Otomycosis, also called swimmer's ear, mainly affects the external auditory canal. Otomycosis accounts for 7% of all cases when otitis externa is diagnosed, or inflammation and infection of the ear canal. The most common causes of otomycosis are Candida and Aspergillus. A fungal infection of the ear is often confused with a bacterial infection of the ear canal. Most often, an ear infection is treated as if it were bacterial. It is not uncommon for doctors to prescribe antibiotics that do not help with fungal infections. If antibiotics are unsuccessful, your doctor may prescribe antifungal medications and recommend various home remedies.
Attention: the information in this article is for informational purposes only. Before using any methods, consult your doctor
Method 1 of 3: Recognizing the Symptoms of a Fungal Ear Infection
Step 1. Notice abnormal itching in the ear (pruritis)
From time to time, the ears may itch as they grow a lot of hairs that can tickle the skin. However, if you have persistent itching that doesn't go away after scratching or rubbing your ear, it could be due to a fungal infection. This is the main symptom of a fungal ear infection.
Step 2. Pay attention to ear pain (otalgia)
Fungal infection is almost always accompanied by pain in one ear (but not both, as the infection is local). Sometimes patients describe this pain as "pressure" or "fullness." The pain can be mild or severe. Typically, the more often you touch your ear, the more pain it gets.
Step 3. Check for ear discharge (otorrhea)
Fungal ear infections usually have a thick discharge that can be clear, white, yellow, and sometimes bloody and odorless. Don't confuse this discharge with regular earwax. Take a cotton swab and wipe your ear (be careful not to insert the swab into your ear canal). You will find the usual amount of earwax, but if the discharge is too much or is of an unusual color, you may have a fungal ear infection.
Step 4. Check if your hearing has deteriorated
Fungal infection can be accompanied by hearing impairment: speech and sounds seem muffled, you have to strain to hear others. Sometimes people realize that their hearing has deteriorated due to changes in their behavior. Hearing impairment causes frustration, the person avoids talking and begins to communicate less.
Method 2 of 3: Medication
Step 1. Know when to see your doctor
In the case of an ear infection, it is best to visit an otolaryngologist to make the correct diagnosis and prescribe the most appropriate treatment. Seek medical attention if you experience severe pain, hearing loss, or other unusual symptoms.
- Your doctor will be able to completely clear your ear canal with a suction device and will prescribe medications to help fight the infection.
- Your doctor may also recommend over-the-counter pain relievers or pain relievers if you are in severe pain.
Step 2. Use Clotrimazole to treat a fungal ear infection
One percent clotrimazole solution is one of the most popular antifungal agents prescribed for fungal ear infections. It kills Candida and Aspergillus fungi. The principle of this drug is that it suppresses the production of an enzyme that is used to produce ergosterol. Ergosterol is required by the fungus in order to maintain the integrity of the cell wall. Clotrimazole lowers ergosterol levels and thus inhibits fungal growth.
- Be aware of the side effects of clotrimazole. This can be irritation, burning, and discomfort in the ear. However, side effects are less common when clotrimazole is used as a topical product rather than an oral drug.
- Before using clotrimazole, wash your hands with running water and mild soap. Clean any visible discharge from the ear with warm water. Blot your ear gently with a clean towel. Avoid rubbing your ear in an attempt to remove any remaining fluid to avoid worsening the condition.
- Lie down or tilt your head to one side to expose your ear canal. Pull your earlobe down and then back to straighten the ear canal. Apply 2-3 drops of clotrimazole to the ear. Hold the ear for 2-3 minutes to allow the solution to reach the infected area. After that, tilt your head so that the excess solution poured onto the napkin.
- Close the lid of the medicine bottle and keep it out of the reach of children. Store the medicine in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources.
- If clotrimazole does not clear up the ear infection, your doctor may decide to use another antifungal agent, such as miconazole (Mycoson).
Step 3. The doctor may prescribe fluconazole ("Diflucan")
If you have a serious ear infection, you may be prescribed fluconazole. It works in the same way as clotrimazole. The most common side effects of this drug include headache, nausea, dizziness, changes in taste, loose stools, abdominal pain, skin rashes, and elevated liver enzymes.
Fluconazole is taken in pill form. Usually, doctors prescribe a dose of 200 milligrams on the first day, and then 100 milligrams daily for 3-5 days
Step 4. Don't take antibiotics
Antibiotics are only effective in treating bacterial infections; they do not help get rid of fungal infections.
Antibiotics can even make fungal infections worse, as they can kill bacteria in the ear and other parts of the body that fight the fungus
Step 5. Visit your doctor again
Your doctor will schedule a follow-up visit in about a week to see if your treatment is helping. If the doctor does not find positive changes, he may prescribe another treatment.
See your doctor before your scheduled follow-up date if symptoms worsen or your condition does not improve
Method 3 of 3: Home Remedies
Step 1. Use hydrogen peroxide
Use a pipette to put 2-3 drops of hydrogen peroxide solution into the affected ear. Wait 5-10 minutes for the solution to penetrate the ear canal, then tilt your head to allow excess fluid to drain out of the ear. This will help loosen the hardened earwax in your ear canal and thereby flush out the fungus from your ear.
Step 2. Use a hair dryer
Set the temperature and flow rate to minimum and keep the hair dryer at least 25 centimeters from the affected ear. This will dry out your ear canal, which will slow down the growth of the fungus.
Be very careful not to burn yourself
Step 3. Apply warm compresses to the affected ear
Dampen a clean towel with warm water. Make sure the towel is not too hot, place it on your sore ear and hold it until it cools. This can help relieve pain and avoid the need for pain relievers. In addition, warm compresses improve blood flow to the infected area, which speeds recovery.
Step 4. Use rubbing alcohol and apple cider vinegar
Mix them in a 1: 1 ratio. Using a pipette, put a few drops of the solution into the affected ear. Wait 10 minutes for the solution to penetrate the ear canal, then tilt your head to allow excess fluid to drain out of the ear. This solution can be instilled into the ear every four hours for up to two weeks.
- Alcohol has a drying effect and helps to get rid of moisture in the ear canal, which contributes to the growth of fungus. In addition, it disinfects the skin in the ear canal. The acid in vinegar slows down the growth of the fungus, as Candida and Aspergillus prefer an alkaline environment.
- This mixture disinfects and dries the ear, which helps to get rid of the infection faster.
Step 5. Eat food rich in vitamin C
Vitamin C is essential for the growth and repair of tissues damaged by fungal infections. It helps the body produce collagen, a protein that serves as a building block for skin, cartilage, and blood vessels. Doctors recommend that you consume 500-1000 milligrams of vitamin C daily with food.
Citrus fruits (oranges, lemons, limes), berries (blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries), pineapples, melon, papaya, broccoli, spinach, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower are excellent sources of vitamin C
Step 6. Use garlic oil
Pierce the garlic oil capsule and squeeze the contents into the affected ear. Wait 10 minutes for the oil to penetrate the ear canal, then tilt your head to allow excess fluid to drain out of the ear. This can be done daily for up to two weeks. Studies have found that garlic oil has antifungal properties against Aspergillus (one of the two main causes of fungal ear infections).
Moreover, it has been found that garlic oil results in a similar or faster healing rate compared to prescription drugs used to treat fungal ear infections
Step 7. Cleanse your ear with olive oil
A fungal infection is accompanied by a whitish or yellowish discharge from the ear. In addition, more earwax is produced during infection. This can lead to blockage of the Eustachian tube. Olive oil is great for softening earwax.