Medical Q&As

Ear infection - very painful?

I went to visit the doctor with an earache and was told that I had a bacterial ear infection. The pain is excruciating in my ear and down my jaw line. I have been prescribed antibiotics but they could only give me a mild dose of amoxil as I am 24 weeks pregnant. I was wondering if you would be able to tell me when the symptoms will start to subside because at the moment I am living off 2 paracetamol every 4 hours and have to suffer pain for about an hour before the 4 hours are up. The pain is just getting me down and I would be grateful for any advice you can give me.

This sounds like a case of otitis media or middle ear infection. That means that the infection is lodged behind the eardrum in the middle compartment of the ear. The middle ear is a small cavity in the skull bone and is separated from the outer ear by the eardrum. When fluid gathers in the middle ear, as a result of infection, most of the pressure from the build up of fluid is exerted on the eardrum. This causes the eardrum to bulge into the outer compartment of the ear, which creates throbbing pain that can escalate vary rapidly. This pain tends to reduce in intensity once treatment has been administered. I would expect some reduction of symptoms within 24 to 48 hours of commencing treatment. If you were not experiencing any improvement in your condition over the coming few days I would advise that you return to your GP for re-assessment.