You develop an ear infection when viruses or bacteria attack the middle ear – it affects the area behind the eardrum. Once you develop an infection, you will notice a buildup of fluid, which causes inflammation in the middle ear. You may also experience excruciating pain, especially if you have developed an acute infection.
Chronic infections recur often and can cause permanent damage to the middle and inner ears. You are more likely to develop an infection when your immune system is weak, and this is usually the case during pregnancy. Though an ear infection during pregnancy is annoying, the upside is that it usually poses no threat to your baby. Let's find out how to treat your ear infection while pregnant.
Reasons Why You Get Infection During Pregnancy
A variety of different things can cause ear infections. Your doctor is in the best position to tell you more about the underlying cause.
In most cases, you develop an ear infection due to colds, sinus infections, allergies, excess mucus, and swollen adenoids. When you develop a bacterial or viral infection, you experience inflammation that leads to the blockage of the Eustachian tubes. This causes the buildup of fluid in the middle ear and you develop a full-blown infection.
Since your immunity is on the weaker side during pregnancy, it is possible to develop these infections. In fact, many pregnant women experience these infections sporadically. Moreover, you can also get an ear infection any time during pregnancy – it could affect you in your first trimester or hit you at the end of your pregnancy. You are at an increased risk of developing an ear infection during pregnancy if you have chronic ear infections.
How Do You Know If You Have Ear Infection?
You will experience a number of symptoms when you develop ear infections. Some of the most common symptoms include the following:
- You may experience an excruciating pain. Earaches are usually very painful. It is more like a throbbing pain that never seems to go away.
- You may experience hearing issues. Hearing reduction is a common issue because infections can cause the tube in the ear to swell.
- You may notice fluid draining out of your ear. It is common with ear infections but many other medical conditions can also cause it.
You are also going to have swelling inside of your ear, but you may not be able to feel or see it yourself as it's usually in your middle and inner ear. You should see your doctor immediately so they could check your ear and make a correct diagnosis.
Home Remedies to Try
While it is important to talk to your doctor when you have an ear infection during pregnancy, you can try certain home remedies to keep your pain in control. Here are some simple yet effective home remedies for your earache.
1. Try Vinegar for Relief
You can use white vinegar or apple cider vinegar because they both have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Vinegar fights the fungus and eliminates it during the drainage process.
Here is what to do:
- Take a teaspoon each of water and vinegar and combine well.
- Lie down on your side with your affected ear on the top.
- Soak a cotton plug into the mixture and place it over your ear. Leave it there for at least 15 minutes and then remove it.
- Slowly turn your head in the other direction to drain the liquid. Do not try to use any cloth or something to remove any liquid – allow your ear to dry on its own. Repeat twice a day to clear your infection.
2. Use Salt Bag
You can use a warm salt bag to help relieve pain caused by an ear infection. It usually proves quite effective when your earache is due to sinus or cold.
- Simply take 100g of salt, put it in a pan, and let it heat for a few minutes.
- Now, seal the hot salt in a cotton cloth and place it on your ear. Be sure to dab it until it is no longer hot. Not only will it reduce pain, it will also reduce the pressurized feeling in your ear.
3. Make Use of Garlic Oil
With its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, garlic can always be a great remedy to treat an ear infection during pregnancy.
- Lie down on your side and put three drops of garlic oil in your affected ear. You can use a Q-tip for help. The remedy certainly proves effective, but it may take a bit time to produce results.
4. Utilize Olive Oil
Just like garlic oil, you can also put olive oil in your ear to relieve pain and inflammation. Mineral oil also works great by breaking down any blocked wax.
- Simply put a couple of drops of olive oil into your infected ear for relief.
5. Place a Warm Towel on Your Ear
Heat compresses really help reduce earaches. You can always use a warm towel to create that effect.
- Take a flannel or towel and heat it using a tumble dryer or a heater. When it becomes warm, place it over your affected ear to relieve pain.
6. Inhale Some Steam
Another effective and safe remedy is to inhale steam. The remedy works by loosening up the mucus in your ear. This will relieve earache and clear infection caused by sinus, cold, or flu.