What to eat (and what to avoid) during a UTI
Most women have experienced a urinary tract infection, or UTI.
While men can get UTIs, they mainly occur in females.
Once you’ve had an infection, it’s pretty easy to recognize the most common symptoms:
- Abdominal pressure and pain
- A burning feeling while urinating
- A near-constant feeling of having to urinate, even if you just went, and often only going a small amount
Left untreated, these symptoms quickly intensify from annoying to painful.
If you start to feel the symptoms of a suspected urinary tract infection, don’t wait to see a doctor. The sooner you begin antibiotics, the better.
Along with an antibiotic, what you drink and eat during a UTI can help you get better faster.
DO drink a lot of water, even if you’re not thirsty. This will help flush out the bacteria.
DON’T drink coffee, alcohol or caffeine until the infection is gone. These drinks can irritate your bladder.
DO drink a shot of sugar-free cranberry juice, if you like it. Cranberry juice may help fight infection, though the effectiveness is still being studied.
DO eat blueberries. They may have the same effect as cranberries, which is keeping bacteria from sticking to the lining if your urinary tract.
DON’T eat spicy food. It could irritate your bladder.
DO eat probiotics — plain Greek yogurt and fermented food such as sauerkraut and pickles. They contain “good” bacteria that can help keep the bad bacteria at bay.
DON’T eat a lot of acidic fruit, such as oranges, lemons or limes during the infection. They can irritate your bladder. However, once your infection is gone, eating acidic fruit with vitamin C can help prevent future infections. Add grapefruit and strawberries to your diet, along with spinach and green peppers.
Once you are prescribed an antibiotic, take the entire course. Don’t stop, even if you feel better.
During the infection — and after — make sure to drink a lot of water, at least 12 8-ounce cups per day. This will flush out your system and help prevent future infections.
If you feel like you’ve got to go, GO! Don’t hold it, as this simply delays getting rid of more bacteria. Holding your urine also provides the perfect environment inside your bladder for bacteria to grow.
Besides holding your urine, other causes of UTIs include sex (always urinate before and after), kidney stones or a lack of estrogen, which helps protect women’s bladders against bad bacteria. Some women are genetically more likely to get UTIs.
Urinary tract infections are very common. Knowing what to eat and drink can go a long way toward preventing these annoying infections from disrupting your life.
When your medical needs can’t wait, Edward-Elmhurst Health has board-certified providers ready to treat your non-emergency urgencies.
How to Get Rid of a UTI in 24 Hours: 7 Effective Home Remedies
You’ve heard of E. Coli before, but did you know it causes 90% of urinary tract infections?
The bacteria could get picked up in several ways, but the result is the same — pain! Are you experiencing painful urination, bloody urination, and abdominal pain? If so, then it’s likely you’ve got a urinary tract infection.
The discomfort is unbearable. So, you’re likely wondering how to get rid of a UTI in 24 hours. Read on to learn the top seven ways to treat your condition at home.
1. Water is Your Best Friend
When you first notice burning when you use the restroom, it’s tempting to reduce your water intake. After all, that will prevent the pain, right?
It seems counter-intuitive, but you need to flush out your system. You should drink plenty of water to help your body remove the E. Coli. Don’t overdo it, but drink as much water as possible in those crucial first 24 hours.
Cranberries can help when you have a UTI. Here’s how:
- UTIs happen when E. Coli attaches to your bladder
- Cranberries contain A-type proanthocyanids (PACs)
- PACs stop the bacteria from sticking to your bladder
Keep in mind that cranberries won’t cure an infection. They can help your body flush bacteria out. But, you’d have to ingest a strong concentration to eradicate them all.
3. Take a Sick Day
If you’re putting your focus on drinking more, then you’ll be urinating — A LOT.
It’s advised that you take a sick day for the first 24-hours. That way, you can stay close to the restroom and relieve yourself when you need to.
4. Consider Probiotics
Once E. Coli gets into your bladder, it’ll begin reproducing. It will start to invade and replace the ‘good’ bacteria that live in your gut and urinary tract.
Probiotics can help your body restore itself. It will increase the ‘good’ bacteria and prevent the ‘bad’ ones from taking over.
5. Eat Vitamin C
Vitamin C can help destroy bad bacteria due to its acidity. It will also help protect you from future infections, so start increasing your intake now.
6. Consume Garlic
Garlic doesn’t only ward off vampires. It also fights off bacteria like E. Coli. Increasing your garlic consumption can help you combat bladder infections.
It’s also effective with antibiotic-resistant UTIs.
7. Practice Good Hygiene
More than half of all women will experience at least one UTI. Many are unaware of their poor hygiene habits until they’ve experienced one.
Always wipe from front to back to prevent E. Coli from nearing your private space. Also, empty your bladder after having sex. If you’re prone to UTIs, then you should also avoid bubble baths and spermicide.
How to Get Rid of a UTI in 24 Hours
Are you experiencing painful urination and a constant need to run to the bathroom? If so, then you’re already wondering how to get rid of a UTI in 24 hours. The seven home remedies in this article can help.
If you’re still experiencing symptoms after 24 hours, then you need antibiotics. To get your hands on them, you’ll need to visit the doctor.
The doctors at Oxford Urgent Care will provide you with prompt treatment and relief. Check out our contact information and visit our office as soon as possible to remedy your UTI.
How One Woman’s UTI Remedy Put Her Life in the Balance How Drinking Too Much Water Put One Woman’s Life In Danger
For women who have heard that drinking plenty of water can help prevent or treat a urinary tract infection, you may want to put down that extra glass: A woman in England ended up in the hospital after loading up on liquids to keep a UTI at bay, according to a new report of her case.
The 59-year-old woman went to the emergency room in October 2015 to get antibiotics for a UTI, according to the report. After she received her antibiotics, she intended to go home and rest, but because she felt increasingly lightheaded and sick, her partner persuaded her to stay at the hospital.
