Thursday, July 13, 2006

Tonsils, meth, and wax

FYI: We've been yapping about tonsils over at Balls and Walnuts. Come see.

It never ceases to amaze me how many different questions I can get on ear wax. Here's another:

Q: I have a friend (and no it is not me that I'm referring to...since most of those statements tend to elude to such...) he is an addict and smokes methamphetamine regularly. For quite some time (at least a year) he has had a lot of ear discharge/wax buildup, etc., and is starting to have hearing probs. He regularly can be seen twisting a q-tip around his ear and is often taking his pinky finger, inserting and wriggling it around/up and down while tilting his head. He's also used peroxide wash and tried candling in the past. Where is he headed with this problem is what I'm wondering as I encourage him to visit my ENT but he has yet to do that. It is concerning me that he'll have permanent damage if he does not have matter looked at. As I know that the smoke inhalation of this drug tends to clog the ear air passage and creates an inverse suction of sorts.

I don't know what to say to facilitate a doc visit and was hoping to have some info to back potential damage he has/may have already incurred from letting it slide this long.

A: As much as I'd like to give you ammunition to get him off meth, I don't think ear wax, ear problems, or hearing loss is where it's at. For the last eight years, I have worked in a BIG methamphetamine area (the Pacific Northwest), and I haven't seen a single ear, nose, or throat patient with complications due to meth. Sorry!

He plainly has ear wax from hell, however, and would benefit from having an ENT clean out his ears. He can try using the over-the-counter wax removal products, but when it gets as bad as you describe, these kits can make matters worse.

D.


13 Comments:

At 12:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Dr. H - I just stumbled across your site looking for info on tonsilloliths (which I have a raging case of right now due to a bad sinus infection that wants to drain down my throat). Anyway. I have two questions - 1: can doctors tell if you pick your nose when they look up there with the nose exam light thingy? I want to tell my little girl that, to make her stop, but not sure if it's true and I don't want her to make me a liar when she asks the doc next time we go in. 2: How do you make milk squirt out of your eye?
Thanks!

 
At 5:54 PM, Anonymous Doug Hoffman said...

1. No, not really, although if we see a perforated septum it's the first thing we think about. That and cocaine.

2. With great difficulty. You need to have milk in the nasal cavity under pressure. We see this with vigorous nosebleeds (bleeding from the tear duct), but I have yet to see/hear about milk coming out of the eye!

 
At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps the meth head is paranoid/delusional in regards to wax, and it is not truly there?

 
At 2:04 PM, Anonymous Tinnitus said...

I thought it was very amusing to read about how someone thought Meth abuse could be related to excessive ear wax...

I do find it interesting to know that, when your ears are badly plugged with wax, the over-the-counter products may actually make it worse! Yikes!

 
At 1:23 AM, Blogger Chase said...

I have this problem regularly...try sterile water i.e ear drops. they always work for me :)

 
At 5:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It actually can definitely clog ears. I think it's from how meth dehydrates you. Spit, mucus and ear wax can get very thick.

 
At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have excessive bugars i mean a lot could it be grom smoking meth?

 
At 5:49 AM, Blogger Dustin Martin said...

I have yellow thick discharge from my sinuses in excess for the last 4 months or so. could this really be related to dehydration?

 
At 5:50 AM, Blogger Dustin Martin said...

I have yellow thick discharge from my sinuses in excess for the last 4 months or so. could this really be related to dehydration?

 
At 5:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ya man/ all true. I dont think its earwax, but rather phlem with the viscosity of peanut butter. I've had my lungs so saturated before that I couldn't breath and my limbs were cold. U get this from chronic use. I got busted 6 months ago. Ive been out of rehab for a month. And I'm laying here typing this while coming down and tweaking off a 5day run.....yep I relapsed like a moron. Thought I could just do a Lil....that was not the case

 
At 1:15 AM, Blogger Tadgh MacMurchadha said...

It can happen, look on YouTube. I don't know if they're just forcing so much pressure in their nasal cavity while holding their nose or what, but yeah, totally can be done.

 
At 1:15 AM, Blogger Tadgh MacMurchadha said...

It can happen, look on YouTube. I don't know if they're just forcing so much pressure in their nasal cavity while holding their nose or what, but yeah, totally can be done.

 
At 1:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

LOLWTF??? This guy is a doctor and he asserts unequivocally that meth CANNOT cause ear complications?? or NOSE complications? No. Are you fucking kidding me? The information provided in this blog post is just straight up factually incorrect

 

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