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Cronic Ear Infections
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Wow to read this and realize I am not alone and the problems I am dealing with are somehow all related to celic. It really does ease my mind. I have been up against a problem that I am not sure is related... My 15 month old is believed to have celiac and has been on a gluten free diet for months now and we have seen huge changes. The problem that we can't seem to end is cronic ear infections. The current ear infection she has we have treated with five yes five rounds of antibiotics. 3 different kinds and a shot. They keep saying that kids sometimes need more then one dose and on and on. She will be getting tubes however they can't until her ears have healed. She has had ongoing ear infections since turning one and some prior. Is not responding to antibiotics related to celiac or just something unique to her? They said none of the antibiotics given had wheat perhaps it is an absorption issue? If anyone can give me some insight I would really appreciate it. Thanks so much.

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Welcome to our mutual support community here at celiac.com :)

Very, very few pharmaceutical products contain wheat (or other gluten sources). Injectable medicine is always safe--gluten would gum up the syringe and cause clumping in the liquid.

Most oral tablet medications use corn starch as the binder. If capsules need a binding agent in their content, it is again usually corn starch. If you are unsure, call the manufacturer. Your pharmacist can get this information as well, but not all pharmacists will take the time. Remind him that you pay a dispensing fee in addition to the cost of the drug, which is to pay for his guidance and information about the drug that he is providing you.

Malabsorption could be a related problem. Some medications are absorbed thought the stomach lining, and this process is not impacted by the villous atrophy. But many more are absorbed in the small intestine via the villi, and this process is severely impacted by celiac damage to the villi.

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I went through the chronic ear infection thing to with my son!!!

Finally I went and ENT and they scheduled the tube surgery! My son had what they call "sleeper" ear infections....which means he constantly had an ear infection...the fluid in his ears was clear and the reg dr couldn't see it!!!

Why are they waiting...did the ENT say it had to be healed first???? or did the reg dR? She could be becomming immune to antibiotics!!!!

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Chronic ear infections are often a symptom of casein intolerance. I would eliminate all dairy before considering tubes.

A friend of mine went through this with her daughter, starting immediately after weaning from nursing (and starting cow's milk). By the time the doctors were recommending a year of constant, low-dose antibiotics, my friend tried a naturopath, who was the first person to mention dairy.

Ta-dah! No more ear infections. Then, about a year later, she took her daughter to Europe, packed a lot of soy milk, but ran out, and decided to give cow's milk another try. Everything was fine, so she figured her daughter had outgrown the problem. But then they came back to the US, and she immediately developed another ear infection.

Apparently, it has something to do with the constant antibiotics US cows get? At least, back then (this was in 1997), European cows were not given the same constant antibiotics and growth hormones as US cows. Perhaps pesticide in the feed is also linked?

Our pediatrician no longer routinely prescribes antibiotics for ear infections. He said that first of all, 90% are viral, so an antibiotic wouldn't do any good, and second of all, most of the bacterial ones don't necessarily need antibiotics. Just because it's a bacterial infection doesn't mean that the human body can't handle it.

When our daughter was 2 she had her first ear infection, which lasted for about a week. When it went away, (without antibiotics), I felt very smug--until 2 weeks later, when she got another one. This one went away after 5 days, and I felt very smug--until 2 weeks later, when she got another one! At this point, I called the pediatrician in tears and said, "are we going to go through this every 2 weeks for the rest of her life???"

He said, "Call me in 2 days."

2 days later, she was fine.

I called, and he said, "THIS is how the immune system is supposed to work. When we throw antibiotics at the first sign of an ear infection, the immune system never has a chance."

Of course, you should always call your pediatrician when you suspect an ear infection. But, like so much of today's medicine, I suspect that most ear infections have more to do with what we eat than with ear structure or having a deficiency of antibiotics.

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I Also would eliminate all dairy immediately & no soy either. For drinks try water & 100% juice...