The woman developed trouble speaking and finding words, and became distracted, doctors wrote in the report of her case, published today (Dec. 1) in the journal BMJ Case Reports. Her partner told the doctors that she had drunk several liters of water that day, according to the report. [7 Foods You Can Overdose On]
The patient herself commented in the report that she was no stranger to UTIs. “I have, since my 20s, had periods where cystitis [inflammation of the bladder] and related UTIs have flared up,” she wrote.
So when she woke up one Sunday morning and felt a “dull ‘thumbprint’ pressure” in her lower abdomen, she followed her usual protocol, which meant “(a) drink lots of water and (b) get to the doctor or [emergency room] quickly to get antibiotics,” she wrote.
The woman wrote that she recalled receiving advice to drink half a pint of water every half hour. But she drank even more, she wrote. “I am sure I exceeded the ‘half-a-pint-every-half-hour’ advice,” she added.
The woman wrote that after her partner persuaded her to stay at the hospital after receiving her antibiotics, it was “the end of any accurate memory [she had] of the day.”
Sodium: A balancing act
When a person drinks too much water, he or she can develop a dangerous condition called hyponatremia, the doctors who treated the woman wrote in the report. Hyponatremia means that the levels of sodium, an important electrolyte, in a person’s blood are too low.
Normally, the salts in a person’s blood “are in a very delicate balance with each other to keep the water in your body in the right areas,” said Dr. Maryann Noronha, an emergency-medicine physician at the Royal London Hospital in England and the senior author of the report. Noronha and her colleague, Dr. Laura Lee, treated the patient.
“If the amount of sodium in your blood falls, this makes [the blood] more dilute than other areas, meaning that water will be pulled out of your blood vessels into areas that are more concentrated as the body tries to balance things out again,” Noronha told Live Science.
“One of the areas most vulnerable to this is your brain, which can become swollen as water enters it in an effort to even out the sodium levels,” Noronha added. This swelling can lead to symptoms such as confusion and speech problems, according to the report. The condition can be deadly if it develops quickly and is not treated, Noronha said.
Noronha noted that she has seen many cases of hyponatremia in her 10 years of medical practice, so the condition was on her list of possible diagnoses for the woman. However, she also wanted to rule other dangerous conditions, such as a stroke, Noronha said.
“Hyponatremia can be very non-specific in its symptoms and can mimic many other conditions. It can also accompany many other illnesses, so it can sometimes be difficult to spot,” she added. [Here’s a Giant List of the Strangest Medical Cases We’ve Covered]
But if you know to test for low sodium levels, however, a simple blood test can spot the condition.
Treating low sodium levels depends on what caused the condition in the first place, Noronha said. In the woman’s case, for example, the cause was straightforward: the sodium levels had been diluted down by excess water, she said. If this is the cause, the main treatment is “often simply water restriction,” she said. If the condition occurs “because there truly is not enough sodium in the body, then the treatment can get more complicated,” Noronha added.
The doctors treated the woman by restricting her water intake to 1 liter for 24 hours. Thirteen hours into the treatment, her sodium levels had increased to a normal level, and the woman was discharged later that day, according to the report.
Indeed, the woman wrote that “something like 24 hours [after being admitted] I was bored, a sure sign I was on the mend!” She added that “it took about a week to feel ‘normal’ again” and was tired for at least another week after that.
The doctors last spoke with the woman several months ago and “were pleased to find that she was fully recovered,” Noronha said.
Since treating the woman, Noronha said that she now tries to be a bit more specific when advising patients about how much water they should drink. “It is important to stay well-hydrated during any acute illness to balance the effects of a [fever] and the infection in the body,” but this can be achieved by maintaining “normal fluid intake and [thinking] about drinking maybe half again on top of that,” she said.
Originally published on Live Science.
At-Home Remedies to Get You Through a UTI: Apple Hill Gynecology: Gynecology
If, like 60% of American women, you’ve had a urinary tract infection (UTI), and that burning sensation when you urinate strikes, you know you need to take action fast to avoid some serious pain. You’ve probably heard of a few home remedies, but do any of them actually work?
Marsha D. Bornt, MD, Donna Lamson, CRNP, MSN, WHNP-BC, and their team at Apple Hill Gynecology, in York, Pennsylvania, have treated countless UTIs over the years. We want you to know that most of them won’t work, even if they provide temporary relief from your symptoms.
First, let’s review the facts about UTIs.
UTIs develop when bacteria enter your urethra. Women are more likely to develop UTIs because of the proximity of their urethras to their anuses. Sexual activity and incorrect hygiene can push bacteria into your urethra.
As the infection takes hold, you develop symptoms such as burning pain during urination, cloudy or discolored urine, foul-smelling urine, and pelvic pain. When untreated, the bacteria can travel up your urinary tract to your bladder and potentially spread to your ureters and kidneys.
Drink lots of water
Drinking plenty of water is a great way to keep your urinary tract healthy overall. You should also incorporate it into an overall treatment plan for a UTI. However, if a bacterial infection has taken root in your urinary tract, you are going to need more than water to get rid of it.
Though studies show that cranberry can prevent bacteria from sticking to the inside of your urethra, most of the cranberry juices that you can buy at the grocery store are chock full of sugar. The sugar makes the juice taste better, but also is appealing to bacteria and can lead to a more severe infection. If you’re prone to UTIs, ask your provider at Apple Hill Gynecology if cranberry capsules or other sugar-free products could help prevent infections.
Over-the-counter UTI treatments
You can pick up plenty of over-the-counter UTI products in your local pharmacy. If you start to take any of these products at the first sign of a UTI, they can relieve your symptoms. However, this might lull you into a false sense of security. Though you might have symptom relief, these products won’t actually fight off the bacterial infection.
What gets rid of a UTI?
If you have any UTI symptoms, you should make an appointment with our team here at Apple Hill Gynecology. We offer urinalysis tests to confirm your diagnosis and can prescribe antibiotics to fight off the infection. We can offer advice on easing your symptoms and reducing your risk of recurring UTIs.
