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Fluid in my ears after racing

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 11:37 am GMT +0000    Post subject: Fluid in my ears after racing Reply with quote

Dear Bike Doc,

I have a history of allergies and sinus problems. I usually have 3 sinus infections each year that go away after taking antibiotics. Last year my family doctor referred me to a surgeon after I complained about the frequency of my infections and the disruption it caused in my life (especially training). I visited the surgeon and after getting my head x-rayed (CT or MRI??) he recommend surgery to open my sinus cavities. I was shocked to find out how long the recovery period was. I had to abstain from vigorous physical activities for at least 4 weeks. Plus I spoke to a few people who had done sinus surgery in the past and they had bad experiences Ė they claim their symptoms got worse. Anyways I decided to not have the surgery and instead I religiously take prescription meds on a daily basis (Alegra, Alstelin and Rhinocort nose sprays). In the last twelve months Iíve only had two infections, so Iím glad that I postponed the surgery.

Sorry for the long winded introduction, hereís my immediate question.

Last weekend at Tapatio and I raced in the early morning sport class. It was cold at the start of the race (upper 30ís or lower 40ís by my estimation). During the race (as usual) I was producing tons of mucus. Afterwards I noticed that I had some fluid in my ears, almost like you get after swimming under water. I am still feeling my ears pop 5 days later. Is this a normal consequence of racing or riding hard in the cold? Is there anything I can do to help prevent this in the future? I currently feel healthy. I felt good before, during and after the race, but I know itís not good to have excess fluid in my ears/ear cavities.


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The Bike Doc

Joined: 08 May 2003
Posts: 1371
Location: Corpus Christi and Warda, Texas

PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 7:21 pm GMT +0000    Post subject: Reply with quote


It is not normal to have persisting sensation of fluid in your ears after a race or hard ride in the cold. This may be related to your chronic sinus/allergy problems. I too have been afflicted with chronic sinus/allergy problems and once had sinus surgery recommended. What you may consider adding to your allergy/sinus management program is nasal irrigation on a daily basis. Mix up a solution of salt water by taking one level teaspoon plain table salt to 2 cups warm water and irrigate your nasal passages with one cup to each side twice daily. There are nasal irrigation pots you can get at drug and health stores. I use a sport water bottle with a fold down nozzle that is just the right size. Just lean over the sink take a big breath insert the irrigation nozzle into the nostril and let the salt water solution flow through while you slowly exhale. Repeat for the other side. Then gently blow the mucous and saline solution out of your nasal passages into the sink, just like biking on a cold day, block each nostril one at a time with a finger honk into the sink. Then gently blow out the remainder using Kleenex. Then do your nose spays. Be sure to aim the spray towards the eye side of the nose by tilting your head down and away from the side you are spraying. This will direct the spray towards the nasal turbinates, the parts of the nose that swell up and block your sinus drainage ports and the drainage ports for the ears (the eustacian tubes). The turbinates are on the eye side of the nose. Do this before you do your Astelin and Rhinocort at least once a day and twice a day whenever you have a cold or congestion problems. I was skeptical when my allergist recommended this to me 23 years ago but in very short order I became a believer and am still practicing many years later and remain sinus surgery free! Give it a try; you too may become a believer in the nose hose congregation!

Paul K. Nolan, MD
AKA: The Bike Doc
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2007 7:33 pm GMT +0000    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice.
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