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Both of my kids had chronic ear infections. First kid had an ear infection almost like clockwork every 6-8 weeks. Hers were terrible, painful, ruptured ear drums. She had hearing loss as a result. They finally put tubes in. She was a new kid. One more ear infection in the next 4 yrs! The tubes did exactly what they are designed for. Provided drainage until her uestation (sp?) tube devloped enough to function correctly. Hear returned to almost normal after the tubes were put in. BTW, her ENT prescribed some strong medication for the three weeks prior to the tubes being put in.

Second kid, no such luck. She had a fever and a head cold. All of a sudden she had ruptured ear drums - both. Nothing indicated an ear infection prior to the goo. They cultured it and turns out she had some difficult non-responsive culture growing in her ear. Numerous ear infections. Almost every 4-5 weeks to the day. She got shots of medication every 48 hrs for active infections. No medication worked. Nothing worked. They finally got the tubes in. Since then she has had two more bad ear infections within 6mths of getting the tubes. Still having a hard time finding something to work to kill this germ or remove it from her system. She just had her first head cold recently that did not bring on an ear infection, so maybe it is working.

FYI: Both of my kids have problems with dairy. One has an allergy to it, the other can only take very small doses of dairy. One kid is a celiac. One has a severe food allergy.

If I had another child with ear infections and ruptured ear drums, I would put the tubes in ASAP and never think twice about it. But I think the ear infections also have something to do with the dairy, that kids immune system, and just poorly developed tubes.

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Wow to read this and realize I am not alone and the problems I am dealing with are somehow all related to celic. It really does ease my mind. I have been up against a problem that I am not sure is related... My 15 month old is believed to have celiac and has been on a gluten free diet for months now and we have seen huge changes. The problem that we can't seem to end is cronic ear infections. The current ear infection she has we have treated with five yes five rounds of antibiotics. 3 different kinds and a shot. They keep saying that kids sometimes need more then one dose and on and on. She will be getting tubes however they can't until her ears have healed. She has had ongoing ear infections since turning one and some prior. Is not responding to antibiotics related to celiac or just something unique to her? They said none of the antibiotics given had wheat perhaps it is an absorption issue? If anyone can give me some insight I would really appreciate it. Thanks so much.

The ear infections may or may not be related to Celiac. Another question to ask is....has your dd received the Prevnar vaccine? The reason I ask is because a new "superbug" is being linked to it. And that bug is resistant to all forms of antibiotics, shots, whatever. The only remedy seems to be surgery. There was an article on yahoo about it a few weeks ago. You can probably read more by searching for "Prevnar and superbug".

Here's the link: http://www.pharmalot.com/2007/09/wyeths-pr...-cause-superbug

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I agree with the above comments to cut out dairy. My son went through the same thing, as soon as I stopped nursing and started formula at 7 months. Nine ear infections later we had tubes put in. Over the course of that time it turns out he also handled dairy very poorly. The tubes grew out, he is for the most part lactose free. Now almost 7 years old, we have had to put tubes in again because we are looking at a possible central auditory processing disorder, and we have had the ear infections come back the past year.

To complicate matters, in the past year I have been seeking a celiac disease diagnosis and may have to consider this for my son as well if a learning disorder is indeed found.

Good luck!

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The current ear infection she has we have treated with five yes five rounds of antibiotics. 3 different kinds and a shot. They keep saying that kids sometimes need more then one dose and on and on.

I don't know where you're at in this process currently. But hopefully, you've found some non-surgical answers for your dd. If not, there are some other ways to combat the ear infections that do not involve antibiotics or surgery.

If you haven't already done so, eliminate dairy and/or soy. I know that will seem a bit scary with a 15 month old, but it will be okay. Sub in rice milk and if you're worried about fat content, add some regular or light coconut milk to it. Don't worry about the calcium (that is a quote from my own doctor with whom we started down this road when my dd was 15 months old....she's now 4 1/2 and still doing fine).

Find yourself a good probiotic supplement for your dd. Used daily, this will help support your dd's own immune system, repair the damage wrought by the antibiotics and prevent new ear infections from occurring. Probiotics belongs in everyone's medicine cabinet. It can be used to treat colds, flus, food poisoning, ear infections, UTIs, colic....the list is virtually endless.