Protect yourself from getting a UTI in the first place
Fortunately, you can take steps to prevent urinary tract infections. First, make sure to drink lots of water. Staying hydrated helps your kidneys and urinary tract flush out liquid waste and bacteria.
Additionally, you should practice excellent genital hygiene. Clean your genitals clean with a mild, unscented soap. Always, and we mean always, wipe from front to back after you urinate.
And finally, urinate after sexual intercourse. Sexual activity can push bacteria into your urethra. Urinating right away can flush out any fluids that may have been forced into your urethra during sex.
You could also increase your vitamin C intake. It can increase the acidity of your urine, which creates a hostile environment for bacteria. You might also find that taking a probiotic helps you maintain a healthy biome and immune system. If you have questions about UTI prevention and treatment, your provider can answer them.
Call our office, or make an appointment online today if you have any UTI symptoms. Getting a diagnosis and treatment as early as possible can lessen your discomfort and help you get back to good health.
Cystitis – Treatment – NHS
Mild cystitis will usually clear up on its own within a few days, although sometimes you may need to take antibiotics.
See a GP for advice and treatment if:
- you’re not sure whether you have cystitis
- your symptoms don’t start to improve within 3 days
- you get cystitis frequently
- you have severe symptoms, such as blood in your urine
- you’re pregnant and have symptoms of cystitis
- you’re a man and have symptoms of cystitis
- your child has symptoms of cystitis
Women who have had cystitis before or who have had mild symptoms for less than 3 days don’t necessarily need to see a GP, as mild cases often get better without antibiotics.
You can try some self-help measures or ask a pharmacist for advice.
Things you can try yourself
If you have had cystitis before and don’t feel you need to see a GP, or had mild symptoms for less than 3 days, the following advice may help to relieve your symptoms until the condition clears up:
- take over-the-counter painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen (always read the medicine information leaflet beforehand to check whether you can take it, and check with a pharmacist if you’re not sure)
- drink plenty of water (this may help flush the infection out of your bladder and some people find it helpful, although it’s not clear how effective it actually is)
- don’t have sex until you’re feeling better as it may make the condition worse
Some people believe drinking cranberry juice or using products that lowers the acidity of their urine (such as sodium bicarbonate or potassium citrate) reduces their symptoms, but there’s a lack of evidence to suggest they’re effective.
These products also aren’t suitable for everyone. Check with a GP or pharmacist before trying them if you’re taking any other medication.
In some cases, a GP may prescribe a course of antibiotics. This will usually involve taking a tablet or capsule 2 to 4 times a day for 3 days.
For some women, they’ll be prescribed for 5 to 10 days.
Antibiotics should start to have an effect quite quickly. Go back to your GP if your symptoms haven’t started to improve within a few days.
Most people won’t have any side effects from antibiotic treatment, but possible side effects can include feeling or being sick, itching, a rash and diarrhoea.
If cystitis keeps coming back
If you keep getting cystitis (recurrent cystitis), a doctor may prescribe stand-by antibiotics or continuous antibiotics.
A stand-by antibiotic is a prescription you can take to a pharmacy the next time you have symptoms of cystitis without needing to visit a GP first.
Continuous antibiotics are taken for several months to prevent further episodes of cystitis.
These may be prescribed:
- if cystitis usually occurs after having sex (you may be given a prescription for antibiotics to take within 2 hours of having sex)
- if cystitis isn’t related to having sex (you may be given a low-dose antibiotic to take for a trial period of 6 months)
Your doctor may also recommend some measures you can take to prevent cystitis, although it’s not clear how effective these are.
Page last reviewed: 09 August 2018
Next review due: 09 August 2021
Can a UTI Go Away on Its Own?
Those who have dealt with a urinary tract infection, or UTI, know the uncomfortable symptoms that it causes. A UTI is a bacterial infection in any part of the urinary system, including the kidneys, bladder, ureters and urethra. UTIs most commonly occur in the lower urinary tract. While they are not typically serious unless left untreated, UTIs can cause painful symptoms like a burning sensation or pain when urinating, or a strong urge to urinate but being unable to do so. When the symptoms of a UTI first set in, many people find themselves wondering—can a UTI go away on its own?
More often than not, a UTI will need antibiotics in order to clear up. The specific kind of antibiotics prescribed will depend on the particular strain of bacteria that is causing the infection. In order to identify the right medicine, a physician will likely ask you to leave a urine sample. The sample will not only confirm the presence of an infection, but will be analyzed by a lab to identify the particular type of bacteria that is present in the urinary tract.
Home Remedies for a UTI
Still, some mild UTIs may clear up with the use of home remedies. While their effectiveness is still somewhat debated, the following home remedies may help to clear up a UTI:
- Drinking water, which may help to flush out bacteria from the urinary tract
- Drinking cranberry juice, which has antioxidants with antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties
- Getting enough vitamin C, which could help boost your immune system to fight the infection
Many physicians will advise their patients to try these home remedies in addition to antibiotics. Contact your healthcare provider for advice as it pertains to your unique situation.
When to Seek Medical Attention
Some people prefer to head right to see their physician when the first signs of a UTI occur. Others may want to see if home remedies could work first. It is important to note that if symptoms of a UTI persist after one or two days of using home remedies, you should see your physician for antibiotics. If left untreated, a UTI can worsen and travel farther up the urinary tract, potentially causing more severe symptoms as well as additional complications.
UTI Treatment from Tufts Medical Center Community Care
Tufts Medical Center Community Care provides treatment for a range of common illnesses, such as UTIs. Our primary care physicians, family physicians, OB/GYNs and urologists are highly trained and experienced, and provide individualized care to patients of all ages. We have locations throughout the north suburban Boston area, so you won’t need to travel too far to get the world-class care you deserve. Our centers are easily accessible, have ample parking and feature shorter-than-average wait times. We also offer both evening and weekend appointments for your convenience.
Contact the friendly staff at Tufts Medical Center Community Care today to schedule an appointment for UTI treatment. We accept most major health insurance plans.
