Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"Are my ear problems associated with my nausea?"
I woke up today and it felt like my ears had just popped. Throughout the day my ears have just felt stuffy and there has been some ringing too. Now I feel some nausea too but I don't know if it is just from worrying about my ears. Could they be connected?
Ear stuffiness (or aural fullness, as it is known to doctors) is a common complaint of patients who are suffering from an upper respiratory tract infection. This is because the ears are lined with the same mucosal covering that the rest of the mouth is lined with, and any infection of the rest of the upper airway is sure to involve the ear canal (the eustachian tube) as well. This inflammation makes the tube become congested and decreases the cross sectional area of the lumen (the part where air and fluid usually drain from the ear), making it more difficult for the pressure in your ear and the outside air pressure to normalize. This inability to balance the internal and external pressure can lead to forces on the part of your ear that help determine your sense of propioception (or position in space). The ears are intimately involved in your sense of balance, and any disruption, such as clogged ears, makes it difficult for them to function properly. This can then lead to a sense of dizziness or vertigo, which can then lead to nausea. While this is common, and can be helped with over the counter decongestants, please see your doctor to rule out more serious causes.
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