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Ear Infections Tied to GERD

New research has found an interesting connection between children with middle-ear infections -- also known as chronic otitis -- and gastro-esophagal reflux disease (GERD). Pepsin, the main digestive enzyme in stomach juice, is often found in ear fluid obtained from children with chronic otitis.

The interesting discrepancy between the occurance of pepsin in middle ear infections: These children do not show an increasing number of GERD symptoms.

As is normally the case, further research is needed to say that GERD actually causes otitis media, of if there is a cause-and-effect relationship at all. If a direct association is established, researchers believe otitis media could one day be managed with anti-reflux agents, possibly helping many children avoid the need for the placement of drainage tubes in the eardrum -- a procedure known as tympanostomy -- and other interventions.

Scientists studied 34 children with a history of recurrent or chronic middle-ear disease, and all of the subjects were candidates for insertion of tympanostomy tubes. Thirty-six ear fluid samples from 22 children were tested for pepsin. Two-thirds of ear fluid samples contained pepsin or its precursor, pepsinogen.

However, GERD symptoms were no more common in the study group than in a comparison group of children without otitis.

The treatment of GERD and childrens' ear aches are two of the easiest issues I resolve in my clinical practice.

  • As far as GERD, our success rate is well over 95 percent, and it is quite rare for any of our patients to fail to respond to our conservative, non-drug, non-surgical treatments. The first step is to increase the quantity of pure water. Most people are dehydrated and this causes a major challenge.
  • The ear ache is one of the common reasons kids see doctors and, again, very easy to treat by eliminating grains and sugars. If your child is overweight, it is also likely that the short-term elimination of most grains will also be helpful in lowering insulin levels.

Yahoo News September 17, 2004

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