What to Do and When to See a Doctor
Urinary tract infections (UTI) are very common, particularly in women. A UTI is an infection of the urinary system, which includes your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Usually, UTIs are an infection of the lower urinary tract, which is your bladder and urethra.
Urinary tract infections happen when bacteria enter your body through the urethra and then spread and multiply in the bladder. The growing bacteria can cause an infection of the urinary tract.
While some people with a UTI don’t experience symptoms, others do. Symptoms may include:
- A strong, constant feeling that you need to urinate
- A burning feeling when you urinate
- Cloudy urine
- Blood in the urine (including pink, red, or brown urine)
- Pain in the pelvis, especially in the center
You may be able to cure a mild urinary tract infection at home.
Remedies and Treatment for UTI
Uncomplicated urinary tract infections sometimes go away on their own. In one study, 21 out of 28 women’s infections disappeared without treatment.
Here are a few UTI remedies you can try at home to relieve symptoms and speed your recovery:
Cranberries have been used to treat UTIs for centuries. This is because cranberries contain proanthocyanidins, chemicals that prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of the urinary tract. Cranberries also contain quinic acid, which works to kill bacteria in the urinary tract.
While some studies have found that cranberry juice or pills may help treat UTIs, other studies have found no positive effects of cranberries. Even if cranberries don’t actually help treat UTIs, the fruit is unlikely to cause you harm. However, don’t drink cranberry juice if you’re on blood thinners, like warfarin.
Avoid Diuretics and Irritants
Certain drinks may irritate the bladder, including coffee, alcohol, citrus and caffeinated drinks. Avoiding these liquids may help you relieve some symptoms, such as burning during urination. These drinks also act as diuretics, which will make you need to urinate more frequently, possibly making the UTI symptoms more irritating.
Probiotics, live bacteria found in some foods and supplements, are important in maintaining natural balance in the vagina, urethra, and bladder. Probiotic supplements help avoid an overgrowth of E. Coli, the bacteria that commonly cause UTIs. Not only can probiotics help treat UTIs, but they also help you prevent UTIs in the future. Probiotics can be found in foods like yogurt. Probiotic pills can also be taken by mouth or inserted into the vagina.
Use a Heating Pad
Another simple home remedy is placing a heating pad on your abdomen. This can help lessen your discomfort.
Make sure you are drinking plenty of water to help flush out your urinary system.
Instead of only treating UTIs, you can make a point to avoid them. There are several actions you can take to help avoid urinary tract infections in the future. Follow these tips to help prevent UTIs long-term:
- Urinate after having sex to help flush out any bacteria
- Stay hydrated, and don’t resist the urge to urinate
- Wipe from front to back after urinating or defecating
- Avoid diaphragms and spermicide condoms
- Avoiding scented products near your genital region, as they can irritate the urethra
Increased levels of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) in your diet may also help prevent urinary tract infections. Scientists believe that this is because vitamin C makes the urine more acidic, which helps to prevent bacterial infections of the urinary tract.
When to See a Doctor
If your urinary tract infection does not clear up on its own, your doctor can prescribe antibiotics.
UTIs can be dangerous if the infection spreads to your kidneys. Go see your doctor if you experience fevers, shaking, nausea, or vomiting, as these may be signs of a more serious infection.
If a UTI is left untreated, kidney damage can occur. Sepsis, a life-threatening medical emergency, is also possible. In pregnant women, leaving a UTI untreated can lead to premature birth. In men, it can lead to narrowing of the urethra.
Removal of sulfur plug
Sulfur plug is formed due to increased secretion of sulfuric glands. It consists of sulfur, the secretion of the sebaceous glands, flakes of flattened skin, cholesterol. Normally, they are removed by movements of the anterior wall of the ear canal during conversation, chewing. The retention is facilitated by the narrowness and tortuosity of the ear canal and the increased viscosity of sulfur. The color of the sulfur plug is from yellow to dark brown. The consistency is initially soft, waxy, then dense and even stony.
Symptoms and course
The plug can become large, but if there is at least a narrow gap between it and the wall of the ear canal, hearing remains normal. However, it is enough to get a small amount of water into the ear, as the sulfur swells and suddenly hearing drops sharply, there is a feeling of stuffiness, sometimes noise in the ear. The plug can put pressure on the eardrum and cause reflex headaches, dizziness, coughing, and nausea.
Recognition based on complaints, ear examination.
The cork is washed out with warm water. Before doing this, you need to make sure that there was no suppuration from the ear earlier, i.e. that the integrity of the membrane is not violated. In such cases, the plug is removed using special tools. Rinsing should be done with warm water (37 ° C), so as not to cause dizziness, nausea. The jet from the syringe is directed along the back wall of the ear canal, pulling the auricle backward and upward. With sufficient jet force, the plug is washed out in whole or in parts.Then the ear is dried with a cotton wick. If the procedure did not give a tangible result, then the sulfur is softened by instilling alkaline drops or 3% hydrogen peroxide solution.
To prevent the formation of a plug, do not remove the wax with hairpins, the tip of a rolled towel, as this pushes the earwax deep into the ear canal. In addition, the use of sharp objects can injure the membrane and walls of the ear canal. 90,000 Ear hygiene: the main thing is not to overdo it
Maria Mikhailovna Negrebova – otorhinolaryngologist, audiologist, tells about the true purpose of earwax and cotton swabs.
Recently, a 32-year-old female patient K. came to the ENT department of our hospital. She complained of regular formation of sulfur plugs in the ears, discomfort, a feeling of “ear congestion” and hearing loss after water procedures. The ENT doctor is not observed, reports that he carefully monitors the cleanliness of his ears, and independently cleans his ears daily with the help of cotton swabs. The patient was especially worried by the fact that, despite the most attentive attitude to ear hygiene, she still has such problems about 2-3 times a month.
When examining the ears on both sides, dense sulfur masses of stony density were found, which completely covered the entire external auditory canal, and thereby impeded the passage of a sound wave, reducing hearing acuity. They got wet when bathing – they swelled, causing a feeling of stuffiness in the ears. Launched sulfur plugs were removed using special instruments under the control of optics and microscopic technology.
