If there is one thing I wish I had known more about before having children, it would be an understanding of ear infections and proper treatment. Actually sickness in general, why it happens, and how to investigate and find root causes. Unfortunately I was conditioned like many of us to not question a Doctor prescribing drugs. Take it, follow the directions and that should fix it right? Not so in many cases.
Instead we need to educate and empower ourselves to choose wisely when faced with putting anything into our children’s body. Luckily we still are blessed with a few great Pediatricians and Doctors, like our Dr. S, who listen, support and acknowledge parental concerns. I just wish there were more of them.
When any doctor suggests that a child should have surgery some serious questions need to be asked, especially if it falls under the “oh it’s routine we do it all the time” category. Today this is quite often the case in tubes, adenoid removal and tonsillectomy surgery.
Some current stats:
- Of those who have tubes placed in their ears, only 25% see significant improvement. The other 75% return to illness within 3 months of removal.
- Ear tubes remain popular — with an estimated 700,000 insertions a year in the United States
- Our body knows it needs tonsils and adenoids. They will begin to regenerate, and if surgery is done before the age of 3, studies show than in 75% of cases they come back. Pretty smart.
- 45% of tonsils regrow as well. Again our body inherently needs them, so they regenerate. Even more so if surgery is done in early childhood.
- Regrowth of tonsils and adenoids is linked to the continued presence of allergens and or toxins that were the cause of the issue in the first place. Remove the cause and there is no need to remove the tonsils.
- There is a critical time 6 months after surgery where children’s immune systems are significantly weaker.
- Just like any part of your child’s health…enlarged tonsils, adenoids or recurring ear infections are a sign that something is going array in the immune system. Explore the possibility of why, before jumping into surgically removing an important part of your child’s body.
Understanding why we have Tonsils and Adenoids
Both of these are extremely important to our entire immune system. Both the tonsils and adenoids act like a trap for allergens, bacteria and toxins that we are exposed to on a daily basis-if the bacteria, toxins and dust/mold were to travel deeper into our immune system then potentially more serious reactions could occur.
Our systems are ALL inter-connected:
Adenoids and tonsils work inside the lymphatic system and process fluid together with the other lymphoid tissues present in the human body. That liquid has lymphocytes (a form of white blood cell), whose job is destroying toxins and bacteria. If these contaminants and toxins miss out traveling thru the adenoids and tonsils, and enter through the skin, the antibodies are produced and travel to attack the invading toxins.
In upper respiratory infections, our tonsils are meant to neutralize by producing antibodies. These antibodies or immunoglobulins are proteins that are found in the bodily fluids (blood). As our tonsils begin to mature they produce five types of antibodies, including specific antibodies against Diptheria, Poliovirus, staphylococcus, haempophilus influenzae and streptococcus pneumoniae.
For those with weaker immune systems, like small children who have not built it completely up, the tonsils and adenoids are critical. With age, the adenoids have less responsibility but still continue to produce antibodies when allergens, toxins and bacteria enter through the breathing pathway.
Where are the tonsils and adenoids:
And then come infections
If the adenoids get over-worked with a higher amount of toxins, bacteria or allergens entering, then infections can occur. Younger children fall into this often as they are more prone to “ingest” bacteria by putting things into their mouths. Since both work in unison, if one is infected most likely the other is as well.
- Symptoms of infection or swelling in the adenoids include, difficulty swallowing, sore throat, heavy breathing, mouth breathing (critical to teach your children to nose breathe at it is a first line of defense to trap allergens)
The continual presence of allergens and toxins can cause repeated infections to occur in both the tonsils and adenoids. “A study done in Poland in 2004 showed that 28.6% of the children who had swollen tonsils, in fact had a major food allergy. The tonsils and adenoids were full of the allergen that the body was attempting to trap and thus were completely aggravated and swollen.”
Other studies have also come to this conclusion with environmental based allergies
Often, once the allergen was removed, the child’s adenoids and tonsils return back to normal, doing the job they were designed for.
From our own personal experience, our son was constantly stuffy, often berthed thru the mouth and snored. He was not what I would consider “well”. Many factors contributed to that, but the BIGGIE was milk (casein)! Once that was eliminated, he was significantly better, and so were his ears. Back to our pretty rad pediatrician who would tell me “milk isn’t meant for humans!” I finally listened.
