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Otitis Media in Infants and Young Children

Posted Jun 14 2009 10:33pm
I have recently encountered a rash of youngsters whom have been treated repeatedly, 5-7 times in the FIRST YEAR of life for recurrent (persistent?) "ear infections". YES they need antibiotics for the fever and presumed bacterial infection BUT why do they not get beyond this?
Consider the following November 2008 information
Gastric pepsin in middle ear fluid of children with otitis media: clinical implications.
He Z, O'Reilly RC, Mehta D.
Division of Pediatric Otolaryngology, Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, DE 19899, USA.

"Gastroesophageal reflux and extraesophageal reflux have been postulated to be involved in the pathogenesis of otitis media. This is supported by recent studies revealing the presence of gastric pepsin in the middle ear space of children with otitis media but not in control patients without otitis media. Reflux's role in otitis media appears to be most pronounced in younger children and those with purulent effusions.

My take is that over 80% of the children with these ongoing ear problems likely have GERD, the unwanted reflux of gastric contents. GERD results in gastric contents arriving in the middle ear creating an environment favorable for bacterial colonization and growth with resultant infections. When the cause is GERD sucessful treatment for GERD should result in dramatic reduction in the manifestations of ill health. Often sleep and mood improve concurrent with the absence of ear pain (otalgia, ear ache, is COMMONLY caused by gastric reflux).
It is beyond the scope of the study reported but realize that chronic ear infections may be the only recognized complaint or only one of many problems that result in both chronic and acute illness. Asthma, recurring sore throat, "sinus problems", hoarseness/voice problems,clearing of the throat, runny nose and cough are all OFTEN caused by GERD.

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