Similar cases in the practice of our doctors are encountered very often, and therefore we consider it our duty to tell about this in more detail. The problem of excess production of sulfur masses is very easily solved when visiting an ENT doctor at a frequency that is individual for each patient, which will avoid serious complications.
Earwax – everything is good in moderation
Earwax (cerumen) – most often a yellow-brown greasy secretion produced by the modified sweat glands of the external auditory canal. On average, on each side of the sulfur glands, there are about 2000, they emit 12-20 mg of sulfur per month.Earwax serves to lubricate and clean the ear canal, protects the ear from bacteria, fungi and even (!) Foreign bodies and insects. Sulfur consists of proteins, fats, free fatty acids, and mineral salts. Ph of earwax is 4-5, which counteracts the development of bacterial and fungal flora. In addition, the composition of sulfur includes dead cells, sebum, dust and some other inclusions.
The physiological functions of earwax include moisturizing and protecting the skin of the ear canal. Earwax is naturally evacuated from the ear by chewing, along with water entering the ear canal and by the movement of small hairs inside the ear canal. A significant number of people have a natural tendency to hypersecretion of sulfur masses, as well as a special anatomical feature of the structure of the external auditory canal – a narrow convoluted shape, which can impede the effective removal of accumulated sulfur. Often, the cause of hypersecretion is the constant trauma and irritation of the skin of the external auditory canal in people who actively use cotton swabs for other purposes, in patients who use earmolds while wearing hearing aids, earplugs for headphones, hands-free, earplugs.All this ultimately leads to a violation of evacuation and the accumulation of sulfur masses, compaction and formation of sulfur plugs, which can cause microtrauma to the delicate skin of the ear canal like a pressure sore, skin infection, inflammation of the external ear and even hearing loss due to blockage of the ear canal.
What does it have to do with ear sticks?
Most people use cotton swabs to clean their ears, despite the fact that doctors and the manufacturers themselves recommend not to do so.In order to understand what the pros and cons of this hygienic product are, let’s turn to history (based on materials from tjournal.ru).
Leo Gerstenzag, a Pole who lived in the United States of America, became the inventor of cotton swabs. According to the most famous version, he once watched his wife clean up their child with a piece of cotton wool strung on a toothpick, and decided that it was unsafe for the baby. At that moment, the inventor’s head came up with the idea of a commercial implementation of this simple design – special cotton swabs called “Baby Gays”, unlike the modern version, the base of the sticks was wooden, and the head was placed only on one side.Over time, this invention became known all over the world under the brand name “Q-Tips”, also in the 1950s, the company began producing handkerchiefs, which also proved to be incredibly popular. Research firm Euromonitor estimates that in the United States alone, cotton swab revenue in 2014 was $ 208.4 million.
Until the 70s of the twentieth century, no one warned about the dangers of using cotton swabs for cleaning the ear canal, in 1972 the first warning labels appeared on the packages, but they still indicated that one of the options for using the swabs could be “ ear cleaning for adults ”.There is not a word about ears on modern packaging. On the website of the company Q-Tips (owner of Unilever), they are offered to clean the keyboard, correct cosmetics on the face, and apply hygiene procedures for animals in nail care.
Why do we continue to use sticks for other purposes?
There are several reasons. There is still a low awareness of the population about the problems caused by their use, although manufacturers now place a warning on the packaging about the undesirable consequences of using chopsticks.It is also difficult to give up the pleasure that we experience when we clean our ears with chopsticks: human ears are covered with a large number of nerve endings from the inside, after the impact of cotton buds, they become even more irritated, forcing us to take the stick again and “make ourselves pleasant” again. Another important factor is social: many people think that earwax is just dirt, and ears must be cleaned daily as deeply and thoroughly as possible. Meanwhile, sulfur is as much protection for the ear as tears are for the eyes.
What is the danger of frequent and deep use of cotton swabs?
The use of cotton swabs helps push and tamp the earwax into the ear, which can ultimately lead to inflammation of the middle and outer ear. Complications such as damage and perforation of the eardrum, middle ear ossicles, bleeding, and deafness are not uncommon. In 2017, The Journal of Pediatrics reported that from 1990 to 2010. for ear injuries associated with the use of cotton swabs, 263,338 children under 18 years of age were admitted to hospitals.We have not been able to find such statistics for the Russian Federation at the moment, so let’s be impressed by the data of our foreign colleagues.
How to keep your ears clean?
Most otorhinolaryngologists around the world adhere to this rule: cleaning your ears is washing with soap to the level that your index finger reaches. If necessary, to perform deeper interventions, you need to contact an ENT doctor. He will conduct a more detailed examination and, if necessary, remove the accumulated sulfur masses by washing the ear or with special devices under the control of vision or a microscope.With increased sulfur secretion, it is worth using special means for the natural dissolution of sulfur – of course, on the recommendation and under the close supervision of an ENT doctor.
How to wash your ears with hydrogen peroxide
It is enough to rinse healthy ears with water, but in some cases it is necessary to use hydrogen peroxide.
The ability to take care of your ears and remove sulfur deposits in time is a good prevention of many ENT diseases.Healthy hearing organs are usually self-cleaning and do not require additional procedures. It is enough to wash them with soap and water. But sometimes hydrogen peroxide comes into play – and you need to use it correctly.
“Benefits” of cotton swabs
Healthy ears should not be cleaned frequently and actively from the inside. The sulfur glands produce a protective lubricant that protects the hearing organs from insects, damage, and germs. The channels are cleared on their own when a person moves the jaw – when chewing, sneezing, talking.
Some people like to clean their ears with cotton swabs, matches and other foreign objects. This dangerous activity can lead to dire consequences. Instead of escaping, the wax will be pushed into the ear, collecting there, irritating the glands and interfering with the production of protective lubricant. This is how ear plugs appear. And if you overdo it with such a “cleaning”, the eardrum may also be damaged.
