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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...

incywincyspideragain Wed 21-Nov-12 21:58:57

your poor dd sad

I don't think I can suggest anything that will work immediately (which sounds like what she needs)
When we got to the stage of waiting for an ear infection before we could do anything (I took ds to dr because I knew if was starting and he said we'd have to wait for the infection to 'set in' before we could treat it, 2 days later I was back with him with a gunky ear) I started on complimentary therapies - to be honest so I felt like I was doing something proactive (all 3 ds's with grommets) but I think its had an affect. We've done homeopathy, diet change (no cows milk n seen a nautropath about diet), probiotics (to build up immune system) about to take ds to osteopath too see if that helps.

It might not be your thing but it was how I dealt with the feeling of helplessness - big hugs for you all, ear pain is horrible x

dikkertjedap Wed 21-Nov-12 22:16:37

If necessary take her to OOH and insist on appropriate (ie effective) pain relief. Also, take her back to GP again and he will need to come up with a treatment plan on how to deal with this and if he can't do it insist on a referral to ENT again. It looks they are not taking her pain levels seriously. sad

cupofteaplease Wed 21-Nov-12 22:59:05

Thanks for the replies.

She is still asleep- fingers crossed...

I will call her consultant's secretary tomorrow and ask for an appointment earlier than the one booked for the end of January.

I feel so sorry for her.

AnyFucker Wed 21-Nov-12 23:03:19

is this problem likely to go on for any length of time ?

that is barbaric that anyone, let alone a child, be in such pain

sounds like she might need referral to a pain management clinic if ENT can't sort it

I have never heard of an "exposed ear canal"

cupofteaplease Wed 21-Nov-12 23:17:14

Yes AnyFucker he said she's in this for the long run. Her ear canal is exposed because 70% of her ear drum is missing. I feel so guilty, the day we had her ENT appointment, dd3 was severely ill in HDU (she died the following day), so I didn't ask ENT cons many questions because I wanted to get back to dd3. I feel like I've let dd1 down and now I need to fight to get her the help she needs...

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

What other pain relief could we try?

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

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.

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.

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

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

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 23:28:19

Yes, alternating throughout the day.

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

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

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 23:33:32

it's worth a try

onion ? smile

get the conventional stuff under way too, though

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!

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

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 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

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.

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

Dikkertjedap speaks sense. Your poor little DD.

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

how is dd today ?

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...

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

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