Food Allergies or Sensitivities
Food allergies and sensitivities to food are two different things. An allergy can result in severe anaphylactic reactions, hives etc. Intolerance’s can last a life-time and show up in varying symptoms. Inflammation occurs in both the tonsils and adenoids due to the presence of the food causing the reaction both in short and long term situations. Both can be tested for; one a blood test, the other a scratch test. It is always a good idea to see exactly what you are dealing with. I would highly suggest auricular testing with an experienced Homeopathic doctor, as the intolerance will be 100% accurate. These Docs are far and few between, and I would only go to the BEST, like this one.
And then there were Tubes
Everything mentioned above can lead to recurrent ear infections-and then often doctors suggest draining the excess fluid with surgery or “tubes”. It is a billion dollar business…if we change the nutrition, health and how we treat infections initially, these too can be eliminated.
Natural Ways to Combat Adenoid/Tonsil and Ear Infections
Explore the idea of visiting a Chiropractor that specializes in children.
If the spine is out of alignment, even in the smallest of ways, it can have huge repercussions on your immune system. Everything is inter-connected to the vertebrae in the spine. Each organ, nervous system, brain, immune response etc…Vertebral subluxations have life-long impacts on overall health and injury. I cannot say enough about Dr. Mac, he is a genius in re-aligning our children’s systems.
Ear aches/infections/drainage issues can all be greatly reduced and completely corrected with spinal adjustments, as well as the negative effects of swollen tonsils/adenoids. The main reason being tied back to the inability to efficiently drain toxins and allergens, already illustrated above.
Young children are especially susceptible to spinal issues right from birth ( birthing itself can cause a whole series of subluxations), and if not corrected will continue to cause problems into adult hood. We’ve talked a bit about the fact that the tonsils and adenoids are part of the immune system, the ears are as well. Ear wax is part of our immune systems way of draining the foreign invaders of toxins, allergens and bacteria in our body.
Being that the tonsils and adenoids are a part of the lymph system; if you take a look at the diagram showing their placement in the body, you will notice that the Eustachian tube from the ears drains directly near the adenoids and the fluid flows past both the adenoids and tonsils.
A vital part of the lymph system is the ability to drain away the “dead” invaders as waste products. The drainage of the lymph system relies on the muscle groups located near each lymph node-for the adenoids and tonsils these are the muscles of the neck and upper body (think shoulder blades and up). If there is a subluxation of the upper spine, the ability for these muscles to contract properly and allowing for the lymph nodes to drain can be blocked partially or completely which results in these areas swelling and ultimately becoming infected by the waste products.
Often, even on the first visit to a Chiropractor, relief can be immediate, Here is a great study on Tonsillitis.
Homeopathic/Natural Treatment of Infections
When an infection in the tonsils, adenoids and ears is present the normal course of action is to prescribe an antibiotic. BUT the over use of antibiotics can have significant health issues especially in younger children. Antibiotics are completely UNABLE to decipher the “bad” bugs/bacteria/virus, instead wiping out both the good and bad bacteria found in our entire body, leaving it open to more infection.
Unless a child is prone to seizures, it is suggested to ride out the fever and not treat it with OTC’s (Tylenol, Motrin). The fever is the bodies way of fighting off the infection and is a vital part of the immune system function. Dr. Lawrence Palevsky has the best checklist for handing a fever and illness in a child, it can be found here.
A safe and effective method of treating fevers is to use Young Living Peppermint Essential Oil. The following is a great graphic on how to use essential oils for treating a fever.
Essential Oils for Strep Throat and Tonsillitis
Young Living Oregano Oil is a fantastic oil that is highly effective for bacterial and viral infections it also stimulated the immune system. By stimulating the immune system in a child dealing with Tonsil or Adenoid issues this will result in the immune system working to “kick out” or remove the trapped bacteria that can create swelling/inflammation.
Protocol for Oregano Oil
It is always a best practice to dilute oils for young children (under 5). Take 1-2 drops of Oregano oil and mix with any carrier oils like Olive, Almond, Grapeseed, Coconut. A 50-50 ratio Essential oil to carrier oil. Rub onto the child’s feet.
Ingesting oils is highly effective and often the quickest means to recovery (this can be done for children and adult over 5). It is a spicy oil and best to be mixed. I love mixing it with raw honey on a spoon or in a fresh pressed juice like apple/carrot. If you, or your child can swallow a capsule, then this is very effective! Take 2-3 drops of Oregano oil and 2-3 drops of olive oil in an empty capsule and swallow 2-3 times a day. **Keep in mind genuine therapeutic essential oil are completely safe to ingest. But I will only recommend Young Living.
