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BATON ROUGE, LA – The feeling of constant pressure in your ears, it’s not pleasant and can be pretty painful if you’re on a plane or even underwater. There is a name for that.

“It’s abbreviated ETD, but the full name of it is Eustachian Tube Dysfunction,” said Dr. Elliot Hardy. “So, basically, the way the tubes are supposed to work, when we swallow or yawn or even hold our nose and blow, like when we’re blowing our nose or sneezing, the tube should naturally open up and equalize that pressure, but when it’s inflamed that doesn’t happen.”

Dr. Elliot Hardy is an Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctor at the Baton Rouge Clinic, and in this week Women’s Wellness we are talking about ETD.

“The tubes that naturally connect the middle ear space to the back of the nose are filled with mucosa, and there’s a boney portion, and for whatever reason that can become inflamed and become blocked which will then lead to negative pressure build up in the middle ear space and pain and pressure to the patient,” explained Dr. Hardy.

What can cause it?

“So, a lot of the causes are different allergies maybe a reflux that’s actually getting up there. Anything that irritates the tube and causes inflammation can lead to Eustachian Tube Dysfunction,” said Dr. Hardy.

Dr. Hardy said everyone, no matter your age, race or gender can get it, but children are more prone to it.

Now my question is, how do you treat it?

“It’s actually a tough treatment, or we don’t have a great treatment, I guess I should say, at this point. Typically for my patients I recommend starting some nasal steroid sprays and even some nasal allergy sprays, and then I have them frequently pop their ears, as well, to try to encourage the tubes to open up as well, like they should be doing naturally,” concluded Dr. Hardy.

If you have questions, make sure to ask your doctor.

Dr. Hardy said other treatments include ear tubes and balloon therapy. If you want to learn more about those, just head to the links below:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/ear-tubes/home/ovc-20199999

http://care.american-rhinologic.org/sinuplasty

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK262265/

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