Known as fungal infection in the vernacular, otomycosis can occur anywhere in the ear; from the outer ear to the eardrum, all structures are vulnerable to the fungus attack.
While it is fairly common across the globe, it is more prevalent in the hotter and tropical regions. People who have certain ailments, like diabetes, are also more at risk of developing ear infections.
It may affect one or both ears. The infection also has the potential to become chronic as well.
If you suspect your ear ailment to be a fungal infection, you should consult an ENT specialist so that the danger can be contained.
Symptoms of otomycosis
There are a wide range of symptoms associated with fungal infections. They can be non-specific like pain in the ears, swelling in the region alongside inflammation. There are also more specific symptoms associated with this infection that include flaking of the skin, hearing problems, ringing in the ears.
Moreover, a fungal infection also leads to the discharge of fluid from the ears. It may be of different colors; from yellow to white to black to brown to gray to even green, any color is possible.
Causes of otomycosis
The underlying cause of the infection itself is the fungus. While there are very many kinds of fungi that can lead to infection, however, the most common ones are Aspergillus and Candida. Even though the former is commonly found around us, however, some factors can contribute towards it causing infection and not remaining harmless anymore.
Similarly, the latter is also not foreign to us; Candida is found inside of us, but some of its species can lead to the development of infection.
There are also other factors that can increase the propensity towards this condition. Some people become susceptible to this infection due to poor immunity. People with compromised or weak immunity are also more likely to suffer from repeated bouts of infection.
Another cause of fungal infection is excessive antibiotic and steroid use.
Risk factors for otomycosis
There are certain factors that can increase the risk of infection. Swimming in dirty water can increase the risk of fungal infection. Using earplugs and hearing aid, especially when dirty, can also increase the risk for infection. Putting ear swabs or cotton buds can also increase the risk for fungal infection.
Moreover, people who are diabetic are also at risk of otomycosis. The other risk factors for fungal infection in the ear include eczema, skin problems that are chronic, and trauma as well. Lymphoma and AIDS also increase the risk of otomycosis.
The treatment for otomycosis is composite of different processes. These include:
The first step in the treatment is cleaning the buildup. It should not be done at home with a cotton swab. Instead, rely on your doctor to clean the ear. They may use suction or rinse to clean the ear. The ear is then dried.
Antifungal ear drops are also then used for the treatment of the fungal infection. Commonly use drops include clotrimazole and fluconazole, although there are other types as well that include miconazole and econazole etc.
For some strains of infections or those that do not respond to other treatment options, oral medication may then be prescribed. In case the infection is taking longer to resolve, the doctor may also then rely on oral medicines for the treatment. Typically prescribed oral medicines includes itraconazole.
Patients may also have to take pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs to get better.
Ointments or creams can also help in clearing out the fungus. They are generally applied to the outer part of the ear to also help with improving symptoms of the infection.
Topical medications that are commonly used include ketoconazole and clotrimazole. If you are suspecting a case of otomycosis, you should consult the Best ENT specialist in Islamabad.