What to do with sulfur plug
If a plug does appear in the ear, you should go to the ENT doctor.If your hearing is impaired or one ear starts to hear somehow differently, it is worth visiting a specialist. With stagnation of sulfur, sometimes there is a feeling that the ear canal is blocked, pain and noise appear in the head, a person may feel sick.
The plug itself – this is very important – should be removed by an experienced otolaryngologist in a sterile office environment. After the procedure, the doctor will most likely advise prophylaxis – rinse your ears with hydrogen peroxide a couple of times a month.
Purification with hydrogen peroxide
In order to carry out prophylaxis and remove excess sulfur, a 3% peroxide solution is needed.Fifteen drops of the product must be mixed with a tablespoon of water. Collect the solution in a pipette.
A person needs to lie on his side and pipette five drops of the solution into his ear with a pipette. You should not try to penetrate deep into the ear canal – it is enough to get to the surface, and the agent itself will get to the sulfur. In this position, you should wait twenty minutes, and then turn over and carry out the same procedure with the other ear. The liquid that will flow out should be absorbed with a clean cloth or cotton wool.
After getting into the ear canal, the peroxide should sizzle. This suggests that the hardened sulfur began to soften.
If a gentle solution does not help, you can make a more concentrated product – mix pure water and hydrogen peroxide one to one. You can also put five drops of petroleum jelly in each ear to soften the wax.
In some cases, in order to remove accumulated wax, it is necessary to bury the ear up to two to four times during the lavage.This is a long time, but such prevention will be very useful and effective for those who are prone to the formation of plugs and stagnation of wax in the ear canals.
Rinsing of the hearing organs can be prescribed not only for sulfur congestion. People use peroxide for other medicinal purposes – for disinfection in inflammatory processes, otitis media, and injuries. But such a decision should only be made by an experienced specialist. If you suspect an ear disease and want to carry out any manipulations, you should consult an ENT doctor.
After washing the ears, ear hurts – what to do in such cases?
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- Causes of pain after rehabilitation
- What to do if ear pain occurs after self rinsing?
Earwash is an effective procedure for cleansing the ear canal from wax plugs and other secretions.Removal of sulfur plugs is the elimination of accumulated sulfur with a high pressure of liquid, which is injected into the ear with a Janet syringe. Also, sanitation is prescribed to remove a foreign body and remove pus, fungal masses, epidermal masses, cholesteatoma, which are a consequence of otitis media.
Despite the effectiveness of the procedure, the patient may experience discomfort or even painful sensations after it. Why is this possible?
Causes of pain after debridement
Unpleasant sensations after the procedure can develop in two cases:
- Increased sensitivity of the skin of the external auditory canal due to the inflammatory process in the ear. The external auditory canal and eardrum are a very sensitive reflexogenic zone (they have many nerve endings). Any physical impact (washing, ear toilet) can provoke pain. Removing the plug can sometimes provoke the appearance of aching pain in the ear, especially if there was a slight inflammation under it. Then, after the procedure, the doctor may prescribe a local antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory treatment.
- Injury to the tympanic membrane.This often happens when self-rinsing in an attempt to remove the sulfur plug. It is unlikely that this will happen at an otolaryngologist’s appointment. A ruptured eardrum is accompanied by acute pain, dizziness, tinnitus, spotting.
What to do if ear pain occurs after self-rinsing?
If the ear is damaged as a result of self-rinsing, consult an otolaryngologist. A layer of cotton wool should be placed in the external auditory canal of the injured ear and covered with a bandage.It is forbidden to instill any drops into the damaged organ or try to continue self-medication.
The doctor will help relieve pain and prescribe treatment. In severe cases, with perforation of the tympanic membrane, an operation, tympanoplasty, can be prescribed.
If your ear hurts after washing, the ENT doctors at the Ear, Throat and Nose Clinic will be happy to help. The professionalism of our doctors allows us to quickly cope with any pathologies of ENT organs and select the best treatment program for each patient.
Washing of ears, removal of sulfur plug
Washing of ears in Krasnoyarsk
- Painless washing of ears;
- Effective removal of sulfur plug;
- The appointment is conducted by a physician with 17 years of experience.
Hearing loss and discomfort in the ears may indicate a narrowing of the ear canal caused by the presence of wax plugs or other foreign bodies. Qualified specialists of the KIT clinic will help to establish the correct diagnosis and carry out a quick and painless ear washing in Krasnoyarsk .
Appointments are conducted by otolaryngologists
Examination of the patient and determination of the cause of hearing impairment
Diagnostics is carried out on the basis of patient complaints and visual examination of the hearing organ. First of all, the nature of the ear contents is determined. It can be:
- sulfur plug;
- foreign body;
- pathological substance with purulent otitis media.
The most common cause of discomfort and hearing loss is excessive formation of sulfur masses as a result of:
- increased work of sulfuric glands;
- non-observance of ear hygiene;
- water ingress;
- frequent inflammatory diseases;
- use of hearing aids or headphones;
- physiological features of the ear.
Most often, the cork is easily visible through the auricle, has a pasty or compacted dry structure of a yellow, orange or brownish tint.
If you feel unpleasant sensations in your ear (feeling of tightness or stuffiness), do not self-medicate under any circumstances! With careless movements, the plug can be pushed into the ear canal or completely damage the eardrum. Experienced specialists of the KIT clinic will perform removal of the ear plug by rinsing painlessly and quickly.
How is the ear rinsing and the removal of the wax plug
The procedure does not require special preparation and is performed directly at the doctor’s appointment. Washing consists of the following steps:
- the patient is positioned sideways to the doctor and firmly presses a special container under the auricle to collect water;
- the doctor fills Janet’s syringe with a special solution;
- a stream of liquid in separate portions, under slight pressure, is squeezed out onto the posterior upper wall of the external auditory canal;
- solution, heading up the wall of the auditory canal, pushes the plug outward, rinses the ear canal and drains into a container.
In the presence of an inflammatory process in the ear, washing is carried out with an antiseptic solution.
