Q: Thank you doctor. Please I really need your help. This is almost two months now I don’t know what cause noise ear in my ear. What medicine can I use? And I’m having serious headache and I have been drinking Amoxil still no result. Please, doctor I really need your help. Let me know what next to do. Thank you. God bless you more
A: Thanks for writing in. A lot to unpack. First, please do not take antibiotics without a prescription. What you are treating may not need an antibiotic, you may not take sufficient quantities to deal with the infection if there is one, leading to resistance (meaning when you have a real infection, the drug may not work) or you may take too much or for too long leading to a super infection (a situation where even the good germs in your body are killed opening one up to infections that would not have happened, all things being equal). You don’t want any of this to happen.
Now to noisy ears….
Noisy ears as you have described is, medically, called tinnitus. This is a sensation of hearing noise or ringing in the ears. The noise in the ears has also been described as whistling, humming, grinding, hissing, buzzing etc. This is, most times, not a sign of a serious medical condition and would just be a minor irritation as it comes and goes. In other instances, it is continuous, significantly impacting everyday life. It is worse when background noise is low (like at nights, as in your case) and worsens with age. Generally, it would get better over time or with treatment.
Other conditions associated with tinnitus include:
- Middle ear infection
- Ear wax build-up
- Inner ear damage
- Some medications like aspirin taken in very large doses and some antibiotics like Neomycin etc
- Medical conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes etc
- Perforated ear drums caused by violent events
Men, people who smoke, are exposed to loud noise on a prolonged basis, older people and those with cardiovascular problems are more likely to develop tinnitus.
There is really no treatment for tinnitus except there is a specific cause like ear wax build-up, high blood pressure, specific medication etc. In such situations, the cause is treated (e.g. removal of earwax changing medication etc.) and symptoms may get better.
In other instances where there is no cause, focus is on helping one live with it through counselling, therapy to change the way one thinks about the noise so that they are better able to deal with it, introducing one to neutral sounds, which help distract from the ear ‘noise’ etc. Some medications can also help reduce the severity of symptoms.
So, the first thing to do is to see an Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist. He/she will make a diagnosis and then advice on the next course of management.
And for headaches, I did a post on this a few weeks, which I repeat here.
Headaches refer to pain or ache anywhere on the head. They may be primary, in which case they are due to problems with the structures sensitive to pain in the head. Or they may be secondary in which case the pain is due to an underlying disease that causes the pain-sensitive structures in the head to be activated.
Common causes of primary headaches include:
Tension headaches: This is the more common type of headache seen as the everyday sort of headache. It affects both sides of the head as a constant ache. Its causes are not very clear but they can be triggered by stress, hunger, dehydration, etc they can last a couple of minutes to several hours but are not severe enough to stop regular activities. Resting and sleeping well, eating properly and staying hydrated can help prevent this.
Migraines: These are felt as severe throbbing pain at the front or side of the head. Some people may experience other symptoms like nausea, vomiting and being sensitive to light. The pain lasts from a couple of hours or can stretch on for days. Thus, it is more severe than the tension headaches and can stop an individual from carrying out their daily tasks. Some find that they need strong medication prescribed by doctors to get relief but others are relieved by using over the counter medications.
Cluster headaches: These cause severe pain around one eye and are associated with red or watery eyes and a blocked nose or runny one. They tend to occur for one or two months at a time at about the same time of the year. Most times medications do not work for these headaches. Your doctor will prescribe specific treatment courses.
Chronic daily headaches may be due to medication overuse. This would occur in people who use pain medications too often and then end up with rebound headaches…the exact condition they were trying to avoid. Moral of the story: Never abuse your medications J Use only as directed by your doctor.
Sex headaches: Yes, this can occur. It’s also known as post-coital headache, orgasmic headache etc. It could occur during sexual intercourse, during orgasm or after sexual intercourse. And it can also occur at any time of the day and during any type of sexual activity. It is felt at the back of the skull just above the neck and is usually described as throbbing. Or it could build up gradually during sexual intercourse and intensifies as the sexual excitement before an orgasm increases. They can last anything from a few minutes to a few hours; may never recur or may happen a couple more times before gradually fading away.
It is thought to be due to the release of adrenaline and rapid rise in blood pressure which occurs as one approaches orgasm. And so in these cases, the headaches may not be a cause for concern. However, it is also a possibility that these headaches are a sign of a more serious condition like bleeding onto the surface of the brain.
People who usually have migraines, who use recreational drugs like marijuana, use birth control pills etc are more likely to have sex headaches.
Should you swear off sex? Yes, if you’re unmarried And no, if you’re married;) If you have just experienced this, try lying quietly for about an hour or two after taking an analgesic (like paracetamol) to handle the pain. However, it is very important to see your doctor as soon as possible to let him/her know what happened. This is important because, while there may very well not be any underlying issue, you want to be sure to rule out any serious medical condition causing these headaches. Your doctor will also prescribe some drugs on a regular or intermittent basis to deal with your symptoms.
Primary headaches may be triggered by stress, skipped meals and dehydration as noted above. However, they may also be associated with alcohol, foods that contain nitrates like spinach and bad posture.
Secondary headaches may be due to dental problems, hangovers ear infections, blood clot in the brain, wearing tight gear on the head like hats or even wigs (yes, I see you ladies :D) or even eating cold stuff like ice creams etc.
So, what should you do? If you find that tight headgear or eating ice cream is the problem, see if stopping helps.
If you find that these headaches are now more frequent than usual, more severe than usual, stops you from going about your daily activities, is no longer responding to the over the counter medications you used to take etc, please see your doctor. If you have been seeing the same doctor, as it appears to be in this case, with no relief, please seek another opinion or request a review by a neurologist.
All the best.