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Old 08-21-12, 11:30 AM   #1
AntHill
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Touringg related illnesses

Touring*

Hi

Last year I went on a tour of Europe. I was cycling 80 to 100 miles everyday for 5 days with 1 days rest. My tour lasted 4 and a half months. Since then I've developed what appears to be a Eustachian Tube Dysfunction. I'm not saying it is related, but I've never suffered from it before up until this point.

My symptoms are a blocked feeling in the left ear and and heightened sense of hearing in the same ear. Its almost like living in a box because I can hear myself talk and breathe. If i put my head between my legs it goes almost immediately only to return when i straighten up. It also goes when I'm lying down and usually in the evening after eating. Its gradually got worse and worse since I returned from my tour.

I've been to see two different Ear Nose and Throat specialists and three different doctors. The doctor didn't seem think it was related to my ride and the two specialists said there is nothing they can do to help me, hopefully it will just go by itself.

I've used all matter of decongestant tablets and nasal sprays as advised by my doctor. None appear to have resolved the issue.

I started to search the net for possible causes so i can try and get better. I came across something called Patulous Eustachian Tube. The symptoms seem almost spot-on. One possible cause is a sudden loss in weight. Well, on my ride I did lose a hell of a lot of weight in a short period of time. I'm starting to wonder if this could be the cause.

Since i've been home i ride regularly for fitness but I want to put weight on "heathily" while maintaining my fitness. My questions are this:

1) Has anyone else suffered from anything similar

2) What can you recommend that I can eat to add weight on gradually withough stuffing myself with things that are bad for me?

Thanks for taking time reading this. I really want to get rid of whatever I have and i'm starting to think the long tour I did may be related...

Thanks

Ant
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Old 08-21-12, 11:40 AM   #2
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Did you fly before or after your tour?

Or do some cycling up some mountains?

On the flight from Japan to London a few weeks ago, my left ear plugged right up as you describe and it was probably close to 2 weeks before it cleared. Even now, when I travel by train and we go through a tunnel, it blocks a little bit again. I was using both decongestants and nasal sprays to try to clear things up, and I think the nasal spray worked the best.

But I haven't had any sort of significant weight loss!
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Old 08-21-12, 12:13 PM   #3
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I have flown after but the symptoms had already started. At first i used to get a little plugged as you mention and I thought it was to do with sleeping outside at first i.e. camping for such a long time. I did go over the Pyrenees and Alps but symptoms did not start immediately after.
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Old 08-21-12, 09:44 PM   #4
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Go to your doctor. Ask them to wash out your ears with liquid. This helped clear my eustachian tube after I was vagabonding for 6 months without q-tips, only to use one well into the trip and jam a glob of wax in the back. I was pretty grummy, but after washing it out I felt an immediate relief. It was like that for over 2 months. Whats more, is you could try an earwax candle. the kind that you light & the heat draws out things in your ears. eek.

Good luck. Hearing is a very important sense while hauling on wheels.
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Old 08-22-12, 08:54 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Thaddeus088 View Post
Go to your doctor. Ask them to wash out your ears with liquid. This helped clear my eustachian tube after I was vagabonding for 6 months without q-tips, only to use one well into the trip and jam a glob of wax in the back. I was pretty grummy, but after washing it out I felt an immediate relief. It was like that for over 2 months.
Like you, I had excessive wax build up in my ears and plugged them up trying to clean them with Q-tips. The wax then hardened and I had a very hard time hearing. My symptoms were similar to the OP's. I got my ears flushed at a local pharmacy that had a "wellness center" or whatever it was called. It was staffed by a nurse practioner. She put a little basin under my ears and blasted them with what essentially a high-powered squirt gun. I was shocked at the amount of crud that came out of my ears. The water was tinged brown and had lots of tiny pieces or hardened wax. I, too, got immediate relief.

You can do regular maintenance with Debrox or it's generic equivalent. It's a wax softener available at your local pharmacy. After using it, you flush your ears with a little bulb filled with warm water.
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Old 08-22-12, 01:17 PM   #6
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Thanks for your replies. Unfortunately I've already had that checked out by the doctor(s) and they've all said there is no excessive ear wax, my ears are clear.

Oh and when I say i lost a lot of weight on my tour I wasn't overweight to start. In fact I was slightly underweight so I'm wondering if my body has had to take fat from other places...i.e. good fat, if you know what i mean.
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Old 08-22-12, 01:49 PM   #7
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As you've seen docs and specialists, nothing said here is likely to help with your tube problem. Sorry. Strange condition.

Gaining weight is sooo easy for most of us. As for healthy, best to just eat a well balanced mix of store perimeter food, just more of it than you might normally. Store perimeter? In the US, that's where most of the non-overly processed food is found. Rolled oats and honey being one of the exceptions.

It really is all about calories, but garbage in, garbage out applies.
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Old 08-27-12, 04:09 PM   #8
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Oh and when I say i lost a lot of weight on my tour I wasn't overweight to start. In fact I was slightly underweight so I'm wondering if my body has had to take fat from other places...i.e. good fat, if you know what i mean.
You may have answered your questions! Sounds like you're healing in some way. The workings of the ears & nose are VERY intricate. Right now one of my ears is "evolving" & looks different than my other ear (already grown). There are many nerves in the earlobes & around the ear that when pressed or massaged can stimulate healing properties to the area. Also exercising the jaw is a great way to massage your inner ear (to a degree). You can do all of this on a bicycle :]
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