When fluid accumulates in the ear, it can cause pressure. Remedies used for treating ear pressure caused by fluid rely on clearing the fluid and treating the condition that caused the fluid to accumulate. In general, fluid can form due to an infection or from poorly functioning eustachian tubes. Therefore, the remedies to relieve ear fluid and pressure consist of antibiotics and therapies to make it easier for fluid to drain from the ear.
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Because many instances of ear fluid are caused by a middle ear infection, antibiotics are often used as the main course of treatment. Bacteria that cause the infections are usually in a category called gram positive, and include such classes as streptococcus, haemophlus and moraxella. Amoxicillin is a vary common antibiotic used for those infections because of its action against gram positive strains and its low risk of side effects. It is taken orally and can be either in pill or liquid form.
Because many cases of ear fluid and pressure are caused by nasal and sinus tissue swelling, decongestant medications can provide effective relief. The medications can be either topical, such as Afrin nasal spray, or oral, such as Sudafed. They relieve pressure by constricting the blood vessels to the nasal and sinus tissues, which shrinks that tissue and decreases swelling. Once the swelling comes down, the eustachian tubes open up and the fluid can drain from the ear. Decongestants are sold over-the-counter and can be very effective.
Insertion of ear tubes is one of the most common surgical procedures, especially in children. Tubes are usually inserted due to persistent or recurring middle ear infections, and help drain the fluid from the middle ear. That drainage usually prevents infections from forming again, and if they do, they are generally much milder than before the tubes were inserted. The procedure is very short, usually taking only about 10 to 20 minutes to perform. It is also a relatively safe procedure, with possible but unlikely side effects that include ear drum scarring, persistent ear drainage and persistent ear drum perforation.
- British Medical Journal; Clinical efficacy of three common treatments in acute otitis externa in primary care: randomised controlled trial; Frank van Balen; November 2003
- Journal of the Chinese Medical Association; Ear Problems in Swimmers; Mao-Che Wang; August 2005
- Medline Plus: Ear Tube Insertion