed 21-Nov-12 23:20:29

you haven't let dd1 down, love

if this is going to be long term you need to ask for an urgent referral to a children's specialist pain clinic

they are usually based at large children's hospitals

book a visit to your GP tomorrow

cupofteaplease Wed 21-Nov-12 23:18:04

What other pain relief could we try?

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