After the end of the procedure, the patient’s head is tilted to one side to completely drain the fluid from the ear. After that, the doctor dries the external auditory canal and checks the completeness of the plug removal.
For quick rehabilitation and subsequent prevention of ear diseases, medical recommendations should be followed:
- when cleaning ears, use cotton swabs with a special stopper;
- when visiting the pool, use a swimming cap;
- Protect ears from the ingress of various irritating substances;
- Protect ears from hypothermia and drafts;
- always remove any water that has got into the ears;
- wash ears with clean fresh water after swimming in various bodies of water;
- Perform external ear hygiene regularly.
When the first signs of a disease appear or a foreign object gets into the ear, immediately make an appointment with the KIT clinic. With a timely appeal to our specialists, the disease can not only be stopped, but also prevented in time!
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Answers to popular questions
How to make a toilet for ears
Toilet of the ears is the cleaning of the external ear canal on your own or in a medical institution. During the procedure, earwax, plugs, pus, and crusts are removed. The manipulation is carried out in a wet or dry way. It is more expedient to use a dry toilet, performed using an ear probe with a special thread for winding cotton wool.
Earwax is a yellowish waxy substrate produced by the sebaceous glands of the ear canal. It lubricates, cleanses and protects the ear canal by repelling water, trapping dirt, and protecting against bacteria and insects. Sulfur has a slightly acidic environment and has bactericidal properties.In the absence of wax, the ear canal will become dry, itchy, and the risk of infection will increase.
Nature provides for the self-cleaning process of the ears. Excess sulfur flows out of the ear canal naturally – this is facilitated by jaw movements (talking, chewing). Once the wax reaches the outer ear, it can be easily removed by washing, showering / bathing. No cotton swabs, pins / hairpins, matches and other “tools” are needed for this. It is enough to wash the auricle with soapy fingers.
Sulfur plug: causes of
When a surplus of sulfur is produced or obstacles to its natural movement, a plug forms – sulfur accumulates in the ear canal, blocking its lumen.
The most common causes of the formation of sulfur plugs:
- attempts to clean or scratch the ear with cotton swabs, hairpins: they only push the wax deeper into the ear canal;
- the use of a hearing aid, cotton swabs, earplugs, headphones contributes to the accumulation of sulfur, since its natural evacuation is blocked;
- swimming often provokes excessive sulfur production.
More at risk of excess sulfur accumulation:
- Patients with hair in the ear canals.
- Narrow aisles.
- With benign bone growths in the outer part of the ear canal.
- Patients with a history of sulfur congestion episodes.
- With recurrent ear infections.
- Elderly: Sulfur becomes drier and harder with age, increasing the risk of sulfur plugging.
Patient may experience:
90 099 90 100 pain, itching;
Problems with excess sulfur formation and condensation to plugs can occur regularly. You cannot try to get rid of them yourself with the help of cotton swabs. This will push the plug. Sharp instruments can damage the eardrum. Doctors urge patients not to try to remove the sulfur plug on their own, but to contact an otolaryngologist every six months or a year for routine preventive ear cleaning.
Independent ear toilet
As noted above, the ears do not require special cleaning.According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, sulfur removal should only be done when plugs form and unpleasant symptoms appear.
- Drops for softening sulfur or hydrogen peroxide solution (3%) are collected in a warm pipette.
- Lie on its side, gently pour / drip the solution into the ear.
- Leave for 5-7 minutes.
- Press the napkin to your ear and tilt your head.
- A small pear is used to rinse the ear canal with warm water (~ 37 ° C), pulling the earlobe up and out.
- Blot the ear with a tissue to remove any remaining water.
The procedure can only be performed on a healthy ear, and very carefully. Perforation of the tympanic membrane, inflammation are contraindications for self-disposal of sulfuric plug. The doctor will help to identify the pathology: depending on the symptoms, he will conduct an additional examination.
To avoid injury or other complications, cleaning is best done in a medical facility. In the clinic, the otolaryngologist will perform irrigation – washing the ear canal with a stream of water under pressure.Doctors use a special syringe or electronic irrigator with pressure control, directing the jet at different angles. In the case of dense wax plug, the doctor examines the ear canal with a speculum to ensure that the ear is completely clean. If irrigation is contraindicated, the ENT doctor removes the sulfur plug using special instruments (probe, otoscope, and others).
For detailed advice on the procedure, please contact the otolaryngologists of the medical centers President-Med
Author: Mamunts Tsovinar Alekseevna
Chief Physician President-Med g.Vidnoe
Higher Medical, Perm State Medical Institute, Faculty of General Medicine, specialty-general medicine
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Thanks to Yulia Vladimirovna! The doctor is very experienced, attentive, and most importantly, children love her very much! I had to deal with the child several times and always every reception is at its best.It’s so good when there are such good doctors […]
O. N. Shchetinina
Many thanks to all the employees of the clinic for their well-coordinated work and good mood. Special thanks to Yu.A. Ivanova. for professionalism, responsiveness, individual approach. […]
90,000 Earwax Riddles: Why Do We Need It?
- Jason Goldman
- BBC Future
Photo by Getty
The sulfur that stands out in our ears is a strange thing.Why is it, what does it consist of? And is it true that it is needed in order to kill parasites? Browser
BBC Future is looking for answers to these questions.
Whales never clean their ears. Year after year, sulfur is collected there, according to which you can read the whole story of their life, told in the language of fatty acids, alcohols and cholesterol.
A similar substance accumulates in the auditory canals of many mammals, including humans.
True, our earwax is not so interesting.It will not work to write a biography of a person on it, because most of us regularly clean our ears (we will talk about this below).
However, high science is behind this base substance.
Earwax is produced only in the outer part of the ear canal, where from one to two thousand sebaceous glands are located (by the way, the same glands on the head provide natural lubrication of the hair) and modified sweat glands.
Add hairs, dead skin cells and other waste products of the body to the resulting secret – and the earwax is ready.
For a long time it was believed that this substance serves primarily as a lubricant (at first it was even used in the manufacture of lip balms).
