User Profile
About three months ago, I woke up one morning with my left ear feeling completely plugged up. This was not preceded by a cold or anything else and I\'ve never had trouble with allergies. Over the following couple weeks, the feeling of fullness improved significantly, but was replaced by ear pain and pressure. These symptoms have continued with fluctuating severity ever since and I consistently get popping and clicking in my ears when I swallow (much louder in the left ear).

Since this began, my ears and nose usually feel congested when I wake in the morning but, until recently, I wasn't experiencing any congestion during the day. Over the last month, however, I have been experiencing increasing congestion in my left nostril, even though I can't blow any excess mucus out of it (what mucus I do have is usually completely clear). If I breathe heavily through my nose, I can feel pressure in my left ear and left side of face (sinus?). What could be going on?

Did you find this post helpful?

User Profile
replied May 28th, 2010
Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders Answer A12560
Hi, welcome to the ehealth forum and I am glad to help you.
You seem concerned with ear pain and nose congestion which probably are due to Eustachian tube dysfunction. Common causes for Eustachian tube problems include: Allergies, colds, sinus infections, barotraumas (injury to the ear from changes in atmospheric pressure). When the ears are infected, the eustachian tubes become inflamed and swollen. The enlarged adenoids can also lead to eustachian tube dysfunction. The eustachian tubes are inside the ear. They keep air pressure stable in the ear. These tubes also help supply the ears with fresh air. Swollen and inflamed eustachian tubes often get clogged with fluid and mucus from a cold or sinus infection as may be in your case. If the fluids plug the openings of the eustachian tubes, air and fluid get trapped inside the ear. This makes it harder for fluid to drain out of the ear.
A long-lasting dysfunction of the eustachian tube can become the cause for development of chronic otitis media (COM) with tympanic membrane perforation, otitis media with effusion (OME), and atelectasia of the middle ear. So, you must consult an ENT doctor for the thorough evaluation and diagnosis as the same cannot be made online. This will include a history and examination of the ear, nose, and throat. Depending on your situation, further testing will include a hearing test, tympanometry (a test that measures the pressure in the middle ear) and CT or MRI scan. Treatment depends upon the stage of the disease. Initially, efforts to control the causes of eustachian tube obstruction, such as allergies, sinusitis or other head and neck infectious problems, may prevent progression of chronic otitis media.
Hope this helps. Take care.
Note: This post is not to emphasise final diagnosis as the same cannot be made online and is aimed just to provide medical information and no treatment suggested above be taken without face to face consultation with health care professional.

Did you find this post helpful?
This question has been answered by the doctor. This topic is now open for public discussion, however no comments below this point will be answered by a doctor.
Must Read
Do you know the three main reasons we cough? Learn common causes of cough and when coughing might indicate a more serious health problem....
Coughing is normal. But what can cause more troublesome coughs? Learn more about possible causes of cough here....
When should you see a doctor about cough symptoms? When are symptoms a sign of further complications? Learn about cough symptoms basics here....
DISCLAIMER: "Ask a Doctor" questions are answered by certified physicians and other medical professionals. For more information about experts participating in the "Ask a Doctor" Network, please visit our medical experts page. You may also visit our Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders , for moderated patient to patient support and information.

The information provided on eHealth Forum is designed to improve, not replace, the relationship between a patient and his/her own physician. Personal consultation(s) with a qualified medical professional is the proper means for diagnosing any medical condition.