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Medical therapy for Eustachian Tube Dysfunction (ETD)

Once diagnosis has been established, and more serious problems have been ruled out, medical therapy can be instituted. This may include nasal steroid sprays, anti-histamines, nasal irrigations, corticosteroids, and other decongestants, depending on your individual findings. Your otologist may also want to perform additional testing to determine if there are other treatment options that will help you decrease the symptoms of ETD.

Medical treatment

Some treatment options include:

  • Nasal steroid spray (Flonase, Nasonex)
  • Anti-histamines (Claritin, loratadine)
  • Leukotriene Inhibitors (Singulair)
  • Corticosteroids (Medrol dose pack, prednisone)
  • Afrin (for short-term relief only)
  • Sudafed (for short-term relief only)
  • Anti-reflux medications (Prevacid, Zantac, omeprazole)

Each patient is different and should be treated on an individual basis. It is important to speak to your doctor first to determine which treatment will result in optimal outcomes with minimal side effects.

Lifestyle modifications

Smoking is a very potent irritant that can exacerbate Eustachian tube dysfunction. An easy way to improve Eustachian tube dysfunction dramatically is to quit smoking cigarettes and any other inhaled smoke or vapor.

There are also maneuvers that patients can utilize, called auto-insufflation, which is the process of blowing air through your nose into your ears. This can help relieve built up pressure in the ears, especially when changing altitudes. Other practices such as yawning, chewing gum, and swallowing while pinching the nose shut can help keep the Eustachian tubes from closing.

Allergy Testing and Immunotherapy

Sometimes, an allergy test may reveal an avoidable allergen such as a certain food or animal. By avoiding certain allergens, inflammation and swelling in the Eustachian tube can improve and thus restore function.

If it is detected that you are allergic to certain unavoidable allergens such as pollen, dust, trees, or weeds, your doctor may offer immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is a customized process wherein the body develops a higher tolerance for allergens. After several months, symptoms of blockage and inflammation may resolve because the immune system is no longer trying to fight the allergen.


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