It is best to avoid diffusing Oregano oil due to it being quite strong and my irritate the brachial tubes.
Adults-Using the same application methods as the above, but upping the dosage to 4-5 drops is highly effective.
A must have…Thieves Essential Oil
Thieves Oil Blend was created using a recipe from the 15th century, when robbers would cover themselves in oil so they would not contract the plague (and they never did!). The combination of oils is incredibly powerful and is a safe and natural replacement for antibiotics. It is also a highly effective antihistamine, all of these benefits combined make it a necessity oil blend to have in your medicine cabinet.
For small children, you can rub a few drops on the feet or diffuse.
For adults and older children ingesting is very quick and effective. Same type of protocol as above. Mix with honey, juice or in a capsule.
For acute illness it is suggested to take this up to 5 times a day and also rub directly on the throat area. Since the molecules and chemical structure of pure oils are very small, they have the ability to pass directly thru the skin and penetrate affected cells, kill the bacteria and heal at the cellular level. This is not the case with drugs like antibiotics.
Other Oils: There are other Young Living Oils that have been proven to help with Tonsils and Adenoids include Melaleuca alternifolia (also known as Tea Tree), Myrrh, Lemon, Ginger, Dorado Azul, Melrose and ImmuPower. Each of these oils have antibacterial and antiviral properties as well as decongestant properties which can help reduce the inflammation in the tonsils and adenoids. All can be used/applied as shown above.
Vitamin C and D-is vital to proper immune system function. Unfortunately the RDA(recommended daily amount) is set way to low for optimal health.
Herbs and Sea Salt! An herb that is highly regarded for ear infections is garlic and fenugreek. They are antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and help to relieve pain and discomfort. A simple recipe would be to take 2 tbsp of fenugreek seeds and simmer in 1 liter of distilled water for 20-30 minutes, then add crushed garlic and cloves and simmer for a few more minutes. Strain and add 1 tsp of sea salt until its dissolved. Let cool and gargle frequently. Let sit in your throat, and it is also completely safe to swallow. For additional anti-viral properties add one drop of Thieves essential oil.
In short, sugar suppresses the production of white blood cells, and they basically are superman for our immune systems. From the moment we ingest sugar, immune suppression starts. This cycle is even more detrimental on an infant or small child’s immune system.
Milk (Dairy) is known to cause a significant amount of inflammation and mucous. This mucous attempts to get out, and one major source of mucous removal is the sinuses-which are you guessed it directly related to ears, nose and throat. All of which drain past the adenoids and tonsils causing aggravation and leading to infection.
Dairy is also one of the things that is high on the list of food intolerances that many people don’t realize are causing internal issues. Not everyone exhibits lactose intolerance but humans are basically unable to digest lactose after age 6-7 when our body stops producing lactase to digest the milk (breast milk) that we are designed to digest as infants and toddlers. Ingesting large amounts of milk causes our body to go into remove it mode and the mucous is added as a way to flush it out of our system.
If you or your child have a constant stuffy nose, post nasal drip and recurring ear infections, remove dairy from the diet for about 2 weeks and see the difference it makes. ** Note not all dairy causes issues, grass-fed butter is not a true diary product as it’s actually a byproduct, camel, goat and sheep’s milk is much better tolerated in young children as it contains much lower levels of casein and lactose.** Yogurt can also be a good choice in the from of goat or coconut milk as it contains beneficial bacteria to help boost the gut flora and in turn improve immune function.
It will be said over and over again. Putting bad stuff in…will only yield bad stuff coming out. Is it harder to take away milk, sugar and processed foods, or have your child in a continual cycle of illness?
Hard to swallow for many, including me.
In the end, there are ALWAYS natural, safe and effective solutions to try first. Typically, no one needs to rush into surgery for tubes or even begin an antibiotic protocol right away. There IS time to begin a natural course of treatment. In the end, after researching you will know what is right for you and your family and feel confident in that!
Educate, empower and be encouraged! We are all in this together.
To learn more about Essential Oils and their true healing properties Here
Building your natural Medicine Cabinet one simple step at a time here
Disclaimer: Please seek advice of a Doctor to obtain a diagnosis. I do not diagnose, but rather offer options and want to empower YOU to make wise health decisions.
British Medical Journal September 11, 2004;329
Journal of Pediatrics, December 2006
Effect of Adenoidectomy on Respiratory Function: A Randomised Prospective Study Mary V. Lasley
Journal of the American Medical Association November 17, 2010;304:2161