Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Doctor's Orders

Less Exercise and Gain Weight...


To be clear the Dr. did not suggest weight gain because I'm sooo skinny....not remotely...because I'm not soooo skinny.

For years and years my ear has bothered me....then it bothered me less and I didn't even realize it...until I lost weight last summer...then it was back with a a vengeance and I thought "that's weird, surely the two are not connected?!" 

Turns out they are...

Yesterday I went to an ENT and was diagnosed with -

Patulous Eustachian tube, also known as patent Eustachian tube, is the name of a rare physical disorder where

the Eustachian tube, which is normally closed, instead stays intermittently open. When this occurs, the patient experiences autophony, the hearing of self-generated sounds. These sounds, such as one's own breathing, voice, and heartbeat, vibrate directly onto the ear drum and can create a "bucket on the head" effect.

Patulous Eustachian tube is a physical disorder. The exact causes may vary depending on the person. Weight loss is a commonly cited cause of the disorder due to the nature of the Eustachian tube itself. Fatty tissues hold the tube closed most of the time in healthy individuals. When circumstances cause overall body fat to diminish, the tissue surrounding the Eustachian tube shrinks and this function is disrupted.

Activities and substances which dehydrate the body have the same effect and are also possible causes of patulous Eustachian tube. Examples are stimulants (including caffeine) and exercise. Exercise may have a more short-term effect than caffeine or weight loss in this regard.

This is so annoying especially when I am teaching and exercising but also just when I'm having a normal conversation...

And of course because it is rare it is difficult to treat - the best way is to literally gain weight.  The Dr. explained to me that most Americans have the opposite problem because of being overweight.


Dr. is doing more research and is to call me back this week.  There is one procedure but it could result in worse conditions...so encouraging :(

It is nice to know exactly what it is and that I'm not crazy.

It does help explain a few things about me...I HATE blowing my nose because it HURTS...I now understand it is because my middle ear is already filled with air and the extra pressure of the nose blow causes pain.

On the bright side...I asked him about SCUBA diving as Jeff and I plan to get certified in the next year to prep for our 25th anniversary trip.  He said my "rare" condition will actually help in that area...

Oh yea! Maybe I will hang up my teaching hat and become an underwater photographer...


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