It has also been said to prevent insects from entering the human head through the ear canal.
And some even believe that earwax, among other things, is an antibiotic.
Photo author, Getty
Some have wet and oily sulfur, and some have drier and harder they called it “a sterile earwax trap” and took samples of the substance from 12 people and mixed them in an alcoholic solution.
Bacteria were then added to the resulting medium. The solution was found to kill 99% of bacteria in certain strains, including H. influenzae (which, oddly enough, does not cause influenza) and a strain of E. coli called K-12.
Other strains of E. coli, as well as streptococci and staphylococci, turned out to be more tenacious – the death rate of these bacteria under the influence of earwax ranged from 30% to 80%.
But it is clear that earwax had a bactericidal effect on all 10 types of bacteria that participated in the study.
Similar results were obtained in 2011 in Germany. Scientists have found that earwax contains ten peptides that can prevent the development of bacteria and fungus.
According to researchers, infections in the outer part of the auditory canal occur precisely due to a failure in the defense mechanism, the functioning of which depends on earwax.
However, a study conducted in 2000 at the University of La Laguna in the Canary Islands (Spain) gave completely opposite results.
According to the observations of scientists, earwax had practically no effect on staphylococci, and in most cases it even promoted the multiplication of bacteria, including E. coli, apparently creating a rich nutrient medium for them.
This is not the only study to question the antimicrobial properties of earwax.
One detail helps to shed light on the reason for such significant discrepancies in the conclusions made by scientists in the framework of this and other studies.
Experiments conducted in 1980 and 2011 used dry earwax, whereas in 2000, scientists chose the wet form for testing.
It is unclear whether this difference actually affects the antimicrobial properties attributed to earwax, but the hypothesis seems tempting, especially since both types of sulfur consist, in fact, of the same ingredients.
However, if you have not looked into your friends’ ears to see what their sulfur looks like, you will probably be no less surprised than mine to learn that there are really two types of sulfur.To be so frank, to be so frank – my sulfur is wet.
Photo author, Science Photo Library
Washing the ears with a syringe removes excess wax without the risk of damaging the eardrum
The type of earwax is determined genetically and is reduced to a difference in one single letter in a single gene – ABCC11.
If at the beginning of the name of this gene is A, a person has dry sulfur, if G is wet (by the way, the smell of these two types is different).
With the help of earwax, scientists even tried to determine the direction of migration of the population in antiquity.
In the descendants of Europeans and Africans, sulfur is most often wet, and in those from East Asia it is usually dry and scaly.
The Pacific, Central and Asia Minor, and Native American and Inuit populations are more evenly distributed between the two types.
However, for most of us, the most pressing problem regarding earwax is how to remove it.
Apparently, this issue has been acutely on the agenda since at least the 1st century AD. NS.
In his treatise De Medicina (“On Medicine”), the Roman physician Aulus Cornelius Celsus offers a number of methods for removing wax accumulated in the ear canals.
“If this is a peel,” he writes, apparently referring to dry sulfur, “heated vegetable oil is poured inside, mixed either with yar-copperhead in honey or with leek juice, or with a small amount of soda dissolved in honey wine “.Wow!
Once the wax has been loosened, it can be washed out of the ear with water. But “if it is dirt” – which apparently means a wet type of earwax – “vinegar is injected with a little baking soda, and when the dirt softens, the ear is washed.”
In addition, Celsus advises “to rinse the ear with a beaver stream mixed with vinegar, laurel oil and juice from the skin of young radish or juice of a wild cucumber with the addition of crushed rose leaves. Instilling the juice of unripe grapes with rose oil also gives good results in deafness.”
This recommendation sounds more like a recipe for a witch’s potion than a quote from a scientific treatise, but doctors still use almond or olive oil to soften the cork before trying to remove it.
I must say that for some people the problem of sulfur congestion is really so acute that medical intervention is required to solve it.
Photo author, Getty
Doctors still use olive oil to loosen sulfur plugs
According to an analysis carried out in 2004, about 2.3 million people in the UK see a doctor with this problem every year and about 4 million ears are processed.
Most often, sulfur plugs are formed in older people, children and people with learning disabilities.
Of course, this problem can lead to hearing loss, but also social isolation and even mild paranoia.
“Some patients with cerumen congestion,” the scientists write, “also show a perforation of the eardrum.”
However, since earwax by itself cannot damage the auditory membrane, the conclusion suggests itself that patients self-inflict this injury – perhaps when trying to remove the earwax themselves.
Since it is risky to use cotton swabs to remove the plugs – even for qualified doctors, in most cases some kind of emollient is used, followed by rinsing the ear.
However, the opinions of doctors about the optimal emollient and the benefits of rinsing as such differ.
In 2012, researchers from the University of Minnesota School of Medicine (USA) Anjali Vaidya and Diana Jay Madlon-Kay concluded that the use of earwax softeners, ear washing and other methods of manual removal of wax plugs, although they have the right to existence, but none of these methods are guaranteed to be more correct, safe, or effective than others.
Nevertheless, it is better to entrust this procedure to specialists. Despite all the attendant risks, some people, after taking a shower, boldly poke a cotton swab in their ears, knowing full well that doctors do not recommend doing this.
Excessive exposure can lead to perforation of the tympanic membrane or, paradoxically, to the penetration of sulfur even deeper into the ear canal.
Moreover, sometimes cotton wool falls off the stick and remains in the ear canal as a foreign body.
In general, the main thing to remember: do not use sticks to clean your ears! Or, at the very least, don’t stick them deep into your ear canal.
Another alternative medicine that should be avoided like fire is candling the ears.
This method consists of taking a hollow wax or paraffin candle, holding it to your ear and lighting the opposite end.
It is believed that the heat inside an empty candle pulls earwax out of the ear canal and can then be easily removed.
If this idea sounds crazy to you, you are absolutely right. It is not substantiated by anything.
In addition, there are many known cases of molten wax getting on the eardrum, which is very painful and dangerous.