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Serous Otitis Media – Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

The fluid does not drain due to the swelling or compression of the Eustachian tube which is the channel responsible for draining the ear.

SYMPTOMS:

  • This is common in children who are under the age of 3.
  • It is painless.
  • If this condition is not treated properly it may lead to middle ear infections and may further lead to delay in speech and language development.

CAUSES:

  • The main cause is middle ear infections which causes inflammation of Eustachian tube leading to fluid accumulation in the middle ear.
  • Infections of the adenoids or tonsils may also cause recurrent middle ear infections.
  • Various conditions that increase the mucus secretion in the upper respiratory tract can lead to accumulation of fluids.
  • Allergies.
  • Colds.
  • Gastro intestinal reflux disease.
  • Cleft palate.
  • Exposure to tobacco smoke, air pollutants also increase the mucus production.

PREVENTION:

  • Exposure to smoke, dust mites, pollen and various other allergens must be prevented.
Serous Otitis Media

Serous Otitis Media

DIAGNOSIS:

  • Infections caused are very difficult to diagnose.
  • Doctors examine the ear and check for any bubbles or fluid behind the eardrum.
  • Tympanometer is used to determine the quantity and thickness of the fluid.
  • The device works by altering the air pressure in the ear canal and measuring the reaction of the eardrum.
  • Doctors will do a hearing test if the fluid is present for more than a month.

TREATMENT:

  • The middle ear fluid is treated with environmental changes and if needed using medicine and surgery.
  • If an illness like gastrointestinal reflux disease (GORD) is causing the fluid then the treatment method involves controlling the illness.
  • The main treatment is by changing the environment factors that may help in fluid drain in the ear automatically.
  • An antibiotic is used to stop the middle ear infection if the fluid persists for several weeks.
  • The final stage is the surgery which is performed when there is no improvement in the condition even after medications for several months.
  • Surgery involves a small incision made in the eardrum and a ventilation tube is placed into the incision to help the fluid drain.
  • This technique will also prevent fluid accumulation again.
  • If adenoids or tonsils are infected, then doctors advise surgery to remove them.

PEOPLE UNDER RISK:

  • Children under 3 years old are under risk to get this condition.

NOTE:

Cleft palate is a birth defect where there is an opening in the roof of the mouth.

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