And lastly, consider purchasing garlic drops at your local health food store. You can use these daily to prevent new infections or you can use them when an infection is ongoing. Garlic is a natural "antibiotic". In drop form, it will clear up an ear infection in record time compared to antibiotics. You can also warm the liquid so that it is more soothing to your dd.

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Wow to read this and realize I am not alone and the problems I am dealing with are somehow all related to celic. It really does ease my mind. I have been up against a problem that I am not sure is related... My 15 month old is believed to have celiac and has been on a gluten free diet for months now and we have seen huge changes. The problem that we can't seem to end is cronic ear infections. The current ear infection she has we have treated with five yes five rounds of antibiotics. 3 different kinds and a shot. They keep saying that kids sometimes need more then one dose and on and on. She will be getting tubes however they can't until her ears have healed. She has had ongoing ear infections since turning one and some prior. Is not responding to antibiotics related to celiac or just something unique to her? They said none of the antibiotics given had wheat perhaps it is an absorption issue? If anyone can give me some insight I would really appreciate it. Thanks so much.

i agree to remove dairy immediately and possibly soy. I know asthma can run with celiac, are ya'll dealing with that as well? My daughter has celiac, asthma and multiple food allergies, and at our last check-up with the allergist a little survey thingy i filled out before her appt. asked if she had a problem with ear infections. She actually has had two this past fall, but i really associated them more with allergies, that turn into colds, that turn into upper respiratory infections or ear infections. I dunno maybe it does have something to do with celiac. I know sometimes Bayleigh is resistant to drugs. She got pink eye from pre-school (i hate how my kid gets sick all the time now that she's in pre-school) and she would not respond to the drops they gave her at first. She had it three times, and the fourth time (within a month) her Dr. wrote her an RX for stronger drops, and it finally went away. Bayleigh is always sick when her asthma is not in control though, so i thought that could possibly be ya'lls problem!? Good luck, hope ya'll figure this out, and WELCOME!!!

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Okay my stepson is 6 yrs old and has had cronic ear infections since an infant, for a few years now he's had bowl issuies where sometimes he's in a lot of pain from pooping, he has speech issuies (not sure if he gets it from his mother who cant talk right), and he's has alot of anger towards his brothers and towards me when i try to disipline. The anger with his brothers are he thinks that he can do what he wants to anything and anyone with out someone saying anything. With me when i try to get him to calm down or tell him he's wrong, he yells and screams how he hates everyone in the family and he's the boss. He's gone as far as to tell me he's going to get his mother's boyfriends gun and shoot me with it, or get a knife and cut me with it. Any idea if we should get him tested or atleast seen to discusse him having the possibilities of having celiac?

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Just wanted to add to the list of people already suggesting cutting out the milk. (And forgive me if you already have, I haven't read through all the posts yet, lol)

My 4 year old was getting constant ear infections, one right after the other until I took out all casein. He has not had a single ear infection since I took him off dairy. Still baffles me that our pediatrician never suggested a food intolerance, when all it took was cutting out milk to avoid tubes. We are now all casein free, and have eliminated not only ear infections, but most common colds and such as well. Last winter was a breeze!

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I can add my daughter's story here. From age 2 she had constant ear infections, ended up with hearing loss. Testing for food allergies and putting her on a treatment drop for that stopped this for about a year, then it came back.

The ENT said surgery was a must, but did ABX first and during the wait (with help from my allergist) we took her off milk. Within a few days she was normal--no surgery needed. To confirm it was milk, we put her back on milk as much as she would take and took her back to the ENT. Ear were about as bad as before--in need of surgery. ENT said--whatever you were doing, keep doing it!

We had her rotate milk with one serving every four days for several years and it helped.

She is now a young adult and still sensitive to milk. She has just recently gone gluten-free--so we'll see over time how this fits together.

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I realize this is an old thread, but when we cut dairy out of our diets, my daughter and I had no more ear infections!

