Brad Wardell's views about technology, politics, religion, world affairs, and all sorts of politically incorrect topics.
What it is, how to treat it..
Published on July 3, 2004 By Draginol In Health & Medicine

On the way back from vacation my mild summer cold turned into ETD. Eustachian tube dysfunction.

What is ETD? It's basically where fluid behind the eardrums gets locked in there usually due to swelling or some other blockage. The net result is that your ear is plugged and it's very annoying. It's like having water in your ears but not having a way to get it out.

I've now had it for 5 days and it's driving me crazy.  On Friday, I'd finally had enough. We called the doctor's office and I got in an hour later (those of you living in countries with socialized medicine eat your hearts out <g>).  Sure enought, ETD. 

So what can you do to treat it? Unfortunatley, not much.

The doctor suggested I continue to take decongestants (like Sudafed) and try to sleep on my other ear.  He also prescribed a steroid nasal spray that may help over the next few days to bring down the swelling.  The spray is essentially the same thing as an Asthma solution which tells me that they don't have a very good solution for this kind of problem yet.

If worse comes to worst, they can put a small hole in your ear drum to equalize the pressure and let it drain but that would be a very last resort since it is a surgery (getting tubes put in ones ears which I have had before when I was very young).

The problem is that I've been told that this kind of problem can last for weeks if not months. That's certainly not acceptable since I can't fly while this is occurring.



on Jul 03, 2004

I'm sorry. I can sympathize a little....I had an middle/inner ear infection that made me feel like my ear was clogged all the time and gave me bouts of vertigo.  Not pleasant.  To diagnose it you're usually asked to perform Valsava's Maneuver - where you hold you nose and try to make your ears make a 'pop'ing noise.  If you can't get a 'pop', you've got a eustachian/inner ear problem.

I dunno about you, but pseudoephrine (Sudafed and the main ingredient in the degongestant family) makes me feel like I drank a whole pot of strong Colombian I don't know which is worse, the ear clogged up or the jitters and twitches!

on Aug 07, 2004
why can't you fly when you have ETD?
on Aug 07, 2004

why can't you fly when you have ETD?

Have you ever flown?  If you have, then you'll probably have experienced the 'popping' your ears make upon ascent/descent.  That's your eustachian tube adjusting to the pressure.  If you have ETD, they can't 'pop' or adjust.  It can be excruciatingly painful, and you can end up with permanent damage.