I am a 38 year old female and have had a problem with my left ear for over 2.5 years now.
It started when I was pregnant in early 2010. I had a very bad cold where I sneezed many times over the course of a day. After one particularly hard sneeze, I could hear a pulsating sensation in both ears (like I could actually hear my pulse). I felt dizzy and had to lay down.
A few days later, my family doc put me on antibiotics for a sinus infection. I told him about the weird noise I was experiencing in both ears but he sort of waved it off as nothing.
After I finished the antibiotics, I felt there was alot of fluid trapped in my ears and still had the noise. I visited an ENT for further eval. He told me neither eardrum was moving at all and that I probably had eustachian tube dysfunction and that it would likely return to normal after several weeks. He said steroids could be prescribed but I did not want to take them during my pregnancy and also have had past bad reactions to them. He also said that it was very possible the noise was related to a "venous hum" due to my pregnancy. My OB agreed and said it would resolve itself after delivery.
My right ear got better over time but since then, but my left ear has never been the same. I still have the pulsating noise and still feel like something (like fluid) is trapped in there. I went back to the same ENTa year after this all began (I put it off as I was dealing with twin newborns) and he pretty much wrote it off as my family doc had done previously. He said my eardrums both looked good this time. I did mention to him that a few times over the course of the last several years, my family doc had noted that my left lymph node in my neck was a little swollen and could this be related. He had been telling me this for years but it generally coincided with an illness like a sinus infection or cold so he waved it off as nothing. I brought it up to the ENT thinking maybe it was related to my ear problem. He examined my neck and listened to my arteries with a stethescope. After he was done examining me, he said he thought my lymph node was fine but that I had an enlarged carotiod artery. We decided it was best to get a scan done to rule out anything serious so I had a MRI of the blood vessels in my neck. The MRI did indeed show that my left carotiod is larger than the right but the report was normal. The radiologist said it was uniformly large and they did not detect any abnormalities that would indicate an aneurysm or something serious.
This was over a year ago and I have still been dealing with this pulsating noise. I also have an aching sensation that occurs under my jawline near my left ear that seems to occur on occassion and is worse when I have a cold/allergy flare-ups. That has been going on for awhile now as well.
At this point, I don't know what to do. I feel like the possible lymph node enlargement/carotiod artery enlargement/pulsatile tinnutis/aching sensation/feeling of pressure and fullness all have to be related somehow.
If I am being told my ears look normal upon examination, is there another test that can be done that can actually look behind my eardrum to see if there is fluid trapped back there or possibly some type of nerve damage? Is it even possible to have fluid trapped back there for this long without it causing an infection?
And my biggest fear is that I have a tumor causing all of these symptoms. Would the MRI have shown a tumor if I had one (I just had images taken of the vessels in my neck)? Lymph node enlargment makes me concerned but then again I have one doctor saying it's enlarged and another telling me it's the carotiod and not the lymph node.View Thread
I get 2-3 sinus infections per year and have for many years. Colds seem to be a huge trigger as well as allergy flare-ups. I typically will take a course of antibiotics which will get rid of it. I cannot take decongestants or steroids so sometimes the nasal swelling will linger for a few weeks.
I caught a cold in early January and ended up getting a sinus infection a few weeks later. My doctor prescribed an antibiotic. I felt better after a few days but on about day 8 or so of being on antibiotics, I developed a sore throat and felt like the whole process was starting over again. I waited about a week or so to see if I would get better on my own. When I felt the same a week later, my doctor prescribed another antibiotic. I finished it last week and I still don't feel entirely well.
I have ALOT of drainage going down the back of my throat which irritates the lining of my throat and I have a headache/pressure between my eyebrows. The drainage is so thick, I sometimes start gagging/choking.
I already take Claritin and Nasonex for my allergies. Nothing seems to help.
I plan to make an ENT appt. this week. What should I expect from the visit? Since antibiotics, claritin and Nasonex don't seem to help, is there anything else I can try?
I should mention I have a fairly bad deviated septum so is probably making me suspectible to getting sinus infections.View Thread
Thanks for your reply. I do think the pulsating is related to that cold I had a few years ago due to the sudden onset. I would think that if it were a vascular cause, the MRI would have picked it up as the imaged all of the vessels on both sides of my neck and didn't pick up anything with the exception of the enlarged carotid which they said was not abnormal looking.
Fortunately, I live very close to a large university based medical center so I will definitely look into it.