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Celiac Disease is linked to so many problems! Ear infection, I believe, to be one of them. My son at 6-12 months had recurrent ear infections and lactose intolerance. Just after his 1st birthday, he went gluten-free and has done great with dairy and no more ear infections! Hope this helps those of you with small children. Gluten-free is no easy lifestyle, but very well worth it. Still awaiting testing for Celiac disease after little man's second birthday due to the high rate of false negative test results as recommended by his GI specialist.

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    • Hi egs1707, Welcome to the forum! Irene is right, you should not be gluten-free until all testing is completed.  The celiac disease tests are checking for immune system reactions and damage, and when you go gluten-free that starts to decline.  So the tests may not show the true immune reaction that is going on or the normal damage.  They may not show any damage in fact and you could get a false negative diagnosis.  You body starts healing and out the window go the test results.  Your doctor gets an "F" grade if they told you to go gluten-free now. But you aren't alone in having a doctor who doesn't understand the celiac disease testing process.  Many of them are woefully ignorant of proper testing for celiac disease.  That why the current estimate is somewhere in the range of 85% of celiacs in the USA are undiagnosed.  It doesn't help when doctors screw up the testing themselves.  Or refuse to test people.  Which is also far too common. I was vegetarian for 5 years.  I am not anymore and don't recommend it.  It is hard enough living gluten-free and finding safe food to eat and adequate nutrition for healing a damaged body.  I used to eat a lot of soy products when I Was vegetarian, but now soy makes me physically sick.  We can sometimes develop reactions to foods we eat a lot of while our guts are inflamed IMHO.  Soy is not a healthy food anyway from my reading. I can't do dairy now but may people who start out lactose intolerant end up being able to eat dairy after they have recovered. The best advice I can give is to avoid as much processed food as you can, and eat mostly whole foods you cook yourself at home.  When you do cook, cook big, and freeze the leftovers.  That way you can quickly take a small portion of food out of the freezer and reheat it.  Being celiac it is more important to learn how to cook.  Unless you are wealthy all those gluten-free processed foods add up quick.  Plus gluten-free processed foods often are lacking in fiber and vitamins. You'll want to watch out for vitamin deficiencies also.  Since celiac disease damages the villi in the small intestine, the vitamins and minerals etc are not digested and absorbed well.  So celiacs can be low on vitamin D, calcium,  and one other one I forget.  Vitamin B-12 may be low also ( it is important for nerve health).  Then there are some vitamins that vegetarians tend to have problems getting enough of also to consider. Adjusting to living with celiac disease means adjusting to a new diet and some lifestyle changes.  There's lots of us that make that change every year though, it's not impossible.  You will most likely end up eating better, more nutritious food than many of your peers.  And you will avoid a pletora of additional health concerns that can come along with untreated celiac disease. Learning to cook can be an adventure and you may enjoy it once you start.  you may find your taste in foods changes once you have been gluten-free for a while too. Recovery from celiac disease can take some months.  The immune system is very serious about protecting us and doesn't give up quickly.  Also it always remembers so it will react to even small amounts of gluten.  I live with gluten eaters at home and I do fine.  I just am careful about rinsing dishes off and so forth before using them. There is a Newbie 101 thread at the top of the coping with forum subsection.  It may provide some helpful info.  
    • That's great to hear you are feeling better Nightsky.  I really think when our GI systems are in distress already that it doesn't take much to set off symptoms.  Once I eliminated the other foods that cause me symptoms that helped a lot too.  And added some extra vitamin D to my diet and selenium. Many of us have developed reactions to other foods besides gluten and need to avoid them to keep symptoms at bay.  For me nightshades, carrots, soy, dairy, and celery all cause symptoms.  It took me awhile to figure out all those food culprits, but it made a big difference getting them out of my diet. But we are all individuals, and our bodies react individually.  So you may or may not have additional food intolerances develop. Celiac is one of those life journey things and we learn as we go.  Just keep the bottle of aspirin handy!
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